December 11th, 2008

hope, science, green hills of earth

Gift Bags vs. Gift Wrap

Some people have an angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other.

I have a dragon on each: one dressed in tie-dye and flip-flops, the other dressed in a classic Santa costume.

Environmental Scientist Dragon loves Gift Bags: present packaging that is fast, easy, and best of all, reusable year after year. They reduce the amount of post-holiday household waste dramatically, and they make the wrapping of oddly-shaped presents trivial.

We have some nice ones that we've been using for a couple of years now, and quelonzia and I hit the Dollar Tree a few weeks back to pick up a nice, big stack of'em, in a wide range of sizes. Gift Bags are part and *ahem* parcel of a Green, Responsible Holiday.

Traditional Holiday Dragon understands the intellectual appeal of Gift Bags, and even grants that they look nice, too. They just feel wrong.

Part of it, of course, is that Traditional Holiday Dragon is Traditional.

Another part is that he takes Gift Security very seriously.

This is, alas, an issue in our household; we have Unauthorized Personnel in residence who have no strong compunctions against peeking, or even actual tampering with presents under the tree.

With a properly-wrapped and taped present, one actually has to make an effort to sneak a peek. Gift Bags, on the other claw, allow even inadvertent glances -- unless they are taped closed (which compromises their reusability) or stuffed with tissue paper (which just brings back the disposable trash issue, and is wholly ineffective against deliberate security breaches).

We do have some Gift Bags which have Velcro flaps, but, alas, only a very few. Of course, even Velcro won't stop a deliberate security breach, but Traditional Holiday Dragon is willing to begrudge that much Benefit of the Doubt.

Suggestions solicited.

(And, yes, okay, I admit it. Gift bags feel lazy. They lack the personal touch of wrapping -- though I confess that this year and for many years past, all my gifts are store-bought, so how "personal" can they get? Maybe next year I'll try for hand-made gifts and store-bought, reusable bags. That sounds like a nice, environmentally-conscious way to break out of the consume/dispose trap.)
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Eye of the Dragon

Rapping about Wrapping

My last post prompted a lot of comments and suggestions about Creative and Alternative Gift Wrapping -- foofers in particular had some cool ideas.

I've used Newspaper of course; it's a classic -- especially the Sunday funnies. Alas, since I no longer read a newspaper regularly, it wouldn't count as "re-use" -- I'd be buying it specifically for wrapping!

On the other claw, the idea of using an Asian-language paper is kind of cool. Goodness knows we have a bunch of them around here.

I've also used Maps -- or, to be more specific, nautical charts. Yes, those things are expensive, but they also get updated constantly. When I was in the Coast Guard, we constantly had a stack of obsolete charts left out for whoever wanted to grab them. I had wrapping paper for YEARS afterwards.

Foofs mentioned finding movie film cans at a thrift store. I like the idea of "wrapping" that's a useful or interesting article in and of itself. You know those big metal cans of nasty, sticky caramel corn that you always find this time of year? Those make great presents, just because the cans are so useful. Same with those cookie tins. I think I need to be on the lookout for that sort of thing -- and big, drawstring bags, too.

I've used coffee cans in the past, but they tend to need additional wrapping, or they look pretty hobo. The new, plastic kind are actually really good present containers -- though, again, they still need wrapping. Oh, and whichever kind you use, wash'em out really well, or your presents will smell like stale coffee FOREVER.

Remember when L'eggs panty hose came in big plastic eggs? We used those for all kinds of presents.

Hee hee hee. I should find some kind of cheap lock-boxes, and use THOSE for the Unauthorized Personnel's presents -- then give him the keys, one at a time, whilst playing Santa on the morning of the 25th.