What To Do With Unwanted Gifts

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The holidays came, saw, and conquered our -BER months, and now it’s January 2019. Santa has up and vanished and we’re left with a whisper of the past celebrations in our hearts and a mountain of gifts to sort through. But what do we do when we excitedly unwrap a gift only to find out that it’s something we don’t have use for?

We’ve all experienced it - that soul crushing guilt of receiving gifts from special people in our lives that we just know we’re never going to use; maybe it’s a blouse that hasn’t been your style for years, or a curling iron… but you’re bald. Okay, maybe not really, but you get what we’re talking about here: GIFTS THAT JUST AREN’T FOR YOU.

We’re here to let you know that there is a guilt-free way around these items that will be both beneficial to you AND the gift itself. Let’s start with the simplest one: Re-gifting.


Yes, it’s true. You can totally re-gift your gift! However, we recommend that you only do this if you already have a person in mind from the moment you opened your gift. Having a person in mind lets you know that someone else will benefit from this item far more than you ever will.

There is one thing you should keep in mind though: Make sure Loved One A (The Gifter) will not cross paths with Loved One B (The Re-Gifted). This could cause some drama, and no one likes drama.

And make sure that the gift is the style and taste of Loved One B, or else you are just passing on the problem to her.

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You can also ask a good friend, whom you know will understand and not tell on you. They might have use for it or it might match their style. Be honest and say that you got it as a gift from X, but it’s doesn’t suit you and it would be such a pity for it to go unused, with the caveat that it’s okay for her to say no, if it’s not her style or if she knows she would not use it either. It’s important to choose someone who you can trust and will not take it the wrong way.


When selling things online, it’s a general rule to sell your item for lower than its retail price. This helps ensure that the buyers are getting a good deal and a bang for their buck, and quickly gets it out of your hands and into the hands of another.

Depending on where you are located you can sell it on Craigslist, Ebay or Facebook.

Do it tastefully on Facebook: If you don’t want the gift giver to see it, simply change the setting of who can see your post. Choose the Friends except [insert name] option.

Or if you plan on selling it in one of the Facebook Buy and Sell Groups, make sure that the person who gave it to you, is not part of that group. There are so many Facebook Buy and Sell Groups in each city, these are hubs where people can find almost anything for a really good deal. Head on over there, and list your item, OR you can sell it directly from your Facebook Wall.

Things to keep in mind when selling online:

  • Take bright and clear photos of the item from all angles

  • Take note of any possible flaws, sizes, and other details

  • Add the original retail price and your reason for selling

Transparency with your buyer is key to an honest selling experience. Highly recommended!

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Kick off your years set of good deeds by donating the item to people or families who need them more than you do. There are so many out there who need what we don’t, and so heading over to your nearest donation box is one of the best ways to give away an unwanted gift. Not to mention the fact that it’s sure to leave you a sense of happy satisfaction once you drive away.

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When it comes to figuring out what to do with an unwanted gift, a change of mindset is exactly what you need. The fact of the matter is: Yes, the gift was given to you, but what good can it do if for the rest of it’s life if it’s doomed to sit on a shelf in your closet gathering dust and mold? Not to mention that constantly trying to maintain an unused gift with silicon gel packets and dehumidifier tubs will attract nothing but pests, cockroaches, and moths, only to make your life worse.

Its life-purpose will never be fulfilled and it’ll only be left to waste away into nothing. It’s not the best way to appreciate a gift that was given to you. By re-gifting, selling, or donating it, you will be able to make someone else happy and whatever you get in return, be it money, or a sense of satisfaction, is far more beneficial to you, than an item that will never serve you.

So, open your closet and let your gift see the light of day again. Give it to someone who will actually benefit from it. After all, clearing out useless items is what decluttering is all about, right?

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The Thoughtful Bow

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Have you ever tried to open a present and the bow was tied so tightly that you gave up and just snipped it off with scissors? The result are ribbon scraps that you have no use for, get thrown away and end up in the landfill.

Yes you can also donate these ribbon scraps for recycling here, but it’s even better if you can reuse the ribbon for future gifts or DIY projects. If only you didn’t have to cut it right?

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What if I told you that there is a way to tie a bow so that when the recipient of your gift opens it, it just falls open gracefully and with no effort at all.

The best part is that these ribbons can be reused by the recipient because they weren’t cut off. Here’s a video tutorial on how to wrap your gift using The Thoughtful Bow:

Here is how it’s done with a bigger wider ribbon:

With Christmas is fast approaching, have you finished wrapping your gifts yet? I hope you enjoyed this short tutorial on how to make gift wrapping a little more thoughtful!

Remember when you reuse ribbons, you aren’t only saving money, but you are also saving them from the landfill.

More sustainable gift wrapping tips below

How to Wrap a Gift With Only 3 Pieces of Tape

Tape FREE Gift Wrapping With Rused Brown Paperbags

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White Christmas in the Tropics



After seeing an insanely gorgeous white and pastel Christmas Tree on Instagram two years ago, I had an AHA moment, thinking “Christmas Trees don’t have to be green. I can have a White Christmas Tree!” I then checked Lazada (the Philippine’s local version of Amazon) for one and found a 5 foot small tree. It’s small, and I would even say, “sparse” if not decorated properly, but it totally works for my all-white space.

TIP: When buying online, make sure to have a measuring stick or tape and visually check how big an item is. Lazada is not as transparent as Amazon when it comes to size and many buyers are often confused when they receive an item that is much smaller than what they imagine based on the photos.

See the DMNL Team putting up the tree and decorations!


TIP: If you have a a toddler (whose self-control part of the brain is not yet fully formed) I recommend having the breakable glass ornaments in the higher parts of the tree. I have the metal and wooden ornaments in the bottom.

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Because the tree was quite spares with hallow interiors (no leaves!), it was perfect for my heavy glass and Philippine-made mother-of-pearl balls. We hung them inside the hallow tree because

  1. The thicker metal branches inside could carry the heavier balls

  2. The fragile and expensive balls are protected from my son

  3. It gives depth and makes the tree look more magical with hidden treasures inside

Doesn’t it look magical peeking inside?

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Small golden Christmas decor with some fairy lights make a big impact on my white shelves. I got my small Christmas Carousel here, but my friend go hers from Kikki K a few years ago. It’s called a KerzenKarussell in German, and it spins around when you put a tealight candle underneath. You can also order online here or here.




Germany is home to the finest Nutcrackers on earth and though you will find a lot of cheap China-made ones everywhere for only about $10, the real handmade ones from Germany are a world apart. Each detail is lovingly handcrafted. They are symbols of good luck, according to German tradition, frightening away evil spirits. Learn more about Nutcrackers.

I visited many Christmas Markets in Germany before I found a gold and white one by Christian Ulbricht. It was a splurge, but it really makes me happy every single time I take it out for Christmas and every time I see it. I also know that it is something that can be passed down for generations and it goes with my “few but better” ethos. So when I saw this Nutcracker in Dresden (Founded in 1434, it is one of Germany's oldest documented Christmas markets), I knew it was for me. And a great keepsake for visiting such a historical Christmas Market.


Creating vignettes throughout our home, makes each corner interesting to look at. I remember the time that we could only afford a bucket of these tiny little stars, gifts and pinecones, and now we just use them to sprinkle some Christmas cheer on to our existing Scandi shelves.

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Our snowglobes also come out during Christmas time, and believe me it took several years before I found a gold and white snowglobe, but these days with Amazon and online shopping, there are so many more options! Snow globes aren’t exclusive to Chrismtas but finding ones that we can proudly display during this season adds to the Christmas Magic. And seeing the twinkle in our son’s eyes when he looks at it, is priceless!

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Christmas balls don’t exclusively have to be hung on the tree. Here we Christmas balls from Crate and Barrel to add a snowy element to our vignettes. We used hooks that don’t cause any surface damage to hang it in the shelves. The hooks can then be easily be removed after Christmas or we can use them to hang something else.

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When choosing Christmas Ornaments, think of a theme that you love. You can use Pinterest to create an inspiration board, like this. Decide on a color theme that you will love for a while - not based on trends, but truly your own personal taste or style - because following trends is expensive and not really part of the MinimaLuxe lifestyle that encourages sustainable, well-made investments.

I’ve always loved gold, as you can see from how our decor has changed over the years from our little starter tree in Jakarta, to Berlin and then Manila. So I’ve stuck to it. Variety is over-rated.

  1. Our first Christmas as a married couple in our first home, Jakarta

  2. Another Gold Christmas in Jakarta

  3. Gold Christmas Decor in Our Berlin Apartment


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Nothing says welcome, than well-executed entryway decor. I personally designed my modular teakwood furniture, so that it would look built in wherever we move. It’s really the best decision ever, because we look settled, no matter where we go. See our entryway in Jakarta and Germany look.

We aren’t allowed to put any nails or hooks in our condo exterior, but since we are using damage free hooks, I felt it was okay to hang a mini glittery wreath to finish of this vignette. Love the Philippine-made sinamay tree and balls. Just add a little tinsel and some led lights inside the balls and it’s totally festive!

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The gold lamps and tealight holder house are everyday decor, so we spruced it up with a Christmas lantern from S&R last year. And again, a little tinsel goes a long way.

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I have a funny story about these beautiful lights that adorn our door interiors every year. Shopping in Germany wasn’t as simple as it seems, because everything is in a foreign language. Add that with the crowds, then it can be quite a challenge, despite our trusty Google Translate app.

Because our Christmas Tree in Jakarta was tiny, we needed more lights for our 6 foot Nordic Fir Tree in Berlin. We needed a much bigger tree because our AltBau (100 year old apartments) had really high 5foot ceilings. So my husband went off into the cold winter day with the assignment to buy a longer string of lights. After leaving BauHaus disappointed (many Germans still use real candles to light up their tree) he went to Karstad and KaDeWe, more luxurious department stores in Ku’damm and decided to splurge on a box of Christmas Lights with 300 LED bulbs. He did not think to test or check them before he paid, and arrived home proudly announcing he found a string with 300 lights and that must be enough to cover the rest of the tree!

The one thing he forgot to ask is how long the string was, because it was super short, and all the bulbs were concentrated on a few feet. Poor guy spent 4 hours going back and fourth to different stores and he was super tired and hungry by the time he got home and realized it. But we totally made it work. You an see the picture of our first real Christmas Tree here.

Life abroad is never as easy as it looks through the lens of Instagram or Pinterest, and simple chores like this can take many more hours just because of the language and culture barrier. placed the clustered lights on the trunk on top to make up for it being a bit bare.


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I used to place Christmas decor on our table top, only to realize that it really wasn’t my style. I like to have a clean table, with maybe a few low tea light candle holders, because we eat family style with all the food in the middle. I find it tedious to remove the decor each time we eat. So instead of decor, I make our table more festive by changing up the cutlery and using some servingware that has some gold in it. Will take a picture and update this post tomorrow.

The gold cutlery was a Christmas gift from my husband on our last Christmas in Berlin. I kept on eyeing the gold set in my favorite Scandinavian shop in our neighborhood. So he surprised me with it for Christmas. I’m really happy that he did because it changes the look of our table during the holidays, and it’s something that we can keep and use for years to come.


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A Christmas home for Filipinos is never complete without a belen. I sold my first belen before leaving Germany, because I decided to invest in a toy belen that my son would be able to play with for years to come. I thought long and hard because they were not cheap - the whole set cost me about 100 Euros but I’m glad I did. It’s an amazing keepsake of Germany.

These handmade wooden toys of the Nativity Scene from Ostheimer. They have been making the highest quality toys for children, entirely made by hand, for decades. From the wood to the paints, I can be sure that everything is safe for my child to play with, without any toxic finishes or wood that has been treated by pesticides.

It was a splurge no doubt, but it brings so much joy to our family every year and our son learns about the baby Jesus - the entire reason for all the Chrismtas festivities - through imaginative play.

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TIP: The secret to a happy toddler is to have his own Christmas section on our shelves. This way he doesn’t try to climb to get the decor on the higher shelves, and he feels totally involved with his own mini Nutcracker and a little pail to bring around his belen. I bought a cheaper Nutcracker on Amazon because he was touching the German nutcracker so much that the beard was turning dark. LOL!

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We may not have snow, and the sun may beat down like it’s summer, but we can still have a White Christmas in the tropics! Hoping that this post inspires you to have a more MinimaLUXE #CrapFreeChristmas! Happy Holidays everyone!

* I am an Amazon affiliate, but all opinions are my own

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Easy Last Minute Minimaluxe Gifts

It’s Christmas time, that time of the year when you see your closest friends and catch up with people you haven’t seen in ages. It’s also known to be one of the most stressful times of the year - from surviving holiday traffic aka “carmaggedon”, to braving packed malls and supermarkets, and of course indulging relatives you don’t get along with. It’s doubly stressful for procrastinators like me, who put off holiday shopping until the last few days - or worst yet, completely forget people that should be on my gift list and then end up scrambling to find something a day or even hours before seeing them.

In the spirit of the 12 Days of Christmas, here are twelve mindful tips for last minute gift giving. And yes, I’m fully aware it’s difficult to be minimaluxe and mindful as Christmas bears down on you!

I’ve liberally borrowed some concepts from one of my son’s favorite book series: Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt, specifically “Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas.”

One Week to Go - Panic Level: Green

Symptoms may include sweatiness, headache, and lightheadedness

At the one week mark, creeping panic may begin to rear its ugly head. But fear not, modern technology is here to the rescue.

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1. Do your Naughty and Nice list. Good Christmas planners like my wife probably completed this task in August and they’ve wrapped everything up by the end of November at the latest. But for us procrastinators, it’s time to quickly type your Christmas presents list on Numbers, Excel or Google Spreadsheets..

Jot down any ideas that immediately pop into your head about each person i.e. for bookworms: bestsellers, for diehard partygoers: booze, or for stressed out types: a spa gift certificate.

2. Avoid the crowds and open your favorite shopping app or website. We love Amazon Prime’s free 2 day shipping. In the United States, Amazon now has same day shipping. There are other online stores that guarantee delivery before Christmas, but you may just pay a slightly higher fee. And the best part is some stores will gift wrap and deliver the presents directly to your recipients!

In the Philippines, e-commerce might not be as established as Amazon, but there are many same day delivery services like Lalamove and Transportify, which you can ask the vendor about to be sure items are delivered ASAP.

Last year we did last minute gifts for the staff of our condominium building by ordering gift baskets on Honestbee which came already wrapped. Easy peasy.

3. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Re-gifting has a negative connotation - the classic example being fruit cake, which they say in the Philippines is the gift that keeps on giving. The fact is that everyone has been gifted something that doesn’t suit their taste or lifestyle.

I’d like to propose a change in mindset here: What was given to you is a gift, and whether that item is useful to you as it is, turned into cash or re-gifted is up to you. Think of re-gifting as giving an unused gift a new lease on life, instead of languishing in your cupboard. Remember when something is stored for too long, it falls apart and ends up in the landfill, so it’s better to find a new owner immediately who will use and love it.

The unused gift might not be your style, but can perfectly suit a loved one. After all taste is relative. Just make sure that the recycled gift won’t be seen by the original sender!

4. If you’re really stumped and don’t know what to give, ask your intended recipient for help. This is a recurring problem faced by my dad when he’s looking for a gift for my mom, but it could also apply to friends who seem to have everything, or are decluttering. If you let the person know you’re getting stressed about their gift, it shows that you find them important so they’re likely to be helpful in giving some tips or at least share their wishlist with you.

The Weekend Before Christmas - Panic Level Orange

Symptoms may include a racing heart, feeling weak, and/or dizziness

5. It’s time to brave the crowds - but simplify your purchases. It’s crunch time. You don’t have enough time to order online, but don’t aimlessly wander around malls, instead go to stores which are familiar so you are in and out quickly:

  • Specialty Bookstores like Fully Booked have a lot of gift ideas

  • If you want to splurge then plan a trip to the jewelry store, or Apple Store

Wake up early and try to get to the mall before the lunch and post-lunch crowds descend.

6. Go for quality over size or quantity. Nice gifts don’t have to be branded or expensive, but neither should they be the cheapest available “made in China” option, that will soon go to the landfill after one use. Something small but well-made is better than big junk. Personally, I would appreciate the smallest well-made and -wrapped chocolate praline than useless, cheap clutter.

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The objective is to get a gift that will be valued, used and consumed. My favorite stores that have a cross-section of price points include Uniqlo, H&M, Muji, Kultura, and Fully Booked.

7. Go Local. You can also try to go local - from houseware, jewelry, stationery, to food - they all tell a unique story and help support local communities. For example, we love getting baby products and even coffee from HumanHeartNature, an affordable brand in most retailers which uses 100% natural materials and employs people from underprivileged communities. You can find them in Echo Store with many other sustainable gift options. Natural baskets make for great boxes that are reusable. Tie a bow around it and it’s ready for gifting.

Check out Christmas bazaars and Markets in your area for a range of local brands in one convenient location.

8. Since time is of the essence, buy multiples of the same item. At this stage, you can’t be too picky especially if you have to get a lot of gifts. Go to your favorite stores and identify gifts (see above) that you think an average man, woman or child would find appealing and buy multiples. Give a family gift instead of individual gifts to each person.

You can also visit a garden store, get multiple plants, tie a bow and pop on a card. Even the tiniest plant or succulent is a gift of happiness and health that can change the mood of anyone’s space.

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9. Go, Go for Food. I love the gift of food because this doesn’t add to the recipient’s clutter and is always useful in the season of entertaining. Food can range from food baskets from delicatessens or a small box of sweets, to a bottle of wine. Be sure to note properly, how it must be stored so they don’t end up with ants under the tree.

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If you don’t have time to go yourself, then a shopping concierge service like Honestbee is perfect because you have many stores to choose from and they can deliver within a few hours.

A Couple of Hours Before Your Party - Panic Level Red

Symptoms may include breathing difficulties, loss of vision, and chest pains

10. Give a digital subscription. With only hours left, you can back to where we started and visit some popular websites and apps. You can give “digital” gifts, from premium subscriptions to Spotify or the New York Times, to Audible books. This gifting can be done in a few minutes - and it can prove to be an easy match for a lot of people, who are either book worms, audiophiles, or couch potatoes.

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11. The Flower Shop and Liquor Store. This sort of goes back to an earlier tip. But if you’re pressed for time, flowers, a box of chocolate truffles, or a bottle of quality wine are decent gifts for any occasion.

12. Give Cash. This can strike a cultural nerve in places like the United States but in Asia, giving cash is well received, especially for kids, because of the practice of giving Ampao. This article makes a good case for giving cash instead of a gift card. Give equal the amount that you’re willing to give in gift card form. Place it in a nice envelope with a handwritten note.

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If all else fails…

It might be worthwhile to think about “playing dead” in Scaredy Squirrel’s terms. Skip that office or school party and simplify your social engagements.

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Tape-free Gift Wrapping with Brown Paperbags



Last Christmas I started reusing brown paperbags and even shopping bags for gift wrapping, because I realized that the holiday season creates a lot of waste, and I would love to be part of a movement that I reduces the waste we create during Christmas.

How can I wrap in a more sustainable, less wasteful manner?

  1. By gift wrapping in ways that reuse materials I already have in my home, so I don’t have to buy more. Hello upcycled brown paperbags and shopping bags!

  2. Avoid using staplers. They are tiny, but don’t get recycled and reused.

  3. By wrapping in such a way that enables the recipients of the gift to reuse all the materials:

    • #TapeFreeGiftwrapping - so papers don’t get torn when opening, and can be reused as packaging for pouches that I send in the future

    • By using the #ThoughtfulBow when wrapping so that the string doesn’t get knotted and need to be cut up. This way recipients can also reuse the string!

  4. And if I really must use tape, then I have this #3TapeGiftwrapping method, to limit the amount of plastic tape used because tape is not recyclable. Of course whenever possible I still encourage using paper tape or washi tape for wrapping.

  5. Remind recipients that they can reuse the paper for packing things in the future.

I will do separate posts on the The Thoughtful Bow and the 3-Tape Giftwrapping Method, but today I’d like to show you a super simple way to reuse brown paperbags and wrap TAPE-FREE!



  1. Brown paper bag with base that is about as large as what you are wrapping

  2. Any ribbon or string that you already have at home. You can reuse old ribbons, or in my case I still have Twine that I’m finishing off.

  3. Scissors

  4. Gift Card or, in this case I am using extra flaglets from this diaper cake I made for a friend a while ago.

  5. And your gift of course


STEP 1: Place the gift flat in the very bottom of the bag


STEP 2: Follow the old folds of the bag to flatten the portion above the gift.


STEP 3: Roll the paper around the gift (this protects if if you plan to send via courier) and fold in the ends, to have a clean edge.


STEP 4: Flip to the clean side, and then cut a piece of string/ribbon so it’s enough to tie off with a bow.


STEP 5: String the gift card or flaglet. Be sure to write a heartfelt message first.


STEP 6: Finish off with a bow!


This year is really really tight for us, because we are still have to paying off loans for my hubby’s cancer operation. But in my mind, even the simplest of gifts, if mindfully chosen (these are my favorite essential oil-based, super gentle hand soaps from here), then lovingly and sustainably wrapped, will surely be appreciated by loved ones.

I like to send my gifts via courier in November, so that the gifts are safely under my loved ones trees. This way I don’t have to bring a lot of things during our December meet up. This way of wrapping, helps give it a little bit of cushion, to protect the package.



Another way to wrap tape free is by using a puncher and ribbon/bows to close your gift.


1. Brown paper bag Take out bag with sticker removed carefully
2. Twill From Pottery barn, too pretty not to reuse
3. Puncher
4. Gift tag I love fancy all-occasion tags
5. Pre-made bow
6. Paper Doily You can do without, if you have a big fat bow

Press > to see the next steps


  • Shop all year round, to take adavantage of good deals, and finish gift-wrapping by September or October.

  • Wrap the gifts in a away that they can easily be stacked and stored in a box after they are all wrapped, so they don’t get dusty.

  • Ship out gifts by November so that you can go to parties without bringing all your gifts. This prevents you from forgetting a gift, and it keeps your hands free for your baby/toddler or to help hubby get around.

  • Always remember, there is NO NEED TO OVERWRAP presents. A pretty bow and handwritten note goes a long way.

  • Upcycle or reuse what you already have. I haven’t bought wrappers for years and can barely finish whatever I have left over from Berlin, just because of my love for reused/upcycled wrapping. It has saved me so much money!


It's not how perfectly the gift is wrapped that counts, so don't fret about imperfections. the recipients wont even notice them. Instead enjoy the process of creating and styling. The receiver will feel the time and care you spent wrapping the gift, that you so carefully chose. 


I hope you liked our Three Tape Gift-wrapping Method, and please stay tuned for another sustainable gift-wrapping posts:

  • How To Do The Thoughtful Bow

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3 Tape Gift-wrapping



If you really must use tape with your gift wrapping, then I recommend using the minimum amount possible, which is my experience is THREE! I recommend using paper or washi tape over plastic tape, because washi is quite cool, because it’s easily removable without damaging the paper (for easy reuse), unlike plastic tape that totally destroys the paper. I even reuse the washi tape myself.

I personally like to reuse wrapping paper to wrap things that I send via mail. When done right, paper is much better at protecting our things than bubble wrap. It is what movers use to wrap my crystal glasses with each move. So if it’s good enough for professionals, then it’s good enough for me. Besides bubble wrap is not recyclable, so I’m happy that paper does the job better.

STEP 1: After cutting paper to size, fold once around your gift and tape. Be sure to create crisp folds, so the paper is snug around the gift.


STEP 2.: Fold down the top and sides with crisp fold, then fold up and put tape number 2.


STEP 3: Repeat the process in the other side.


The result is a gift wrapped with only 3 pieces of tape!


STEP 4: Flip over the to clean side and write a sweet Christmas greeting directly on the gift, or use do The Thoughtful Bow, to make it extra festive.


Stay tuned for more sustainable gift-wrapping pposts that will help you save money, while gift-wrapping TAPE FREE and allowing your gift recipients to reuse all the wrapping materials of your gifts:

  • Gift-wrapping with Reused Brown Paperbags

  • How to Do The Thoughtful Bow

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Christmas Gifts People Will Surely Keep and Love


We all know the saying that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but sometimes it can also be the most stressful. You know what I’m talking about– gift giving.

Let’s admit it, we all love giving and receiving gifts. The idea of unwrapping brightly adorned presents sparks the possibility of fulfilling our desires. Giving can be equally rewarding– with a pleasing anticipation of connection and acknowledged love from the receiver.

Choosing the right gift can be one of the most challenging things to do. There are so many factors to consider. From your limited budget to their personal preference, everything needs serious consideration. Coming up with creative gift ideas is somewhat an art form and just like with any other type of art, some of us aren’t good at it.

We dread receiving useless gifts, so why not ensure that the people we give gifts to won’t feel the same? If you still have no idea what gifts to give, take a deep breath and relax as we are here to spill some of our tips.

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1. A Letter

There’s something about the times we live in today that makes giving or receiving a letter something of a rarity. So go ahead and pour your heart out in words, pick a good post stamp, and send it their way.  You can send this via email or better yet, use a handmade stationary and have it mailed through the post office. Either way, it’s still gonna be huge surprise because almost no one ever does it anymore.

2. Old Books

These are the titles you’ve read and reread, the ones you impulsively bought and said will read but never actually did. For whatever reason, they’re collecting dust in your bookshelf and you just know for sure that they’re better off in someone else’s care. To make it extra special, write a personal inscription inside. (Unless of course you don’t believe in writing on books. Respect.)


3. A Cooked Meal or Baked Sweets

Invite your friend to dinner at your place. Cook up something simple yet hearty or whip something up in the oven. Everyone’s café favorites, basically. Have some drinks and let the night pass in between thoughtful conversations and impossible laughs. If you’re not much of a chef then making simple, packed lunch or treats with even just a short note is enough.

4. A Personalized Playlist

For every generation, the personalized playlist has always been a no-fail gift to give. It has taken form in tapes, CDs, and now in good old Spotify. You could customize it any way you’d like. Put in that person’s favorite songs, songs that remind you of them, or songs that you know they’d thank you for introducing. Essentially, a playlist is like a warm hug one can keep going back to, so don’t ever hesitate to give one.  


5. Time

The Christmas season is easily the busiest out of the whole year, with everyone rushing to go places. So just the act of making time and showing up for the people you love is more than enough to show them just how much you value them. Have a meal together to catch up and show you care.


You choose a gift for someone. You give that gift to them. They look in your eyes and say “thank you.” It’s a moment of love or friendship that has been banked, a bond that has been deepened.

These tips are certainly not the only ways to rethink your gifting ideas. The only real limit to our gift giving is the lack of imagination. After all, most of us celebrate the holidays as a way to share our love with each other and remember the good in our lives.


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