Posts tagged "Christmas"

Recycled Christmas – upcycle trash into handmade presents

Perhaps it’s just the blogs I read but it seems like more people than ever are thinking of making gifts this Christmas.

There are lots of suggestions out there for making biscuits, cakes or jams, or knitting or crocheting something pretty — but if you’re after a truly frugal Christmas, all those ingredients & yarns add up: what about things which you can make by reusing/recycling/upcycling things from around the home?

Here are my favourite ideas for simple & frugal upcycled Christmas presents:

1. Hankies

Handkerchiefs are easy to make from any soft old cotton fabric – bedding or clothing for example. They’re simple but always useful – and help the recipient cut down on their disposable tissue usage too.

Don’t feel they have to be boring white – I made the ones in the picture out of an old pink gingham shirt – and consider monogramming/embroidering them to make them extra special.

(Use 100% cotton fabric where possible and 100% cotton yarn too so that they can handle being washed at a hot temperature if needs be.)
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How can I make a Christmas fairy out of a chicken/turkey wishbone?

Eileen Bradley left a comment on our “how to make Christmas decorations by reusing and recycling stuff?” post, asking about wishbone fairies:

Does anyone know how to make Christmas Tree Fairies from Chicken or Turkey wishbones. I have seen them made but don’t know how to make them. Thank you

I’ve never seen them – and Google isn’t helping me either so I can’t be any help. Anyone else know more about them? Have you made one? And if so, got any hints/tips to get Eileen started?

Or has anyone got a picture of one so we can see what Eileen means?

(Yes, I know I’m posting about Christmas in November but I thought it might be worth posting it ahead of Thursday, when one or two of our USian readers might be eating turkey.)

How can I reuse or recycle plastic toys from Christmas crackers?

Another one from the “Suggest An Item” page, Covert_Operations’78 asked:

How can I reuse or recycle those cheap, tiny plastic toys that come in Christmas crackers, snack packets and the like, please? These are mostly just brittle, non-recyclable plastic ‘shapes’, not like the playable and durable fast food premiums. I don’t buy them, but what do I do with the bunch I’ve acquired over the years at parties and such? Even if I try to reduce by not accepting them, they would have been purchased, and would be given out to others anyway, even if I decline. Thank you in advance!

As I explained last month, I don’t celebrate Christmas so it comes across as Bah-humbug when I say it, but ugh, I hate Christmas crackers – so much waste for a split second of cheer. I understand the “it’s hard to reduce” point – they’ve already been bought and few people want to kick up a fuss and refuse to pull one at a party – but so. much. waste. One idea for the future might be to ask if you can provide the crackers for the party – you can then make them out of recycled materials and/or at least know exactly how to recycle all the paper waste, and you can include small but actually useful items as opposed to the random useless stuff you get in commercial ones.

But what to do with the commercial stuff – those little plastic toys? I know a number of people who would use them to make fun costume jewellery or mobile phone charms. You could also use them in little terrariums. Other ideas?

How can I reuse or recycle Christmas tree needles?

christmas-tree-needlesI know a lot of people go for no-drop types of Christmas tree these days but some of them still shed like billy-o.

Pine needles can be composted – they can be quite acidic though so if that’s undesirable, make sure you balance them out in your heap with some alkali things (wood ash, for example). Also don’t drop a heavy layer into the heap all in one place – they sit pretty densely together and can restrict airflow.

They can be used for lots of other things too – Crunchy Chicken linked to a range of recipes using pine needles in drinks and biscuits, and you can use them to stuff pin cushions.

Any other suggestions?

Oh, and happy Christmas to those that celebrate it :)

How can I make Christmas stockings recycling/upcycling stuff?

stockingsWe’ve had an email from Beth, telling us about her great Christmas stocking substitute:

My lucky little boys get too many presents to fit into an actual stocking. In the past, I’ve got them plastic bags from the Christmas shop but when I was thinking about what to do for them this year, I remembered the novelty glittery T-shirts I had to wear for work last year. I turned them inside out, sewed along the bottom and righted them again, instant festive swag bags!

A great idea, Beth. I’ve also seen pillowcases used in the same way – felt letters and decorations tacked on so they can be removed and used as pillowcases again – and there are plenty of patterns out there for making keepsake stockings out of scraps (although they’re more like keepsake decorations instead of present-filled ones).

Another idea – although for adults more than kids – is to give a nice reusable shopping bag as part of the gift instead of using a gift bag: if it’s not too overtly Christmassy, they’ll be able to use it all year around. There are plenty of ways to reuse/recycle/upcycle things into shopping bags – including out of tshirts and vest tops.

Any other specific stocking/swag bag suggestions though?

(Photo by arttg)