An increasing complaint from just about every adult I know is how irritatingly commercial the holidays have become. We live in a boring dystopia of brightly colored plastic, sameness, and corporate dictations set from the top meant to trickle down as trends. One thing I’ve vowed to do this year (with the exception of skincare of course!) is try to shop local and support small business when purchasing gifts for my family.
One thing that I’ve always done to try to personally negate the commercialized feel of the holidays is to get crafty when it comes to decorating and gift wrapping. I have five holiday DIY ideas for you on how to put a fresh new spin on and add a little more personality into your home and gifting this year!
Tailoring your gift wrap to the person receiving the gift gives it a personal touch that says, “Hey, I really actually on the real for actual care about you!” Using a creative alternative or highly personal gift wrap really says “this is totally you and I so get you.”
For your fancier friends and relatives, why not try traditional Japanese furoshiki gift wrapping using a beautiful scarf you think they’d love. There’s a good simple tutorial below. It’s visually stunning, and it has the added bonus of cutting down on the waste of wrapping paper that just gets trashed anyway. Best of all, your loved one has an additional gift to keep!
If you’re a total interior design nut and have similar types of friends, then I bet there’s something in your home that makes for the perfect recycled wrap. If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands who own a Stendig wall calendar and lament throwing away the beautifully classic pages each month, hang on to them — they make the coolest wrapping paper! I’ve seen this done on countless design blogs and it always looks cool, at least to those of us who are into that kind of thing!
When giving gifts to teachers, I always like to use a plain solid color paper (usually plain brown wrapping paper because I’m into the whole minimalism-Scandinavian look), but for the name tag, I glue on a large square of black construction paper. I then write their name on the construction paper in white chalk which ends up looking exactly like a chalkboard. Alternatively, if it’s a small gift you can just use the black construction paper as the wrap itself and label it the same way. It’s a cute little personal touch that looks a lot better than your generic reindeer paper, and it’s something you’re likely to have in your home if you’re the parent of small kids.
Are you wondering what in the fresh hell a himmeli is? If you’re not from a Scandinavian country, you probably haven’t heard of them. Originating from the Swedish word for sky or heaven (himmel), himmeli “are a traditional Finnish ornament or a mobile decoration that is traditionally made out of straw or reeds in Finland.” They’re basically these really neat geometric ornaments made from natural materials dating back to antiquity.
They’re also really fun and really easy to make! Check out this link to see what I mean. What I really like about this version is it uses cinnamon sticks to make the himmeli, which both looks cool visually, and adds that wonderful Christmas-y scent in the air. Just use Google translate for instructions, but you really don’t have to, thanks to the extremely handy universal language that is the gif visual provided on the site.
A himmeli party is the perfect excuse for getting your girlfriends together with some spiced mulled wine! Get tipsy and get threading — you might be able to create one of the more elaborate mobiles, a cool geometric wreath, or just a bunch of small ones to decorate your tree!
If you’re into that all-natural life, look no further than actual nature to adorn your gift. Spices such as star anise or cinnamon and herbs such as rosemary or sage lend a homey holiday DIY flare to gifts that go the extra mile. The Christmas-y aromas will add a wonderful olfactory component to their gift.
If you happen to live in the frigid north and don’t have access to an herb garden this time of year, going out and breaking a few sprigs of spruce or pine off to affix to your gift works also! Attach by sliding your herbs, spices, or sprigs underneath a pretty satin bow once it’s tied. It’s beautiful, all-natural, biodegradable, and smells great!
Baskets have been a huge trend in decorating the past couple of years. If you’re anything like me, you probably have at least a couple of Ikea Fladis baskets lying about. The tree skirt has always been a pet peeve of mine; they’re usually tacky, they attract pine needles and pet hair like a magnet, and they bunch up and look disheveled. Avoid all of that by dropping your tree stand into a cute large basket! It’ll hide the ugly parts of a real tree, or if you go the fake tree route, it can also make your artificial tree look more lifelike! Added bonus: Once the holidays are over, it can go right back to making your life easier hiding all your junk.
Origami is another traditional Japanese art that makes for a lively gift topper or tree decoration. Get your family together and have fun bringing all kinds of origami animals to life! A garland of white cranes looks great around the tree and origami frogs, cat heads, and foxes make much cuter name tags. The ease of folding these particular animals makes it a great activity for keeping kids busy and engaged in holiday decorating. Start an origami tradition this year, it will quickly become something you’ll all remember fondly and look forward to each year!
What are your fave holiday DIY hacks? I’d love to get some inspiration so let me know in the comments!