Hi everyone! For those of you who know me well, you know that for 4 years now I usually get all my Christmas shopping done by September because I usually start shopping in January. I know it’s a little bit intense and I do not expect everyone to do this. The reason that I do this is really a coping mechanism.
- We have a limited budget for gifts so I try to stretch it out by taking advantage of the after Christmas or winter sales and other sale periods. When I buy things on sale I can by better quality items for my limited budget.
- Christmas is really CRAZY here in Manila. The traffic and events are unimaginable. People literally spend hours on the road. And shopping events and malls are jacked up with so many people. I don’t want to be part of this frenzy because my bipolar disorder really flares up when I’m placed in places that are too busy or too crowded. So getting shopping done by September helps me avoid the crowds and stay sane during the hectic holiday season,m which in Manila starts during the BER months or September.
BEGINNING OF A TRADITION
It all started on our last year in Berlin. It was around August 2015 that I realized: if we are leaving on 15 January 2016, I will be so busy packing on November and December that I will not be able to shop for gifts. How would we even celebrate Christmas as a family when we are leaving a few weeks after?!?
I decided I needed to do my Christmas shopping asap and finish wrapping by September. I got some really great deals on these super delicious cookies (I checked the expiration of course to be sure it was well past Christmas) that we discovered and I wrapped everything with just a band of Christmas wrapper around the body of the package (Life changing realization: you don’t really need to wrap the whole gift!) and using gold and white washi, I taped gift cards with names on them. I stuck them in a box and taped the box so that the contents wouldn’t get dusty. And it wasn’t a problem storing the box somewhere cold and not humid because it was winter and Berlin air is really quite dry.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO PUT TAGS ON?
It’s important that I not only wrap the gifts but also to put all the gift tags already so that I will not change my mind anymore and change gifts. There are benefits to this. When you label or put tags on your gifts:
- You reduce your mental load because you can check that person off your list and you don’t have keep on going back and questioning yourself or changing your gifts. It’s already signed and sealed, so the only step missing is to deliver it!
- You also do not mix up gifts when it’s already labeled ready to be given away.
- When Christmas comes, all you need to do is open your gift bench or gift closet and give it to your loved one. Easy peasy!
EXTRA LESS-XMAS-STRESS TIP:
If you don’t want to lug around gifts or in my case forget gifts on your way to your Christmas gathering or celebration (I personally get anxious going to parties so I become pretty forgetful!) then you can send your gifts ahead of time via courier.
I usually send my gifts in November – Like right about NOW. This way even if there are delays on the couriers end, the gift will arrive on time for sure!
SUSTAINABLE CHRISTMAS GIFT WRAPPING IDEAS
In the past years I’ve tried to be more and more sustainable in my gift wrapping ideas because I figured the less materials I use, then the less people have to throw away. I also used to love wrapping with curled ribbons, but now I avoid it because it’s usually a single-use plastic that doesn’t get reused or recycled.
TAPE-FREE BROWN PAPER BAG WRAPPING
Last year I started to wrap with reused brown paper bags and twine so that I was reusing what I had (no more expensive wrapping paper) and everything is biodegradable! Imagine the amount of tape we would be keeping from our landfills if we just realized we do not need to wrap with plastic tape that nobody recycles EVER?!? If you must use tape, let it be paper or washi tape.
WASTE FREE CHRISTMAS WRAPPING
This year I was lucky to have caught this great deal on my Facebook Group DeclutterMNL (open to Manila residents only). Someone was unloading something like 20 canvas pouches and I thought, that it is absolutely brilliant to use instead of wrapping my gifts. I could just stitch the name of the person I am giving the item to on the handles. It was truly a labor of love because my fingers were quite stiff after stitching the names!
This year we are giving my favorite Natural Hand Sanitizers and Gentle Castile Handsoaps from my favorite brand Esscentials Manila, that are using only natural Green Tea Essential Oil as fragrance instead of chemical fragrances which only add to the poor quality of our indoor air. So the size of the canvas pouches that I got is perfect. The recipients can then reuse the pouches for makeup or gadgets and wires, etc.
I am also giving some jewelry that I personally handmade. These I am placing with a simple ribbon inside handwritten personalized stationery. Recipients can opt to keep or have the cards recycled. The envelopes can always be reused for when giving money. And hopefully they also reuse the ribbons. They also fit perfectly in the canvas pouches.
SUSTAINABLE GIFT IDEA: PLANTS
The gift of plants is an amazing sustainable gift idea. The best thing about it is you don’t really need to wrap it! Just have pretty pots and put a nice card on it and you are good to go!
Another amazing deal I got on DeclutterMNL a few months back were these white and gray plant pots with trays. I always try to buy preloved or stuff on the second-hand market because these are things that people failed to use and instead of it going to waste, I am able to use them as gifts and doing it this way is really friendly to our budget.
We grow organic Oregano in our home and it grows really fast. Like literally it would be covering our floor to ceiling windows if we didn’t keep on cutting it. But when we cut it, we place the cut stems back in the soil and it creates new plants! So I thought that this would be an amazing gift too, for our plant-loving friends! The best thing about it, is that I don’t really need to wrap it! The pot is gorgeous as it is. So I decided to DIY the gift card so it was plant themed and then printed it with care instructions in the back. It’s not really perfect but I think because it is hand-made by me, then my friends will love it anyway!
You can see how the gift tags looks in the back in the second picture! These Oregano plants were planted 2 weeks ago and they are now rooted.
FREE CHRISTMAS CARD PRINTABLES: 10 DESIGNS
So I created these Christmas cards on Canva. They are existing designs that they have but I just chose the ones that I personally found beautiful and I had to edit it a bit so the sizing is not too small when you print it out and I added some TOs and FROMS or you can jus place the name of the person or family you are giving it to on top and your name or family name (i.e The Bautistas) in the bottom. I hope you like the designs! You can choose which fits the theme of your gifts, your wrappers or your taste best!
Because I was giving plants and natural products, I chose the last one of course.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Printable download
- White OR cream card stock (between 200 – 300gsm)
- Computer & printer
- PDF viewer (e.g. Adobe Reader)
- Hole punch & twine (optional) or washi tape to attach
- Download and then open the PDF in Preview or Adobe Reader.
- Click on FILE > PRINT or press COMMAND + P
- In the printer setup, make sure you choose the colored setting and that your print quality is set to ‘high.’
- Set ‘copies per page’ to 6 or 9 depending on the size you prefer.
- Using scissors or paper guillotine, cut around the cards. I personally prefer using a guillotine to ensure my lines are straight.
- Use washi or punch a hole in the tag and add twine. If it’s the latter, you can even write a special note on the back before attaching to your gift.
Ready to print your gift tags? Click on below to download the PDF!
PS: Be sure to tag me on social media if you upload any photos. I’d love to see your beautiful creations! @undiplomaticwife And don’t forget to pin this post!