If you just don’t know what to buy an eco-friendly friend for the holidays, these DIY gifts will surely spark your imagination.
The moment that green, red and various tones of metallic decorations emerge in public spaces, we’re supposed to be reminded that a joyous time of year is once again upon us. We may pause to let the sight of
fancy, shimmy-trimmings sink into our brains, but that appreciation tends to dissipate the moment that we begin to bemoan the inevitable heavy traffic, long lines at the shopping mall and extra expenses that we incur throughout holiday season. Battling excessive crowds and scrutinizing eyeball-popping credit card bills can, however, become a distant memory by reassessing our consumerist tendencies.
Shopping malls are a necessary evil for certain consumer goods — you wouldn’t want to hand weave a set of sheets for your aunt Zelda, for example — but for a refreshing change of pace, you might just want to look at your hands for magical gift-giving inspiration.
Yes, it will require getting back to basics and putting real thought into the gift-giving process, plus channeling precious free time into the creation of holiday trimmings, edibles and heartfelt tokens that can be tucked away into reusable fabric wrap or recycled newsprint.
With nothing more than a minor financial investment for simple, easy-to-find DIY supplies, a significant investment of personal time and a liberal dose of resourcefulness, a memorable homemade celebration can be yours without the Scrooge-like side effects.
It all begins with taking inventory of what you already have. Call it what you will — frugal, green, clever, crafty, eco-friendly or just plain cheap — but do any of us really need to succumb to the call of the mall for shiny new “must haves” that reflect the latest trends? This one simple act of consumer rebellion kills multiple birds with one stone.
In addition to saving a sizable amount of money, DIY-ing your holiday gift list forces you to reinvent the resources already collecting dust under your roof while reducing or even eliminating the production of unnecessary waste altogether during what is one of the most notoriously wasteful times of the year.
Some might find this proposal to be particularly appealing due to financial constraints, artistic inclination, or maybe — just maybe
— it triggers a latent desire to live life just a bit more simply. Equally as importantly, this year’s handcrafted gift will remain in the memory banks of loved ones far longer than pre-purchased holidays of years past.
The extensive list of holiday do-it-yourself ideas below demonstrates that we all have the power to create a dynamic, wondrous, twinkly season resplendent with all of the celebratory hallmarks and none of the commercialized packaging. Green never smelled, tasted or felt so good. Take that
, shopping malls!
- Make a hipster laptop case using a refashioned vintage suitcase.
- Transform old men’s ties into new luggage tags, a handbag, a rug or a kitchen apron.
- Repurpose old T-shirts into yoga pants, kitschy-cool aprons, cloth diapers, a toasty quilt or even lace-trimmed underwear!
- Pour homemade layered cake mix into repurposed food containers, bake zucchini bread inside recycled metal cans or make mason jar single-serve pies.
- Turn an old yoga mat into a pair of handmade flip-flop sandals or make equally rustic summer footwear using an old tire.
- Create recycled metal bottle cap ornaments that can spruce up holiday décor, accent greeting cards or become festive fashion accessories.
- Make a fashionable wrist cuff, set of drink coasters or hip wall clock using repurposed vinyl records.
- Upgrade an old sweater into three cozy coordinating DIY holiday gifts or a matching shrug and skirt set.
- Canine recipients will howl with delight when they chomp into these wholesome dog biscuits made with squash, peanut butter and whole wheat flour.
- Man’s best friend might also happily strut their stuff in a homemade dog sweater or classy collar crafted out of a thrifted vintage belt.
- Slices of a fallen tree limb can be turned into earthy beverage coasters, candle stands, recycled wooden branch buttons, wall hooks and push pins or use a whole chunk o’ trunk to create a sentimental love log.
- Cook up homemade spirits such as hard cider, amaretto, limoncello, infused vodka or Irish cream.
- Make a traditional moss terrarium or tuck greenery inside a recycled “old school” light bulb.
- The cuff of an old men’s shirt can take on new life as an ever-practical wallet.
- Craft a sustainable mug holder studded with secondhand spoon “hooks.”
- Fuse plastic shopping bags into a homemade fabric that is ideal for creating reusable sandwich wrap or transform old clothing into individual sandwich and snack pouches.
- For the biking enthusiast, make them a frame-mounted lunch bag as well as a water-repellent oil cloth bicycle seat cover.
- Tech-geeks might appreciate a recycled keyboard wallet, circuit board picture frame or qwerty-adorned journal.
- You can even hand carve a collection of fallen leaves with whatever artistic inspiration strikes you.
And don’t forget, you can tuck your gifts into planet-friendly wrapping
such as reusable fabric gift bags made with old clothing
, wallpaper remnants, pages from last year’s calendar, recycled aluminum foil
, repurposed maps… perhaps even thoroughly washed containers fished out of your own recycling bin!