Have a Very Eco Christmas!: Part Two

I hope you are all enjoying your Holidays! Hubby is now home with us and we always love that. When our whole family is together it feels so much more relaxed and happy around here :)

We are also *really* looking forward to having our extended family come to visit. My parents, younger brother, his girlfriend and their new baby will be staying with us for about a week and we are seriously counting down the hours days! Especially because we haven't met the little new edition yet and I am a little baby crazy. I can't wait to hold the little bugger!

Okay, getting down to the eco-decorating post I promised. Kaden and I had so. much. fun making ornaments for the tree and house this year! We've never really done it before but Kaden has been creating stuff almost every single day. He's made copious amounts of wrapping paper since the last post as well.

A while back I ordered some plain wood and mache ornaments to paint with Kaden. We're also currently working on some Christmas craft kits we got from an Oriental Trading Company craft swap. The wood ornaments were very fun to decorate. We just painted them in red or green and dusted with sprinkles. We kept to a red/green palette this year because our whole tree was decorated in those colours.

We had both traditional ball-shapes as well as stars. The hexagonal ornaments we wanted were backordered so, we had to do without :(

Kaden also made a waldorf-syle gnome house as a centerpiece. He used scraps gathered from nature herself as well as a little star cut out of felt. We tried moulding the pieces together with plasticine, but after a frustrating attempt, we used hot glue. These gnome houses are so easy and fun to make! Notice the birch bark wrapped gnome in the corner? He has a little sea shell hat, but it's hard to see in this picture. Too cute! Kaden also made a hand-dipped beeswax candle, but I have no picture of that at the moment.

The last tree decoration we made was the classic paper chain. We used scraps from various construction paper projects and crafts we'd already done instead of throwing them out or chucking them in the recycling bin.

For the door, I wanted something less traditional then a wreath, which I had no time to make. I thought of a really simple project to do with some pinecones and ribbon. Check it out below:

I threaded some eye hooks into the pinecones (which hurt like a b*tch!--did you know pinecones have spikey things?! Ouch!) and then looped some pretty red ribbon through them. I used thumb tacks to secure them to the top of the door.  I recommend using tape first until you like the arrangement of your pinecones. I left mine in their natural state to match my front door, but you could always paint them or glitter them up (using low VOC paint of course!)

Enjoy decorating!

Have a Very Eco Christmas!: Part One

It is probably fairly obvious to anyone even remotely green-mined that the Holiday Season puts a toll on the environment. What with all of the plastic toys with their unhealthy off-gasses chemicals and petroleum based materials, the wrapping paper made of virgin fibres and chemical coatings and dyes. Not to mention that many gifts and all the wrapping end up in the dump, further polluting our environment. In this post I am going to focus on gift wrapping the eco-friendly way! I will provide you with some ideas that I've actually thought of and tested so that you know they really can work. My next post in this subject (Part Two) will center around eco-friendly gifts for all ages (using my actual gift list!), and third, I'll talk about green decorating.

This year, I decided that our family would not be buying any Christmas wrapping. It is so incredibly wasteful and in my opinion, makes every gift look the same--boring and commercialized. Since I was not buying many (if any) commercial presents, then I was certainly not going to wrap them in conventional gift wrap!

First, let me say that this took some months of planning. We saved all of the materials that we could from packaging and papers that we already had comming into the house or already laying around. For example, we saved coffee canisters and bags, paper wrapping from mail packages, ribbon and tissue paper from packages we received, paper bags, and other items. Along with all of this, I saved drawings, small crafts, and colouring pages (Christmas ones in particular) that my children created. This resulted in a big box filled with materials to re-use!

Putting the materials to use was quite easy. All that was needed was a little vision and creativity. I used used but clean paper bags, salvaged raffia, and paper scraps to create gift bags for my family's smaller presents. I was aiming for a simple look, but you could easily add more to your gift bags.

 My children's Christmas artwork also made wonderful Christmas wrap that adds a unique personal touch to giving gifts. All of this paper was rescued from postal packages that held my children's Christmas presents. Doesn't this look so much better than store-bought wrapping? Just add some ribbon and you're all set :-)  Even toddlers can get in on the action with scribbled paper in Christmas colours!

Christmas crafts that my little unschooler created also were put to good use in creating wrapping for our presents. Both colouring pages and cardboard gingermen were put to use below. Again, the paper is recycled from packaging we already recieved. I just cut off or hid the addresses printed on the paper. The gingerbreadman hides an address in this example.

Other fantastic ideas that many of you have probably already heard of are to use old maps, newspaper comics, and stamped art paper. If you are not crafty or creative in the least, or if you are short on time, you can also always purchase eco-friendly wrapping paper from stores such as Grass Roots Store

Please share your eco wrapping ideas and pictures!
Happy Wrapping!