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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Paper and Bows are Sooo Last Year!

Growing up, my favorite part of Christmas time was wrapping presents. My mom taught me to always wrap gifts beautifully. While attractive wrapping paper and a big bow is a classic way to make a stunning gift, it is not always very economically friendly nor ecologically friendly. Neither is it friendly to your creative juice thirsty brain that is always seeking ways to be sharpened. This year I have been exploring more resourceful ways to wrap gifts while not sacrificing the aesthetic value of its appearance. I have come up with many new ideas and know that I have only brushed the surface of possibilities.
This year I only bought one roll of solid wrapping paper (so it is versatile), but next year I think I will challenge myself to not buy anything at all… except for tape, of course. Wrapping paper is pretty expensive considering it is intended to be thrown away, and there are so many other beautiful replacements available. I found that many retail stores these days give out some really attractive paper bags with your purchase. Namely, American Eagle has really cool bags. Christopher and Banks also has a neat bag, but they would not give one to me without a purchase, and ummm… I had already done all my Christmas shopping for my mother-in-law. Also, magazines are full of great images designed by professional graphic designers- so don’t throw them away when you’re done reading them- use them to wrap. Some other ideas I thought of to replace the wrapping paper are maps, old book jackets, painted newsprint, scrap fabric, and newspaper.
Bows are probably the most expensive part of wrapping a gift, but they add the most character to a present. I always save old bows, so I don’t have to buy new ribbon. But there are also a lot of bow alternatives too. This year I used old cassette tape ribbon to make one bow. You can also use old VHS tape too. You can also make bows out of rope or shredded paper. Last week I made a bow out of toilet paper, but it was kind of a joke.
Besides a bow, there are zillions of other ways to decorate a present to equal beauty! Magazines, old Christmas cards and photocopied pictures are great for cutting out images to collage onto a gift. . Rhinestones can make the gift sparkle. The more you look around, the more gift decorations you will find. I used food packaging to make a pop art inspired present. I also thought playing cards would make a cool gift.
Some might think it is a waste of time to put so much energy and creativity into something that is temporary, but lately I have been concentrating more on the value of enjoying perishable artwork (like decorating Christmas cookies). Even though it might not last forever, the process was more important than the product. And, every time you exercise your creative abilities, there will be one lasting outcome. Your brain will be sharper! If nothing else, you can always take pictures of them, like I did.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

He Sees You When You're Sleeping???
I have learned one new thing about humans this month. I think that babies come into this world instinctively believing in Santa Clause. Unless that innate knowledge is intentionally molded, they will continue to believe in Santa Clause. I have always intended to never lie to my kids. Of course, as I have encountered certain situations, I have made a few exceptions. One of those situations includes when my kids ask, “what are you eating, Mom?”. I am allowed to say “nothing” or “crap” or “something yucky that only adults eat”. That is an acceptable lie. However, to lie to my kids about an illusionary man that leaves you presents at night… that is just ridiculous to me- especially at an age where the concept of Jesus is just as abstract, if not more, as the concept of Santa. Now, I will admit, I haven’t sheltered my kids from Mr. Clause. (but maybe I should have), in fact, they met “one of them” just last week at the mall. However, I have always buffered these encounters by saying “you know, that man isn’t really named Santa Clause. He is just pretending.” But my efforts seem to be useless. Last year Rocket even emptied the soot out of my in-laws fireplace in pursuit of “Santa”. This year, we are not giving “Santa” any credit for the presents we give our children. They are all from Mommy and Daddy. Sooner or later, the kids will come to their senses, and when they do, I will snidely say, “I told you so!”