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curmudgeoneby Lynn S. Schwebach

Call me a curmudgeon, but I detest wrapping Christmas presents – or any presents for that matter. I don’t like wrapping paper full of smiling, generic snowmen, sappy snowflakes, and flatulent-looking Santas. Worse, I hate forking over money for paper that’s going to have a quick moment of glory only to end up in garbage dumps.

Fed up with this chore, which meets its apex during the December holiday season, I decided to – excuse the pun – think outside the box.

Accumulating junk

As an artist, I keep a large pile of “stuff” in my art studio to inspire me. But as a consumer, I also seem to accumulate a large pile “stuff” – papers that go too easily from hand to trash.

curmudgeon2

A rice noodle box covered with photocopies left over from other projects. As a packing stuffer, I used netting that came with something I bought during the year. I made a package “handle” with another piece of scrap paper.

Several years ago, I started stashing all this extra “stuff” into baskets. My accumulation started to include:

  • Unused napkins
  • Netting
  • Bottle caps
  • Strings
  • Playbills
  • Ticket stubs
  • Styrofoam
  • Packing materials
  • Yarn
  • Computer parts
  • Buttons
  • Greeting cards
  • Pieces of torn wrapping paper
  • Pictures from magazines
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Two baskets filled with my scraps and paraphernalia that I use for wrapping packages.

I also decided not to throw away my doodles, practice art, disaster paintings (we all have them), kids’ art, scraps of unused paper, and paint test strips.

No more nice

During the Christmas season about three years ago, I dove into these baskets of junk and started taping and stapling things to boxes. I told myself to move fast and not think about matching colors or making it look “nice.”

The first year, everyone loved the packaging. With a boost in confidence, I got a bit zany the next year, trying to find humorous things to attach to packages. This year, I used holiday stamps on some of the wrapping.

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I used holiday stamps on some of my “scrap” wrapping paper.

It should look like this

However, I’m careful not to let thoughts like “it should like this” contaminate the process. I’ve now extended my wrapping philosophy to other gifts given throughout the year.

What I didn’t expect was the fun I now have wrapping. As an application of “everyday creativity,” it gave me that sense of satisfaction that I missed by using store-bought wrapping materials.

series1

I use doodles and (very bad) sketches for wrapping paper.

series2

Sometimes I add a button, bottle cap, or other funky object to the package instead of a bow. I suppose I could “glue” these objects on – but that would take too much time!

Happy Holidays, And Enjoy A Bravely Creative New Year!!!