Holiday gift giving. While many postconsumers eschew it, we actually think that there’s plenty of room for the tradition of gift giving even within the postconsumer community. Gift giving is a sweet way to acknowledge the place of others in your life and to celebrate the spirit of the season. Of course, you need to be smart about your gift giving and try to separate it out from the consumer machine as much as possible. We often encourage “experience gifts” rather than “stuff.” But there are consumer-responsible ways to gift “stuff” too. One way is to create upcycled gifts for your recipients. Yes, you’ll need to be a tiny bit crafty, but we’d argue that once you get started being crafty you’ll find that it’s more relaxing then you suspected. To that end, we’ve summed up our five favorite upcycled holiday gift ideas for your inspiration.
The Door Draft Stopper: Upcycled and Energy Efficient
This is actually the second time that we’ve suggested this handmade gift. The first time was in our list of Holiday Gifts That Help Conserve Energy. One of our favorite gifts to give is a draft catcher for doors into and out of a house. Because older houses in particular tend to have doors that aren’t entirely flush to the floor, cold drafts can make it into the house even when the door is shut. Of course, when a cold draft makes it into the house, the energy you’re using to heat the house (and the money that you’re spending for that energy) needs to increase. These door snakes can be decorative and attach to the bottom of the door without impeding its ability to open and close. You can easily make these draft stoppers from upcycling material that you already have in your home, and we’ve provided a link to a handy tutorial to do it below.
For the Love of Wine: Wine Bottle Vases or Candle Holders
We admit it. If we saved them all up by the time the end of the year rolled around we’d have a lot of empty wine bottles. In fact, there are so many empty wine bottles in the world that a scan of Etsy or a search of the internet will land you plenty of people who are selling arts and crafts made from reclaimed or upcycled wine bottles. Here’s one of our favorites if you’d simply like to support upcycled merchandise instead of making your own. But if you do want to turn your wine bottles into gifts for people, there are plenty of craft tutorials out there that will walk you through ways to transform wine bottles into everything from vases to using them to bottle your own homemade products. We like this tutorial in particular because almost everything you need you’ll already have in your house (the primary ingredient is Epsom salt). The best part of the craft? It gives you an excuse to drink for the rest of the year!
Staff Pick: Fun Puzzle Piece Wreaths
We admit that this staff pick happened because we, personally, have a lot of puzzles sitting around the house that are missing pieces (we blame the cat). But you could also make these adorable puzzle piece wreaths by liberating some unloved puzzles from your local Goodwill and giving them a new home. In the spectrum of crafts, this one is pretty easy. You just need a basic understanding of shapes, the puzzle pieces that you’re giving new life to and some paint. If you really want to get “upcycly” there are probably plenty of ribbons and doodads in your home that you could also give new life to with this wreath.
For the Parents: Upcycled Baby Food Jar Snow Globes
You just looked at that picture and got worried that this craft was advanced! Don’t worry! It’s actually quite simple and it can be done without having to buy the tiny little plastic Christmas trees used in the example. We actually made ours using broken off pieces of old ornaments or pieces of holiday decorations we salvaged from Goodwill. All you really have to do is glue the snow globe item to the lid of the jar, then fill the jar with glitter, water and glycerin and close it tightly. Then once it’s turned upside down it’s a full-on cutie snow globe. Of course, if you’re a new parent who’s making all of your child’s food, we apologize for giving you an inappropriate craft idea! And we applaud you for making your own food. But if you’re buying baby food, then you already know how many of these jars are laying around. Put them to gifting use.
What To Do With Those Old Incandescent Lightbulbs
We choose to believe that you’ve continued to change over from incandescent lightbulbs to more energy efficient ones. But what do you do with all of those old bulbs? Or what do you do with the bulbs that you are using once they burn out? You turn them into fun, crafty holiday tree ornaments. We actually think that this is the craft or upcycle project on this list that will require the most artistic and crafty skills, but don’t be daunted! Once you get painting you’ll find that you’re having fun. Another warning though is that you will likely have to buy some craft supplies to accomplish this idea, but we think it’s worth it to get those incandescent bulbs out of circulation once and for all.
Did we miss an upcycled holiday gift idea that you want to share with us? If so, just tell us about it on one of the social media channels below.
Photo Credit: Quelab_NM via Flickr