by Sandy Swegel
As always, necessity spurs creativity in my life. I had a party to go to last night and needed to wrap a simple gift, but had no wrapping paper much less any of those easy gift bags in the house. Even though I love a nicely wrapped gift, I’m really cheap when it comes to buying wrapping paper, but wrapping gifts in newspaper comics is so 1970s that I can’t make myself do it anymore.
So in a panic, I headed out to the recycling bin where I found the box to put the gift in and some brown packing paper to use as wrap. The recycling bins happen to be next to the ancient spruce tree, so I pulled out my pruners and cut off some low little branches to use as a “bow.” I thought I’d have to use a pine cone, but the cotoneasters had some great berries so another snip-snip and I had a red accent piece. Jute twine from the junk drawer, a curl of orange rind from the compost and a couple of twistie ties later, I had a beautifully wrapped gift and it didn’t cost a penny, except for the stress of scurrying for last-minute wrap.
You can do this even more artfully and gracefully if you plan a bit. Keep a neighborhood mental map of where you can “forage” decorations from shrubs with berries, or soft cedar trees. Twigs and sticks work great too. In a pinch, walnuts from the kitchen or even a tangerine make an edible wrap. To my surprise, I got more praise for the wrapping than for the gift!
There are zillions of internet image ideas for “gift wrap” from nature. If you live someplace warm, you can even follow the example of blogger Justina Blakeney and use big tropical leaves for the wrapping paper.