If you celebrate Christmas, and are anything like me, you have piles of gifts just waiting to be wrapped right now. They stare at me mockingly when I open my closet door - reminding me of the impending back and neck pain and my recycling/overconsumption/save the planet induced anxiety.
With kids in the house, I have to wait until I have a solid 3 hour kid-free window of time to go to town on the wrapping of gifts. This gift wrap binge leaves me feeling drained, both physically and emotionally, so last year I decided I needed to be proactive and I created this guide to gift wrapping bliss (ok, maybe not bliss, but you won't want to stab your eyes out with the scissors half way through!).
Here are my best tips for how to survive Gift Wrap season:
Before you get started:
1. Find a good, grown ups only podcast to listen to. None of this personal growth, business success or kid approved content. Put on something entertaining and full of inappropriate content for kids so you can really feel like you're treating yourself to some fun!
Some of my favorites are Dirty John, Doctor Death, Comedy Bang Bang, Sandra, Homecoming, Armchair Expert, and My Favorite Murder (Also, I'm a big true crime fan. Maybe you're not! You do you!). A podcast is much better than a show or movie - no need to look up or tweak your posture to make sure you can see.
2. Grab a cocktail, a cup of tea, or a bowl of your favorite snack and make it something you look forward to! (Try one of these festive cocktails - I had the Poinsettia this weekend and it was delish!)
Now you're ready!
Tips to help save your BACK during the the gift wrap frenzy:
1. AVOID SITTING ON THE FLOOR AND CREATE A GIFT WRAPPING STATION
Use a table top counter that is at waist level, or the dining room table with a comfortable, supportive chair. This ensures you are using your arms, rather than your back. Clear off the table and keep wrapping paper, scissors, tape, ribbons, and any other materials you may need at arm’s length!Place the roll of paper toward the back of the counter so you can pull it toward you while unrolling.
Wear comfortable and supportive shoes while standing. Do not wrap presents in bare feet.
Stand on a memory foam mat, if available.
2. BETTER YET, WRAP AS YOU BUY
Rather than wait until the last minute to wrap 25 gifts at one time, consider wrapping them as you buy them. This will ensure you’re not maintaining a painful position for a long period of time. I do realize this "tip" isn't very helpful if you didn't already do it, but something to keep in mind next season!
3. USE GIFT BAGS (ALSO GREAT BECAUSE HOPEFULLY YOU SAVED SOME FROM LAST YEAR - SAVES THE ENVIRONMENT AND YOUR BACK!)
Skip the added stress of gift wrapping altogether and place your gifts in a festive bag. Add some decorative tissue paper and some ribbon for a polished presentation!
4. DON'T FORGET TO STRETCH!
Doing simple stretches prior to wrapping gifts AND when you're done may help to minimize pain afterward. (Try out the resources linked below!)
Tips to help save the ENVIRONMENT
during the holidays:
Here is where the wine or tea and a funny podcast comes in for me. Waste is a huge trigger for my anxiety. I don't really even know where it came from but seeing the damage we are doing to our planet with plastics, toxic fumes and SO MUCH WASTE really gets my blood pressure to sky rocket.
Just some small changes in our habits can really go a long way over time (see what I did there?? Much like my wellness coaching!)
First start by trying to be conscious of over consumption.
Check yourself and your cart before check out - do your kids really need the Shopkins candy dispensers? Do you really need to buy mom and dad some random crap because you have no idea what to get them?
Aim for activities for the kids - memberships to cool places, classes, trips, homemade gift cards for an ice cream date or trip to the zoo.
For the adults consider a donation to their (not your) favorite charity. It’s thoughtful and keeps on giving and in this climate, we need to support the causes we believe in!
A gift certificate to Kiva.org is a great gift for kids and adults! They get to learn to invest and watch how their support builds incredible businesses around the world!
(I have some great clutter free gift ideas in my Holiday Gift Guide ;) )
Alternatives to Wrapping Paper!
Half of the paper America consumes each year is used to wrap and decorate consumer products. (Source: The Recycler's Handbook, 1990)
In the US, the annual trash from gift wrap and shopping bags totals over 4 million tons. If everyone wrapped just three gifts in reused paper or fabric gift bags, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 hockey rinks.
Use environmentally friendly wrapping paper - Choose wrapping paper made using fibers such as hemp, or paper using recycled content.
Avoid buying glossy foil or metallic wrapping paper - You can do a beautifully wrapping job for your gifts without having to use metallic wrapping paper. This kind of 'paper' is difficult to recycle and it has no value for use as mulch since there are heavy metals used in the foil paper.
Reuse gift wrap where possible - Large wrapped presents usually have large enough uncreased sections to be reused for wrapping smaller gifts. If you open large gift packages with care, the paper can be set aside for re-use for other gift-giving occasions. Fancy ribbons and bows given to you can be stored in a box to use next year ;)
Use tape sparingly - If you're going to use ribbon to finish off your wrapping, you may not need to use tape. By not using tape, more of the wrapping paper can be reclaimed, and it's easier for the recipient to save the wrapping for reuse.
Choose alternatives to commercial gift wrap - Gift bags can be made using fabric scraps, or wrapping can be made using comic strips from the paper, old calendars, maps, posters and more. For more ideas, visit this page for more GREEN ideas for your gift wrapping!
There you go! My best tips to help you get through your gift wrapping with a smile on your face (even if it's because you're a bit tipsy)