Traditionally, we select the perfect gifts for our friends and family members for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, special recognition for an accomplishment, and other occasions.  We buy wrapping paper, wrap the gift up to look beautiful and present it to the honoree.  The honoree tears the paper unwrapping their gift, discards the paper, and (hopefully) enjoys their great gift.

Is there an alternative to consuming so much paper which would be nice looking, more fun for the gift recipient and guests?  Yes!

You might want to make one or more of these gift wrapping alternatives a friends and family tradition:

  • Reuse the wrapping: Use high quality gift paper or gift bags. Use tape which is easy to remove without tearing the paper.  Attach a memo to the inside of the wrapping paper or the bottom of the gift bag with your name and email, the gift recipients name and email, the date and occasion for giving the gift.  Leave eleven blank lines below your data.    When the recipient unwraps their package, instruct them to do so carefully and refold the wrapping.  The honoree (or all of the guests if there are more wrappings than one individual could reasonably use in a year) take the paper and bags home and reuse, entering their data on the label.  The twelfth person to receive the wrapping send the paper’s history to everyone listed on the tag, and if the wrapping is still in usable condition makes a new tag.  (Great for the Christmas, Chanukah and other holidays where numerous people are exchanging gifts and for breakable gifts for any occasion.)
  • Display Rather Than Wrapping: Everyone brings unwrapped gifts to a special celebration. The gifts are all placed on a display table and the table is covered with a beautiful reusable table cloth.  At the appropriate time during the celebration the gift recipient stands behind the table, perhaps surrounded by relatives and friends.  As the cover is removed photos and videos are taken of the honoree first viewing their gifts.   The honoree is also presented with a log listing all of the gifts and their donors (as well as paper or email addresses to make it easy for the honoree to acknowledge the gifts.)  To make this into a game, let the honoree try to match each gift with their recipient.   In one variation, the guests stand behind the honoree, so that the honoree won’t have facial cues to help them.  In another version, the honoree uses facial expressions to help them figure out who each gift comes from. (Great for birthdays.)
  • Giftwrap the honoree rather than the presents. When presenting gifts to an adventuresome honoree, consider gift-wrapping (blindfolding) the honoree rather than the presents.   Hand the honoree each present and let them figure out what the gift is and who presented it to them.  Take video and photos.  (Great for birthdays, special prizes for an honoree (as shown in photo accompanying this article), and possibly a few large gifts for children at holiday time, but never for breakable items or sharp objects).

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