The paper chains decorating the Little Daisy Bakeshop in Upper Montclair NJ remind me of Christmases past, but also inspire me with ideas of Christmas future.
Paper chains were a big part of primary school Christmas decorations. Teacher would cut strips of contruction paper on that big guillotine slicer for everyone to assemble into chains with ample amounts of paste. The paste always worked best if whacked the paper with your fist creating a big ruckus but also ensuring the paper stuck to the glue and vice versa.
The paper chains at Little Daisy Bake Shop in Montclair recalled those memories for me, but also reminded me of a family tradition of reusing gift wrap from large packages for smaller packages the following year. My grandparents started the tradition because of the Great Depression, but carried on with it into the 1980s. There's a sheet of shiny green paper from my very first Christmas that is so crinkled its sad, but every year someone gets the treat of using it to wrap a gift for the immediate family (there is no way that heirloom is leaving the house!), no tape is used, just careful folding and ribbons to minimize any damage.
Imagine for a minute all the paper that is being used this Christmas. Some of it big, some small, little if any of it in such poor condition that it can'd serve another purpose. Trim the rips, fold under the tape, and suddenly a great deal of paper is suitable for another gift, or perhaps a fun project for next Christmas.
To start a fun family tradition why not save the paper, perhaps even marking the "bad side" with a note of the year, for paper chains for Christmases future. Next year, perhaps on Thanksgiving weekend, start by making small chains of perhaps 6 or 8 paper chains each. Link the smaller chains with a bit of ribbon. Hang them on the foyer, on the tree, over the mantel. In years to come snip the ribbon, and add a few links of paper chains with new gift wrap chains. Over time a long chain, with Christmas 2012 alongside Christmas 2016, which is next to Christmas 2013, will be created. When the kids come back from college, or return with kids of their own, the paper chain will be waiting for new memories to be added.