The holiday season — no matter what holiday you celebrate — has a tendency to bring out our consumeristic tendencies, doesn’t it? If you’re like me, you love treating the people in your life to a little something special. It’s a dilemma for those of us who are trying to cut down on our waste. But check this out. Creative artisans are transforming items like books, sweaters, and vinyl record albums into lovely upcycled gifts, handmade and utilizing materials that have moved beyond their usefulness.
Here’s how to wrap your gifts without creating a lot of waste.
Upcycled gifts for holiday giving
While I haven’t pulled the plug completely on holiday gift giving—gifts are wonderful, after all—but I try to be smart about gift giving, with gifts that are homemade or functional or perfect for the recipient. None of this buying for the sake of putting a package under the tree. I’m adding upcycled gifts to my list of smart holiday giving. Maybe you will, too?
Related: Giving Experiences Instead of Gifts
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Yes, I’m well beyond my Nancy Drew years but I’m smitten with these bags from RetroGrandma. She’s got others, too, to suit a variety of literary tastes. Not a purse carrier? Choose a cover for your favorite electronic device or a hollow book safe. See more here.
These handmade notebooks are made with upcycled cardboard packaging from candy and snack boxes. See more here.
Mattie Mae Larsen is doing amazing work here on the island, transforming plastic ocean debris and other plastics into functional bags, totes, utensil holders, and even jewelry. See more here.
The wall clocks from Time Vault Treasures are made from vintage vinyl. The vinyl clock art features pop culture figures, geographical locations, and—appropriately—musical themes.
Related: Greener Gift Wrapping Ideas
Your gardening friends will appreciate these sweet garden markers made by EveOfJoy from upcycled spoons. Other options for upcycled gifts from this creator include key fobs, curtain tie backs, hooks, and customized utensils. See more here.
Related: Last Minute Handmade Gifts Ideas
Sweaters and fabric
Originally published in December 2014; this post has been updated.