gifts

My Xmas Gifts Were (Mostly) Made in Chicago

I haven’t been to the mall for any of my Christmas shopping (I did purchase a few things on Amazon though, not going to lie).

Actually, most of it got done at the Chicago Plumbers Hall…

…which is where the Made in Chicago Market is held.

made in chicago market2

Everything there was handmade in Chicago, so it made picking out gifts super easy because I knew where they were coming from. They were not shipped over from China. They were painstakingly made by hand by artisans in my own city.

Made in chicago market1

After an initial lap, I started to formulate gift ideas in my head. Of course, I cannot discuss any of my purchases here because some of my most dedicated readers are the recipients!

This season, not only did I find unique items, but my purchases helped an individual maybe make ends meet, or provided the capital for improvements to their business.

It is a win-win situation.

If you missed the Made in Chicago market, there are still plenty of Chicago holiday markets running from now until Christmas. Which ones will you go to?

Advertisements

No Need for Pretty Wrapping Paper

You won’t find rolls of pretty wrapping paper in this house.

Wrapping paper and gift wrap for me include a pile of the Trib’s comics section.

the funnies

And a bag full of gift bags and tissue paper that was previously given to me.

bag of tissue paper

If I am handing you a present in a gift bag,  there is a 100% chance that it was given to me by someone else.

It is just silly to pay for something that is going to get ripped up and thrown out! Thus why I ranted about it last Christmas too.

gifting2

I get it. That cohesive look of presents wrapped in a glossy wrapping is Pinterest worthy.

But what I do not get is why anyone would throw out a perfectly good gift bag. They can be used infinitely until they rip!

I keep every single one I receive. And every one will be used again. And hopefully again (I am looking at you people I am giving gifts to! Do your duty!).

Registering for Things that Will Last

Apparently, the time has come for us to register for wedding gifts.

At first, I thought there was nothing that we really, truly, needed. Maybe some new towels and sheets. But the more I looked at it, the more I realized this was a time in our lives to upgrade to high-quality items that could legitimately last forever.

We have recently started figuring out where and what we want to register for. As we walked between three different options, K said: “I want the items on this registry to last the rest of our lives.”

And that has basically become the theme of our registries. We are looking for tools that are made from stainless steel and glass, not cheap plastic.

 

william sonoma

image: William Sonoma

 

For instance, K really wants a mandolin to slice vegetables nice and thin. As I have looked about for them, the only ones I can find are mostly made of plastic. I was shocked because the mandolin my mom has is entirely made of metal and that is what I thought all mandolins were made of.

Alternative facts. Fake news.

Just like my grandma’s, we want our pots and pans to able to be used by our grandchildren 65 years later.

copper pans

We use my grandmother’s copper bottomed pots that she received for her own wedding shower in 1955.

No matter what the stores tell us we need to register for, we are only going to register for items we are going to use in the long run. We don’t need fine china. We are not going to register for a fondue set because it’s on a list somewhere.

I have made it a habit to poll all my married friends and family on what they use the most and the least from their wedding registry.  Hopefully, down the road, we will be able to say we use absolutely everything.

 

 

The Wrapping Paper Aftermath

When you are trying to reduce your waste and consumption, it is important to remember that everyone is not always going to be on the same page as you.

For example, I received Bee’s Wrap as an alternative to plastic wrap and my older brother just couldn’t understand why I would want that, let alone ask for it for Christmas.

So after all the presents have been opened, I always take it upon myself to make sure each piece of wrapping ends up in the proper place and not just all into the landfill.

wrapping1

First, I sort out all that can be reused for another holiday season. That includes:

  • tissue paper
  • bows
  • ribbon
  • gift bags
  • gift boxes

As I sat there Christmas morning folding up tissue paper, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my grandmother who used to iron wrapping paper to use it again. Ripped up tissue paper can serve a purpose too. I plan on using that to wrap up my ornaments and fragile Christmas decorations when I pack them away.

wrapping2

Second, I divided up all the packaging that could be recycled. Since fancy wrapping paper usually cannot be recycled, only a small portion of paper wrapping was able to go into the blue bin. Foil and glitter wrapping paper, on the other hand, cannot.

As for that Amazon box, I may use it to send some stuff to Goodwill through the Give Back Box program.

Everything else, unfortunately, had to be thrown away. 😦

 

 

How To: Gracious Gifting

My Christmas gifts are all finished, and they have been for awhile. If you pay attention to the people you are giving to throughout the year, it is fairly easy to come up with something. For example, I keep a note in my phone with gift ideas for my friends and family.

gifting1

Giving and getting experiences is by far the best type of gift. Even if that isn’t an option, I want to be able to give something that truly has meaning to the receiver, is a need, and stimulates the local economy at the same time. Sorry, department store Christmas commercials, I will not be buying people random sweaters for the holidays.

Here is what you can do to be a conscious gifter:

Go Local

Help a small, local business out and get your gifts from them. To avoid a physical gift, gift cards to a favorite restaurant are always a good option.

Go High Quality

Make your purchase worth it. Going handmade and local usually means it’s going to be of higher quality compared to store brand. Go for brands that have lifetime satisfaction guarantees like LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, or anything on Buy Me Once.

Make It

The most memorable gifts I have ever given have been ones I have made with my own hands. One Christmas I spent countless hours knitting my dad a cable knit scarf and he wears it ALL THE TIME.

Have Someone Else Make It

Sometimes the thing we want to give others is beyond our own ability. If so, employ a local artist or someone from Etsy to help get your message across. I have sent get well cookies to sick friends and personalized flower vases for newly married couples.

Wrap It (Or Don’t Wrap it)

Wrapping paper is a huge waste. I refuse to buy it ever again, especially when we are daily subscribers to the Chicago Tribune. That provides plenty of newspaper to be used for wrapping. Additionally, I save every gift bag and bow I receive so I can pull those out if necessary.

gifting2