There is a reasonable chance this holiday season that you will receive a gift that is wrapped in the upwards of four layers of trash.
- A gift bag
- Colorful tissue paper
- Wrapping paper
- Plastic wrap of unopened item
Now, let’s assume that the average person spends about $7 (reasonable sounding estimate) on all gift wrapping supplies each holiday season. To keep this local and relative, I am going to use the 2013 Colorado population data for my calculations.
Colorado population = 5.2 million
% over 18 = 76.5%
% 10 decrease for more conservative estimate
3.46 million * $7 = $24,220,000
Give or take five million, it is probably a safe assumption to say that the state of Colorado alone will spend about twenty million dollars in pure trash this holiday season. Someone please tell me that this is not insane.
It isn’t the first time that I have tried to look at the happenings of the world from the point of view of an alien. What do you think an outsider would think of this? What, you are telling me that these people spend their time to get money, which in turn they use to trade for something they end up throwing away, just to create an element of surprise for the things they are giving to their fellow humans? What the fuck?
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the entire gift wrapping supply industry exists to make money, and as a whole people don’t care enough to question the necessity of putting trash on top of the presents we give to other people at the holidays. With this being said, I would like to propose alternatives to wrapping paper/gift bags for this holiday season. Besides the obvious of not wrapping the gifts at all, this list is for those still wanting to keep an element of surprise without contributing to the profits of the trash generating companies.
Everyone has one. Most people have several, varying in sizes used for different purposes. You have a box of jewelry? No problem, wash rag. Shoes? Normal hand towel should to the trick. Something bigger? Bath towel baby. If need be, safety pin several bath towels together.
An old piece of plywood
Plenty of people have scraps of old wood lying around. Anything with some relatively large height and width can do the trick. Just stack all of the presents up against a wall and then lean the piece of wood over the top of the gifts. They will stay concealed until it is time for the recipient to find out what is beneath the barrier.
Just put all of the gifts you bought for everyone underneath one large tarp, and be sure to label each gift with a sharpie so the intended recipient is obvious. Invite everyone over to your house that you bought a gift for and remove the tarp to reveal all gifts at once. Let your guests sort through who got what.
A dress shirt
This one is a personal favorite. If you position a shoe box in the center of the chest and then button the shirt, you can snuggly wrap the excess shirt around the sides, hiding it underneath the box. It looks more professional than the other items listed, and the recipient of the gift will likely get a laugh out of having to undo shirt buttons to reveal their gift.
The only limits to what can be used as gift wrap is the individual’s creativity. I guess maybe that is why we all take the easy way out and throw those rolls of wrapping paper into our shopping carts each year.
Call me a dreamer, but I can’t be the only one who thinks that the money expended on trash during the holiday season could be put to better use on something else.