29 November 2011

No New Gifts Christmas

As I pointed out the other day, this holiday season will be a bit different for our family because we want to make it green this time. We will be celebrating a No New Gifts Christmas and that is so exciting. Our brains are already humming like busy bees, trying to invent wonderful projects that will make the recipient feel loved.

I have been restlessly browsing through many a lovely DIYs and as much as I would like to gift my own handmade soaps, that will not happen this year because I still haven't had the courage to start learning to make them. Cross your fingers for next Christmas though, or maybe even Easter, why not!

So, sticking to what I already can do, here is the list of my favorite sustainable projects so far that I could turn into gifts. The good thing about them is that they are green, recycled and easy to make:

Yarn bowl  by Carolin's Homework

If you have a bag of leftover yarn and some flour this project is for you - what is left from the flour paste can be used for paper mache projects.

Dictionary Art  by Brooklyn Limestone

Give a second life to an old, maybe partly ruined book and turn it into modern wall art.

Newspaper Basket  by How About Orange

Here is a fun clever way to put to use some of the newspapers you have and turn them into a practical object for your home.

Felted Soap  by Rhythm of the Home

The wool protects and lengthens the life of your soap, and even eliminates the need for a washcloth. Felted soap bars also make lovely gifts for both children and adults!

Book into Sewing Box by STC Craft

Awesome downloadable instructions for turning a book into a unique sewing box!

The Pants Bowl by Kanelstrand

If you are a long-term reader of Kanelstrand you must know this tutorial, but I am posting it in case you've missed it. Easy, fast and impressive bowl from your old pants.

Beeswax Candles by Crafty Little Gnome

Cute beeswax candles in little jars. These candles make great Christmas gifts and because they are compact and come with a lid they are also great for traveling.

Tshirt Pillow by Ruffles & Stuff

If you have a fun shirt that you want to repurpose, try this! It's scandalously easy

Phonebook to Pen Organizer by Chica and Jo

Upcycle an old phonebook into a quirky and unique pen/pencil organizer that will be a real conversation piece on its owner's desk!

Felted Bracelets by Kanelstrand

Learn how to knit and felt a bracelet - unique Christmas gift for any stylish lady.

Fork Bracelet by Stars for Streetlights

Crazy-awesome bracelet made from a fork! I can't say anything else, I am left speechless and dazed.

Sugar Scrub by Coordinately Yours

With this tutorial you will finally be able to satisfy your nature-loving friends that are always on the lookout for natural body and bath products.

Recycled Wool Sweater Blanket by Homemade Holiday Gifts

You can't get more unique making a blanket than that. You only need 5 felted sweaters and some skills.

Tshirt grocery bag by Ecouterre

Upcycle old tshirts into bright and beautiful produce bags.

Funny Bunny Plush Doll by A Beautiful Mess

Stitching this sweet doll will take you no more than 2 hours. But can you already see the facial expression of its recipient?!

In case you are wondering why I chose to put the yarn bowl first, it's because I can't wait to try and make it! I have so much leftover yarn, that it will do for a pretty sturdy bowl, I hope. Stay tuned for the results. If you feel like browsing through even more awesome green DIYs, take a look at my latest post on Green Living Ideas. And have a white green December!


  1. Wow! Thank you so, so much for including me! :)

  2. What an amazing selection of projects! As you know I'm really trying to work along these lines this Christmas too.

    Your blog is full of inspiration.

  3. What a fun list Sonya!! Loving the fork bracelet and the dictionary art.

    Do let us know what you end up making!!

  4. I love all of these ideas! Thanks for sharing them:)

  5. I love all these ideas!! I love the idea of making useful things for family and friends during the holidays. This year we have come up with lots of ideas, and I think I am going to have to add in some of your suggestions as well. Thanks!
    Everyday Inspired

  6. Love your blog :) from Etsy Blog Team www.sweet-fix.net

  7. These are all fantastic ideas! My favorites are the dictionary art and the phone book office organizer.

  8. These are awesome!! I love the book sewing box.

  9. I'm bookmarking this post, Sonya. So many good ideas. I'm trying to do a mostly handmade (or vintage) Christmas. I think the gifts are so much more personal that way.

  10. Thanks for the great ideas Sonya. Now that NaBloPoMo is over...maybe I can find the time to incorporate some of the great suggestions to improve my blog. Now if you can create the extra time for me to do some of these projects I would be in heaven. They look like so much fun!

  11. I was looking for something different and you provided some great ideas! Let us know if you use any of these ideas!

  12. Love this list!!! I use old books from a friend who is a librarian - she gave me some decommisioned books and they go into house art , packging for my store and shipping labels! I have a similar craft to the yarn bowl but with Book paper and strips of fabric. I can't wait to see what you make!

  13. What creative ideas - I love them all! Particularly the pen organizer, the fork bracelet, the book sewing box and the newspaper basket. And your pants bowl looks lovely! :) Such great ideas - I bet you'll have a blast making them!

  14. Recycled gifts are a great idea. I love the book sewing kit!

  15. Thanks for sharing our sugar scrub post!

  16. What fantastic ideas Sonya!

    I suggested a similar project to my fammily this year and was vetoed! But, by starting early, with your list in hand, I'm sure I'll be able to convince them to have a green Christmas next year!