Teach/Learn – The Wrapping Paper Problem

by Deb on November 14, 2010

Wrapped Presents

Welcome to the November Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival.

The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners all the time. This month our theme is “Technology and Design”. This is about being able to design or make something to solve a problem. Check out the links at the bottom to find some other great posts on T&D.


I’m already doing a series on making Christmas presents for little geeks every Friday so I wanted to look at something a bit different for Teach/Learn. Tech and Design usually means making something but it doesn’t have to, it can mean designing a system or plan as well.  I thought of putting together the plan of how we are trying to get our new house ready for the guests coming to stay at Christmas, but there isn’t really a plan for that – it’s mostly about chasing tradesmen!  So instead I’m going through the design process of our Christmas wrappings.

Design Brief:

I love wrapping presents and having them all under the tree for the big exchange on Christmas morning.  In fact that used to be my job and I have started doing it with my girls as one of our family traditions.  In our family presents aren’t hidden and only little bits come from Father Christmas, the main event is having them all decoratively waiting under the tree.  But it makes me a little twitchy buying wrapping paper that is just ripped off and materialthrown out, and half of it is not really my style.  We make some wrapping paper ourselves to give to other people, but to make all of it is beyond the girls and still has all that paper turning into rubbish.  I have tried to recycle wrapping paper but it doesn’t usually last very long, so I need something to wrap with that:

  • Is pretty.
  • Is environmentally friendly.
  • Little ones can cope with without ripping or sticking everything.

The Solution: Material and ribbons instead of paper.

RibbonsI bought some pretty Christmas material and cut it fairly large, then overlocked around the edges to stop it fraying.  To wrap things the girls help me fold them up in the material and we tie ribbons to keep it all closed.  Then on Christmas Day it’s all collected and put away with the rest of the decorations.  It’s tough enough to cope with 2 year old co-ordination and there are no corners ripping through or scissors being lost.  We kick Daddy out and have fun wrapping presents for him and the grandparents, then I wrap the girls’ presents when they aren’t around and they get to arrange (and rearrange!) them under the tree.  It was more expensive the first year to buy it all, but it’s quickly making that back.

So environmentally and budget friendly plus a fun family tradition.


Visit Science@home to find out more about the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival. Teach/Learn Please take the time to visit the other participants and find more Christmas themed posts on Technology and Design.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

amandab November 14, 2010 at 8:58 pm

I had never thought of using material as wrapping! What a great idea! Unfortunately I now it won’t make it’s way back to my house, and as we do Secret Santa in my family it may make it a little easier to identify which presents came from us 🙁


Deb November 14, 2010 at 9:17 pm

We only use this for presents that will be opened at our house, so between us and this year my parents and brother will be there too. I think the real value will be as the girls get older and the focus is more on immediate family rather than aunts/uncles/cousins. For others we try to make paper.


Marita November 15, 2010 at 6:25 am

That is a great idea. I’ve seen it used in the Japanese gift wrapping style called Furoshiki.


Which I always found a little intimidating. It didn’t occur to me to just wrap a gift simply in the paper.


Marita November 15, 2010 at 6:26 am

D’oh commenting in a hurry and not proof reading.

It didn’t occur to me to wrap a gift simply in the fabric! (not paper).

Sometimes it seems the easiest most logical solution is the hardest to see.


Kathleen November 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm

We do something similar – I made some fabric bags with pretty Christmas fabric, and ribbons, and I just reuse them year after year. We made the first ones about 15 or 16 years ago, and they’re still going strong. We now have a collection of bags of different sizes to suit more or less any gift.


Julie November 15, 2010 at 10:47 pm

I love this idea. Might even have to look out for post Xmas specials on Christmas fabric. With three kids I’m sure to get through loads of wrapping in the years to come!


Monique November 16, 2010 at 7:51 am

I looove this idea, and with so many crafty ladies in my family its sure to work a treat!
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Deb Chitwood @ Living Montessori Now November 16, 2010 at 9:28 am

I love your idea! What a great way to be ecological at Christmas – and it’s simple yet attractive. Kathleen’s idea of fabric gift bags is a great idea, too.
Deb Chitwood @ Living Montessori Now´s latest amazing offering ..Help Your Child Create Unforgettable Cards and Gifts through Digital ScrapbookingMy Profile


Mistress B November 16, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Oooo that reminds me! I have fabric I meant to sew up into bags for just this purpose last year. Should have plenty of time this year with the two home schooling teens to help
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Catherine November 18, 2010 at 10:24 am

Wrapping with material sounds like a great, environmentally friendly way to go. I am considering making fabric bags for family gifts this year, not because of the waste of paper so much as because I hate wrapping everything up on Christmas eve and want to make it faster.
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Jenny November 21, 2010 at 10:47 am

Another eco-friendly wrapping idea is Christmas tea towels or hand towels (or other pretty ones for birthdays and other gifts, probably more suitable for the aunts and grandmothers though 😉


Zoe @ Playing by the book November 21, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Great idea 🙂 We use dedicated pillow cases and ribbons – the pillow cases make it REALLY easy to wrap most presents 🙂
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Kristine November 21, 2010 at 9:32 pm

That’s great Deb. I’ve been having the same dilemma and thinking through options of buying enviro bags to put the presents in or wrapping in tea towels but your idea avoids the adding on of price and having to think of a new method each year.


Miss Carly December 4, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Firstly, sorry its taken me so long to get here!

Secondly, what a fantastic idea. Once our Christmas paper runs out, I will definitely be doing this!
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