Green wrapping paper
It’s only people who lived through the Depression who think that it’s okay to reuse wrapping paper (and they’re thin on the ground now) but there are other recycled options:
- Brown paper
- Newspaper – dense print with few headlines is best. (Classified ads used to be perfect but they’re thin on the ground now too. Form guides are a reasonable substitute and Chinese newspapers are superb.)
- Maps (You may not have any of these lying around but pages from old street directories are excellent for little gifts.)
- Sheet music (Again, most people don’t have spare sheet music but, if you play saxophone in the local band, you just might.)
- Children’s paintings (They don’t have to come from your own children!)
Tie brown paper and sheet music with something colourful but maps and paintings will be bright enough already.
Now I have a giant teddy bear sitting in my lounge room: Hannah asked me to take it to an op shop for her.
“Why not give it to Poppet?” Jeremy had asked, thinking of their little half-sister.
“Because Caitlin would never forgive me,” Hannah replied, thinking of their stepmother’s aversion to the ever-growing mountain of shonky toys that accumulates around children if you turn your back for a second.
 Or if you tidy up after the local band: my cleaner used to do the town hall after the choir had been in and she wrapped all of her presents in discarded SATB scores. (They were occasionally embellished with hand written notes to “Sing up!” or “Watch conductor like a hawk!” but she said that added to the authenticity.)
 Which is the other reason for not turning your back on children: the first is that they’re in self-destruct mode and are just waiting for you to be distracted for long enough so that they can stick their fingers in the closest power point. It’s their mission in life.