Homemade Holiday

Creating homemade decorations was my favorite holiday activity growing up. Coming up with new ways to make gift wrap, gift tags, and ornaments from things found around the house and neighborhood was part of the challenge--and the fun. With being green on many of our minds this holiday season, we have an even greater reason to be resourceful and to look to nature for inspiration. Here are some of my favorite projects you and your children can do together:

Green your gift wrap:

Save money on all that holiday paper that ordinarily gets ripped to shreds and thrown away. Make your own gift wrap by sprucing up paper grocery bags or recycled brown paper. Create nature stamps by coating leaves and flowers with non-toxic paint and stamping them on the paper. You can also find treasures from outside and glue them right onto the paper, or simply color and paint your own designs. For gift wrap that is reusable year after year, try wrapping your gifts in fabric, Japanese-style, using the art of furoshiki. Click here to learn how to wrap virtually any gift shape in a furoshiki. If all that tying and twisting has gotten your mind in a knot, simply secure the fabric with a bow.

Green your labels:

Gather holiday cards you’ve received and let your child cut gift labels and name cards for the dinner table. She should simply cut off the written message and keep what remains of the cover image, dividing it into sections to make little tags. Try cutting fun shapes, such as stars, hearts, and trees. Attach a ribbon and viola! You have an ornament!

Green your decor:

Bring nature in from the cold to add life to your holiday decor. Evergreens, pine cones and berries make beautiful garlands, centerpieces and accessories to gift wrap. Gather dead vines to make a wreath that will last for years. Pine cones can be placed in a bowl and splashed with cinnamon and clove to add a seasonal aroma, or used to hold the homemade place cards mentioned above. Remember to return these items back outdoors when you’re done so that they can biodegrade into the soil.

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