I have a sheet-and-blanket-drive amongst my friends and co-workers, and take the donations down to the local emergency veterinary clinic. They and regular veterinary hospitals are always in need of sheets, towels and blankets for recovering surgical patients, whelping mama dogs, and shock victims. It’s great cleaning out cupboards and putting the extras to use!
We ask our extended family to give us bird seed and suet for xmas since we have everything we need. Our nephews slather peanut butter on pinecones and roll them in millet. My in-laws give us suet and we have two feeders that bring us hours of enjoyment to watch. One year we got a squirrel feeder and that was loads of fun as they tried to lift the lid and get to the goodies inside.
Gifts like this focuses our attention outdoors and on nature, which somehow rights the balance of an increasingly fast-paced world that’s saturated with technology and gizmos.
I just wanted to share this with you because it is a new take on an old idea. I used to always have a real tree them some where along the way allergies and convenience and the idea I was saving a real tree gave sway, and I bought a fake tree. I had found if I brought a real tree home and turned it upside down and right side up and sprayed it many times with the hose, gave it a really good wash I eliminated the allergy problem for the family. Now I see new information and times have changed my good idea that I was #1 saving a real tree. So all of us who went this route need instructions as to how to ‘greenly’ if there is such a word, dispose of our fake tree. Joyce Karsko
I’ve been saving and re-using holiday wrapping paper, ribbon, etc. for many years. Not everyone in my husband’s family is on board with me, so I grab “pretties” out of the trash. For small packages (usually an ornament I’ve made or currency for the younger in-laws), I cut off a part of what I’ve gleaned. Bigger packages get patchworks or collages. My husband is trying to get his relatives to go with the donation system but there aren’t any takers, unfortunately. We’ll keep trying!
I like to wrap presents in dish towels or use reusable shopping bags instead of paper.
We reuse gift bags. Poor little things are usually one-hit wonders. Plus it saves us money! No brainer.
I’ve turned old tshirts into gift bags.
With my friends I/ we often make donations to non profits especially the local food bank and animal shelter. Organic, fair trade, shade grown coffee is always a hit.I often do home baking as gifts. This year one of my friends had enough honey from their backyard hives that I was able to purchase a number of jars for gifts. I have purchased trees planted in their names. With some family members we have purchased gift certificates to the grocery store. For the kids they always get great books.
I will continue to use the fabric gift bags I made over 20 years go
One idea for cute, classy, and sustainable gift wrapping is to use a medium to large ethically-sourced square scarf to wrap your presents. Just place the gift in the middle of the scarf and play around with different ways of tying the ends until you find a look that you like.
Years ago I bought several large squares of colorful cloth in Guatemala and several spools of fabric ribbon at a local store. I use and re-use these every year to wrap some of my gifts. Additionally, we have been re-using the same bows for about 20 years. Sometimes I even wrap gifts in pillow cases or sheets, too. My daughters just laugh. And they tease me when I take back the wrappers.
I wrap Christmas gifts in fabric remnants and decorate with pine branches. The adults in our family do a “Secret Santa”, choosing a charity to receive a donation instead of exchanging gifts. In addition to a small gift for the children, I also choose a charity for a donation in their names to acquaint them with the idea of giving.
I shred old magazine pages in my paper shredder and then line the strands up in a pile and tie a piece of string tightly in the center. I then crumple and fluff up the paper strand edges to make recycled gift bows for my gift packages. People always comment on how cute and clever they are and it makes a great reuse of magazines! I’ve actually had people offer me money to make the bows for them too which makes me giggle.
In our garden club egg cartoons are being given to local farmers market sellers. Tote bags are being made from seed and feed bags to use in place of plastic and paper shopping bags. Old wall paper sample books are being used to make greeting cards.
Last year I started using paper grocery bags as wrapping paper and then after the presents were unwrapped the paper was used to keep us warm while it was burning in the fireplace. I also did away with bows and a lot of ribbon by tying a piece of greenery to the boxes instead of bows. It was a great look and provided a lovely aroma in the house.
Any ideas for nice looking gift wrapping/decorating?
I give unpackaged presents or in some cases recycle the wrappings.
For several years, my kith-and-kin have been enjoying the gift of experiences. Performances, concerts or outings. Afterward, we have dessert at a restaurant to continue our enjoyment of the evening.
We can and preserve from our garden all summer long, and for the holidays our family receives lovely packages of local produce – pickles, jams, jelly’s, salsa and pesto! We also make homemade beef jerky, cookies and sometimes bath scrubs and salts to go with them. Homemade gifts are the best, and not having to rush around in holiday shopping craziness is the best gift to ourselves of all!
My husband and I have a contest with the rest of the family on whose present has the best green wrapping. We use everything from saved paper grocery bags to the newspaper comics; reusable fabric bags to art decorated boxes. It’s always a blast guessing who put together which one and seeing all of the different ideas.
I’m excited to make my own natural decorations this year — like using fallen holly branches to make a wreath for my front door and pine cones for my mantle.
This year my plan is make ornaments from materials from my backyard for my kids first Christmas.
We have an experience with our friends rather than exchange gifts. It’s fun to plan it together and we have the memories of our adventure to cherish for a lifetime.
Last years Holiday cards are trimmed and cut out for this years gift tags. We have done this in my family for as long as I have lived.
Like Marye, I dehydrate apples, oranges, and such along with using bay leaves and cinn. sticks to decorate and use for wrapping as well.
Like Mayre we also do a ‘bird Xmas tree’. I go to a local Christmas tree farm and ask for an ‘unperfect’ one they would otherwise throw out, set it on the deck in a bucket of water and decorate with dries fruit,popcorn, oranges hollowed out to contain seed, etc. They love it! Also grew birdhouse gourds to paint for gifts. Also Email shopping to cut down on gas…
One tradition that we started several years ago is to dehydrate various fruits like apples, oranges, and pears in our oven. We hang them on our tree with raffia along with popcorn and cranberries. After Christmas we hang all of it on the trees outside for the birds. The kids love it and the house smells so good!
For the past three years I have stopped exchanging gifts with my adult siblings (we range in age from 50 to 65), and instead make a monetary donation to an organization that has some significance to me for the past year. Each year it’s a different group, but always one that means something to me personally. Several of my siblings have adopted this philosophy as well, keeping needless junk out of our homes, and cutting down on gas spent for shopping and shipping, eliminating wrapping and shipping waste, and helping needy organizations at the same time!
I am making canvas tote bags and reusable coffee cup cozies for my friends and family out of remnant fabric that I have been saving. I’m also going to make peanut brittle, chocolate covered pretzels and bread. No need for wrapping: All gifts will be beautifully presented in the reusable bag.
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