A handmade holiday is about more than just the gifts, as I’m coming to realize more and more. There are of course, handmade cards. But what about putting the human touch back into wrappings, tags, and the holiday decorations?
No, you don’t have to do it all. You don’t need to handmade 200 cards and send them to everyone you’ve met. You don’t need to get out the Spirograph and gel pens and painstakingly make 200 yards of gift wrap (although, Spirograph paper is too, too cool to completely miss). No, I’m talking about examining our relationship with all of the bits that go into our celebrations and thinking about changes over the next few years.
Wrapping: I love the idea of fabric gift bags for their reusability, but their floppy inelegance is a real turn-off. I like to wrap my presents, which is why I was so very happy to discover the Japanese tradition of Furoshiki. It melds the joy of a well-wrapped gift with the reusability of cloth. The website Furoshiki.com has wonderful descriptions, explains why they’re not quite square, shows techniques, and has cloths of various sizes to order. This government sponsored Furoshiki pdf is a great visual primer. To further decrease the environmental costs, we bought some second-hand scraps of material in order to make these. Give me a few minutes with some pinking shears and we’ll be all set.
Tags: You can easily and quickly make your own tags. I’ve got a tutorial for simple paper tags. But what about the idea of using polymer clay to make 4 permanent tags for each person in your immediate family? Ali Edwards had an interesting post compiling suggestions for simplifying Christmas and one idea leapt out at me: give no more than 4 presents –
1. Something to read
2. Something they need
3. Something they want
4. Something to wear
With four permanent tags per person, this would be a wonderful way to cement the tradition.
Cards: there are lots of simple ways to handmake them. I’ve got three ideas you’re free to use: a tree card, a present card, and an ornament card. One year we stamped white circles on blue cards with potatoes to make snowpeople and drew details on when they’d dried. The kids had a blast with that.