Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Save That Paper and Those Cards!

Every birthday and Christmas, we would hear my dad say "Don't throw that away, we can reuse it again." He would salvage the paper if we didn't rip it up in the process of opening it. My dad would actually use his pocket knife to cut the tape on his presents so he didn't rip any of the paper. It does seem like a waste to buy nice paper and only use it once. I always thought he was being silly saving it but now that I buy it, I can see his point.

One of the best purchases I feel I ever made were fabric gift bags from a co-worker whose wife made them and sold them. They came in three sizes and were especially good for odd shaped things. They can easily be used over and over again. My parents thought they were great! They are also nice for people who do not like to wrap presents, for whatever reason. They look very easy to make too. I found some free instructions for them at Craft and Fabric Links. I must admit though, it's more fun to tear off wrapping paper than untie the fabric bag bow and be careful not to pull out the ribbon like my husband does. If I had a sewing machine, I think even I could make these! If you are not a sewer either but would like some, you can buy them from www.luckycrow.com.

My parents were always looking for ways to save money, after all, they were raising four kids! One of the things I used to help my mom do was to make gift tags. My parents would recycle the Christmas cards they received by cutting parts of them up and using them for the "to" and "from" tags for gifts. Here is a video of me making some to demonstrate this very difficult procedure!


Anonymous said...

My grandma and mom were the same way. I can remember Grandma gathering up all the wrapping paper and folding it carefully for storage for another time. And I don't think we ever bought tags - we always cut up old Christmas cards to reuse. I think living through the Depression affected everyone and they never forgot it. When Grandma died, we found stacks of paper in all sizes she had saved over the years for writing. In her recipe box, I found the back of someone's graduation notice that she had used to write a recipe on. I feel so wasteful when I think of all she did to conserve.

Anonymous said...

I'm the same way. In our house, we are always careful with the wrapping paper. So many beautiful papers, it seems a shame to just throw it away. We do the same thing too with the Christmas cards :) My late husband used to make all his own bows and all our wreaths too.

tashabud said...

Hi Karen,
That's definitely a great way to recycle. I keep most cards that have meaning to me or to the family. But there are few ones that, aside from the printed messages that come with the cards, have only the signatures of the sender, I usually throw them. Now, I can put them to good use.

Thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I think the older people who lived through the depression just got in the habit of saving everything. I think we better start following their example because it seems we are heading for another one these days.

Unknown said...

Every year I keep all my cards with the intent of making something with them, and I never find anything I want to make with them, so I end up tossing them. Finally! This is something I could do and would definitely use - GREAT idea, thanks!

Unknown said...

I don't recycle cards or paper. Not that I don't see the point in it, but we move so often that saving it would be one more thing for us to move and then figure out what happened to it at Christmas time, lol. I love the idea of fabric gift bags though. Those could be reused as bags to put sewing supplies in or for the kids to play with.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

Carole, I'm glad you like this idea and found it helpful.

Trisha, I don't blame you for not wanting to save more stuff (clutter) but am glad you like the gift bag idea.

Mike Golch said...

when we were kids my parents would try to save the gift wrap and reuse it the next year the same with the cards they became gift tags fot the next year.

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