Knot-wrapping, Khadi papers and kindness

Regifting gets a bad rap, with debate often pitting regifter against giver, but is it time to change that?

This year, one in three Britons are borrowing money to cover festive costs, and on average Americans are expected to spend $1,521 each on travelling at Christmastime, up by a staggering 151% from the 2015 figure ($605).

Sharing unwanted presents with those who will appreciate them more is a simple way to save money, particularly at Chri$tma$ when the pressure is on to throw your budget out the window. Ticking a present off your list might just mean a little more money to put towards a journey home, or a little less to pay off come January.

New research by Zero Waste Scotland also reveals that 80% of Scots would be happy to unwrap a pre-owned gift this Christmas. That doesn’t necessarily mean one you received first yourself either; charity and second-hand shops can be an easy way to pick up unique finds and high quality items for cheaper, while also ensuring that your pennies go towards good causes.

Alternatively, if you’re keen to be on the receiving end of a pre-loved present, it’s worth speaking up. The same survey claimed that 65% have second thoughts about regifting themselves. Why not give your family and friends a handy nudge, or agree to a swap (perhaps of books or Christmas decorations)?

It might even make you feel happier! Practising gratitude is a fantastic way to inspire more positive thoughts, and some even combat the season of consumption by taking part in challenges like the #12DaysOfGratitude. Simply think of someone who has helped you in the past year and pass on your thanks; if you choose something pre-owned, you’ll be conveying gratitude to the Earth too.

The gift that keeps on being given

Regifting is about more than what’s inside. 300,000 tonnes of card packaging are used in the UK every Christmas, according to the Recycle Now campaign. To put this in perspective, laid side by side, they would stretch from London to Lapland and back more than 100 times over.

There’s an alternative to this vast sea of waste: knot-wrap. Inspired by the Japanese art of Furoshiki, these printed fabrics are a fantastic way to wrap gifts without reverting to everyone’s least favourite festive game: tape, paper, scissors. When they’re untied, they can be used again as wrapping, or to create bags, accessories and add a splash of colour to home decor.

Paper wrapping isn’t out the picture at this point either. There are plenty of eco-friendly options to choose from.

One such option is Khadi papers, which are produced in India from cotton offcuts recycled from tailors in the surrounding area. This means that the papers — which can be found adorning Home for Christmas and Secret Garden gifts — are totally wood-free, so no trees need to be chopped down to make them. What’s more, harvested rainwater is used to create the pulp needed in the paper making process, and the resulting run-off water irrigates local land, supporting crops including mangoes, coconuts and bananas.

Guilt-free since 2008

When it comes to regifting, there’s already some unofficial rules many follow (astonishingly, they’ve not been put to Parliament yet): keep it out the family, wait at least long enough for your Christmas dinner to go down, and choose something that you think there’s a good chance your intended recipient might like.

Since 2008, this elaborate game of pass the parcel has even enjoyed a whole day in its honour. Thanks to Colorado governor, Bill Ritter, Jr. 15th December 2016 is National Regifting Day.

If you’re still not convinced, or feel wary of offending, this parting wisdom from Japanese organisational guru Marie Kondo might just change your mind:

The true purpose of a gift is to be received. Presents are not ‘things’ but a means for conveying someone’s feelings.”

It looks like appreciating your presents and regifting them aren’t such incompatible ideas after all. To borrow from Kondo once more: simply thank the giver and gift for bringing you joy, then send it on its way to be loved by someone new.

It’s better for the both of you.