23. Wrapping gifts
I'm not a hoarder, but I will squirrel away scraps of ribbon, tissue paper, posh paper bags, last years cards, and biscuit tins. I bought two sets of round nesting boxes about five years ago knowing that they would come in handy. This year they got filled with fudge, lebkuchen and bath bombs (not all in the same box).
I've got caught up in the trends over the years - including wrapping Christmas presents in copies of the Financial Times with string! One year I did all of them in brown paper with gold-edged tartan ribbon. That ribbon is still doing the rounds ten years on. In fact this year, I manged to wrap a Scottish friend's present in a page torn from an out of date road map, depicting the western isles - and I there was still tartan ribbon to reuse on it!
Actually, old road maps are fantastic to recycle as wrapping paper. If possible you choose a relevant location and decorate the wrapped gift with bright red curling ribbon, which picks out the B roads nicely. Green and gold ribbon work too but I think red is the most festive against a cartographic background. I raised my parents-in-law's eyebrows with this one. They seemed to have gone through a phase of passing their old maps to Sion every time they bought a new one. This meant that we had a huge collection of road maps several years out of date - they have become utterly useless for navigation around any reasonable sized town as the roads have all changed, I speak from experience. So Sion requested an up-to-date one for one Christmas, and I gleefully laid into the 1996 one with a pair of scissors. I'm not sure they were entirely happy when they got their presents given to them wrapped up in one of their old road maps. Well - what else was I suppose to do with them? Getting a little more use out of them prior to recycling seems highly sensible.
I've gone through phases of making sure that all my mum's gifts are wrapped in one colour, and all my sister's in another, and so on. That was quite a boring phase now I come to think of it. I'm currently in a 'how do I convert this shop-branded paper bag into a gift bag' phase. Tonight saw me trying to find an old Christmas card big enough to cover the massive Bravisimo
logo splashed across the side of the otherwise very smart pale green and purple bag complete with ribbon handles. The solution came in the form of a pair of Christmas cards that had the design running on to the back of the card. So I stuck them on, insides facing down, and the bag looks smashing. Just hope they don't fall off.
I went through all the old cards and reserved the nicest for labels for Sion's presents. So now his presents have a somewhat pussy-cat theme. Actually I was quite surprised at the amount of festive cat designs represented. They seem to have taken over from the robins in recent years. Perhaps they've been eating them.
Anyway, I've done them and the Christmas tree does indeed look very handsome and proud guarding its generous pile of presents. Time to wrap myself up in a duvet.