With holidays approaching fast, many of us are all about finding ways to kill the holiday bird with one stone! It’s unfortunately become a season of excess in so many ways. Children’s personal toy stores grow and overflow. Even adults have a tough time making space for the latest and greatest gadgets, gizmos, purses and gifted “potent potables.”
That being said, the pre-season purge – out with the old to make room for the new – isn’t even enough at our house anymore! We just don’t have the space and I’m not willing to fill countless closets, cubbies and crates with clutter. But back to the task at hand – crushing that bird of a to-do list while also cutting down clutter! I recently came across some crafty ways to do both. Many household “junk” items can be recycled and repurposed as thoughtful gift options. Why not save yourself some stress, cut some of the wastefulness out of the Christmas equation, and save some cash while you’re at it?
* Before heading out to the store and feeding into the commercialized holidays mentality of more, give one of these DIY options a try as a gift or just for some crafty fun!
1. Frame Your Finery
I received this craft as a gift myself several years ago and use it still today. If you have any antique or artsy old picture frames in your home that aren’t being used, they can be repurposed as beautiful jewelry displays. The frame easily lends itself to the job with just the addition of a few hooks or decorative push pins to hang necklaces or earrings. You can refurbish and paint your frame to your liking and add a backing of choice such as a pretty piece of material, simple burlap or felt, then attach the hanging mechanisms you choose. Jazz it up by hot gluing on decorative buttons, jewels or embellishments. When it’s all finished, pair this DIY present with an inexpensive but pretty store-bought or another handmade piece like a unique necklace or sparkly earring set. This is super simple, fun to make and leaves you with a thoughtful and creative gift.
2. Sweater Pillow “Hugger”
Reinfuse some life into any old favorite snugly sweaters and throw pillows you have hanging around with a quick slipcover trick. Tuck your pillow inside an old favorite sweater and push it in all the way to the neckline. Tie the arms of the sweater in a cute “hug” around the front of the pillow. Flip over and stretch the hem over the bottom and tuck!
*You can create and customize a “manly” pillow option by using an old favorite sports jersey or long-sleeve tee. Perfect for the man cave!
3. Paper Bag/Burlap Sack Planter
Dress up an inexpensive house plant as a gift using just a brown bag and a bow! You’ll need to find a houseplant that’s hearty and long blooming. Kalanchoe (available in a Christmassy red) is low maintenance and flowers at length. Place your plant inside the paper bag or a small burlap sack –whichever you have around the house – then roll down the top and tie with a decorative ribbon. Make your bow and your planter is good to go!
4. DIY Terrarium
An old glass vase or fish bowl can house live plants as an easy and kid-friendly terrarium project.
Gather cuttings of hearty house plants you already have at home or purchase a few inexpensive specimens that can be broken up, potting soil and a small mister bottle. Get digging and planting, then deck it out with your best holiday bow and gift to the gardner in your life.
5. Gifts Of Positivity!
Good Vibes Only: All you need are some pretty beach stones or shells and a sharpie. If you’ve got kids, you’ve already got a stash of shells and beach pebbles hanging around from summer days spent at the beach. Using your Sharpie and your prettiest penmanship, scroll some positive affirmations and inspirational messages on your stones and shells to pass along as tokens of your friendship and love or for use as garden stones/decor. You can also paint stones as animals or floral designs, make a fairy garden theme for little ones – the options are really limitless. We’ve actually taken old frames and shadow boxes and secured “message stones and shells” in place as a display of daily affirmations. Another gifting option right there! And you can get rid of an old junked frame in the process!
6. Junked Jars
Junked Jars make for great goodie containers whether you bake your treats and fill a jar (cookies, pretzel treats or fudge) or seal in all the makings of your favorite cookie recipe with the instructions attached.
- Paint your jar and fill with inexpensive arts and crafts materials.
- Pickled items make great gifts as well. Just be sure the jar can be properly sealed!
- Create a holiday snow globe with photos (check out Youtube for tutorials) or tiny trinkets, glitter and glue. Get creative and remember to have fun with it!
7. Button, Button – Who’s Got Buttons?
We’ve all got ’em from shirts and coats gone by or those “extras” that are rarely needed. Buttons make beautiful background art for inscribed messages to loved ones and can easily still fit into a frame. My girls and I enjoyed shaping old buttons into a heart and hot gluing them onto the mat of a frame with our own clever little poem inscribed inside:
We Love You
No Ifs Ands Or Buttons About
(Can you visualize the button heart shape outline?) Have fun and create your own designs while crafting your best button-inspired poetry and prose. Buttons are all sizes and shapes, some fancier than others if you’ve got a collection of antique items hanging around. They are versatile as embellishment for handmade hair clips or to personalize a little girl’s journal – even a craft store wooden jewelry box that you can paint and make your own.
I’m sure if you think about it during your next household clean-out, you’ll discover your own ideas and ways to transform the old and make it new. But if you insist on including a store-bought option, consider combining a clutter cleaning craft with a smaller more budget-friendly item. Here are a few ideas:
- Add a pretty set of mixing spoons or a kitchen towel to your “Junk-Jar Cookie Mix.”
- Gift a garden spade and gloves along with a few inspirational beach stones.
- Combine a fluffy fleece throw with your sweater or jersey pillow hugger.
May your end of the year be merry and bright!
And may your home be clear of clutter, but instead full of cheer!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at A La Maid!