DIY envelopes

A plastic-free Christmas

Five things to do for a greener festive season

Christmas cookies in plastic boxes, piles of wrapping paper, plastic bags everywhere, plastic gifts put in plastic bags wrapped in plastic packaging – to make a long story short: December is definitely one of the hardest months to avoid unnecessary packaging. I read that we actually use up 30 % more paper than in other months because of all the gift-wrapping paer. But as impossible as avoiding uneccessary packaging over Christmas seems, there are ways. I decided to put together a little list of really easy things I’m doing this year – I suppose you could call it my “Christmas pledge”. Of course it involves a lot of stuff I’ve been doing ever since I started my blog, but I thought it might be helpful for others to know about it. Maybe you want to integrate a few of them into this year’s Christmas routine, too!?

1) Ditch gift-wrapping paper once and for all. There are so many clever and pretty alternatives, for example old newspapers (I found a Chinese newspaper recently, it looks pretty amazing), magazine pages, scarfs or (for big things) blankets (I got some inspiration on Buzzfeed, too). Whenever I get a present wrapped in gift-wrapping paper, I try to unwrap it carefully so that I can re-use the paper. I do, however, will ask my family not to use any gift-wrapping paper, too. So maybe we could even make it a completely gift-wrapping-paper-free Christmas?

alternative gift wrappers

alternative gift wrappers

2) I won’t buy packaged cookies and Christmas candy (loose cookies from the bakery should be fine though :-)). Instead I will make them myself (for example these date cashew hazelnut pralinés) and use old tins, glass jars and milk cartons as candy boxes. Makes a great Christmas present, too.

date cashew hazelnut praliné

date cashew hazelnut praliné

3) [SPOILER ALERT] I will try to make all of my Christmas presents myself. There are so many easy and yet amazing things you can make at home. I know it might seem a little time-consuming, but hitting the high streets and queueing up in shops on a Saturday afternoon clearly can’t take that much less time. And fortunately there are some things that don’t take forever to make. I found some inspiration on Buzzfeed (33 DIY gifts you can make in less than an hour), although I generally prefer gifts you can actually “use up” . That’s why I like to fill things like cookie, risotto or bread mixtures in old glass bottles or jars. Just choose your favourite recipe, fill in the ingredients, stick the recipe to the bottle and you’ve got a really unique gift that won’t add up to the big pile of things we’ve all got already. Or I make my own herbal oils.

homemade risotto mix

homemade risotto mix

homemade herbal oil

homemade herbal oil

4) The same goes for gift cards. I will make them from old cardboard boxes (cereal boxes for example) and pretty pictures from magazines and use scrap fabric to decorate them. Glued magazine pages will serve as envelopes.

magazine page envelopes

magazine page envelopes

5) And last but not least: I want to downsize in general. I love upcycling old things, I love making little homemade presents, but the really important things are love and time. So I don’t think I always need to buy or even make a present for everyone. Cooking for someone, arranging a movie night at home and “giving time” always makes a much better gift. I saw this great German website the other day where you can create gift-cards for quality time instead of quality products. As a good friend of mine pointed out, it’s kind of defining of our times and our part of the world that we actually need a website that makes us aware of this, but if that is what it takes to spread the idea, I’m all for it.

What are your thoughts on this? How are you celebrating Christmas this year? Do you have any more plastic-free ideas (or something I really missed on my list)? Let me know, would love to hear from you!

By the way: More upcycling and DIY Christmas ideas will follow next time!

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The collage issue

From scrapbooks to DIY envelopes – What to do with old magazines

I admit: Magazines are one of my guilty pleasures, I just can’t live without them. And although I try not to buy too many of them, I always end up with some. In the past my re-use/recycling ideas for magazines were rather simple: I gave them to friends or family, I used pretty pages as gift wrapping paper and I cut out my favourite pictures and inspiring articles to put them in my scrapbook, which I call my ”book of ideas”.

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my scrapbook

But thanks to my fellow DIY bloggers, I found a whole bunch of other ideas that helped me to slowly reduce my stack of old magazines. So I turned my old magazines into something truly useful, something I need quite frequently – envelopes. I found a useful link for DIY envelopes here. and adapted it to my needs (I folded the pages differently, but I guess that’s up to you):

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DIY magazine envelope

And that’s what got me started. Other projects followed quickly after that: A little while ago I found two old cupboards on the street that were still perfectly fine, but a bit ugly. So I cut out a whole bunch of interesting pictures and transformed the old cupboards into unique items of furniture. And this is how they look now:

upcycling an old cupboard

upcycling an old cupboard

But the coolest thing is still waiting: I want to turn a whole bunch of old magazines into book shelves and seats. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this!

So here’s a plan what to do with your stack of old magazines. Maybe you’ll find some time to get creative, too. Have a great week!