Forgive my absence, loyal fans. I’ve been participating in National Novel Writing Month and knitting like a lunatic for Christmas: blogging on top of those projects and my two jobs has been that one thing too many to ask of myself. Once we hit January, I have a whole slew of patterns for you, but it will be hit or miss until then.  Not that I’m worried–I assume it’s mostly fiber geeks who are interested in this blog, and I suspect the rest of you are too bogged down in gift-making to be reading this blog anyway.

For those of you who do, and who might have one night between now and Christmas that you actually planned on sleeping through…I have a proposition. Let’s start to wean ourselves off of wrapping paper.

I hate wrapping paper. I don’t even want to imagine the environmental costs that go into making even the recycled, “eco-friendly” papers, but I’m sure it’s not negligible. We pay vast amounts of money for something that will almost inevitably get destroyed after the first use. If you’re like my family, that means three weeks of Mom admiring the stack of wrapped gifts, five minutes of the kids being wowed by the shiny pile of bows and ribbons, and several enormous bags full of rubbish that go straight to the trash. We slice our fingers on the tape dispenser and stab ourselves curling ribbon with scissors for a few fleeting minutes of mystery.

Don’t get me wrong–I have always found the mystery to be worthwhile. The anticipation of discovering an unknown little joy is a euphoria we don’t experience half often enough in our lives, and I will always advocate for more of that. I do think, however, that I might have found a better way to wrap presents.

My local antiques shop also does estate cleanouts, which is a sad business. I found a box there recently for holding my nephew’s present and I still haven’t found the heart to throw out to old boy scout patches and sports ribbons I found inside. As a crafter, it breaks my heart a little to go to the fabric section and wonder what loving projects these vast stacks of fabric were meant to become. Another’s sorrow is, however, an amazing money saver. I found several dozen yards of Christmas-appropriate fabrics and paid less than eight dollars for them. That much yardage in even cheap wrapping paper would have cost me close to twenty dollars.

To get the best use and most attractive finished project, I’m going to sew these fabrics into drawstring bags to use as wrapping paper for the people I will be opening gifts with–the better to reclaim most of those bags. In the short run, this will be more time-consuming and expensive, but over the years I hope to build up a collection that will making wrapping cheap, simple, lovely, and green. If you have a sewing machine, access to cheap fabric, and a little extra time…I challenge you to do the same for at least a few of your gifts this year.

This year, I won’t complain if we manage a greener Christmas.