Happy Advent to you! Over the next few days I'm going to do a bit of a rerun of the demo I did at the Country Living Fair, which was based on alternative ideas for wrapping gifts using recycled or wherever possible, existing materials. The whole idea was influenced by a book I have on the Japanese idea of Omiyage - and the ceremony of gift giving. Although not a direct translation, the emphasis was on personalising and creating ways to present the whole gift, not just the contents.
Just before the talk, I was in some local High Street & charity shops and was shocked to see the number of foil, plastic and metallic wrapping papers, ribbons and tags on offer. Even with the emphasis to recycle, I'm fairly sure most of these would be unbiodegradable for several years!
This gift was wrapped in secondhand sheet music and tied with baker's twine (which I was very kindly sent by Diana last year - so thanks, Diana - your string got a lot of comments! You can do an internet search to find sources for it, but I also found it here in the UK).
Leaving the string long like that made it look more vintage, like an old delivery parcel - it could be hung from a tree, for example. The double tags are really just for show, but I liked doing this it sort of feels like a double message.. the top tag was cut down from a vintage card bought for 50p in a curio shop (and yes it is hard to cut into something that has lasted this long, but I like to think it is doing its initial job again through second use). The holly/mistletoe tag is made from a magazine image stuck to recycled card - one of my own Patchworkdress Eco-tags (6 handmade and themed tags in a pack) which I hope to feature here soon! - or you could make easily yourself.