I hope you’re all getting into the Christmas spirit – I certainly enjoy seeing festively decorated homes, receiving Christmas cards and buying gifts. Since it is the season of giving, I thought I’d generously share some of my favorite holiday ideas and finds.
DIY Magnetic Advent Calendar
I love this idea for a clean, simple magnetic advent calendar. These tiny pots can conveniently adorn your fridge and you won’t have to fuss with nailing anything to your walls. Fill with candy or any other little knick-knacks, also easy to store and reuse for next year.
DIY Snow Globes
Snow globes are typically cheap and tacky, but these clean, minimalist ones are much cuter. Plus the different sizes and shapes of the jars adds height and dimension. If you want to be really creative, build a Lego landscape or use miniature action figurines. Who says snow globes have to be holiday themed? (Unoriginal people)
This is one of my favorite inexpensive Christmas decor ideas. The results are sleek and sophisticated and even the laziest and most creatively-challenged people could successfully pull off this project. I’d recommend only using round, spherical ornaments, so they stack nicely but I recommend experimenting with the texture, color and the shape of your glassware.
Printable Gift Wrap
I love all of the iconic and poppy designs from Minieco.co.uk. Plus, these are printable designs so you will never run out (theoretically)! You can embellish with high contrast gift tags and ribbons or print on neon or colored paper. A lot of these designs could certainly be used for other gift-giving occasions as well.
Alternative wrapping paper
I love the idea of using alternative materials for wrapping your gifts; not only is this sustainable, it’s creative and unique. With smartphones and the Internet, I doubt anyone uses antiquated maps or atlases anymore. If you want to be extra thoughtful, use a map of a meaningful location such as the honeymoon destination for a wedding couple or the hometown of one of your friends. Other alternative papers include pages from books, music or old calendars.
Brown paper is also one of my favorite wrapping materials; whether you buy a roll or reuse one of your paper grocery bags (like the Trader Joe’s example above), brown paper looks simple and classic and you can use for any gift giving occasion. You also have a huge range of accessories to decorate with! You could stamp patterns, write or directly on the packages or dress up with ribbon or yarn.
I love receiving Christmas cards; it’s a friendly reminder that your relatives and peers are thinking about you during this busy time. I’m personally not a big fan of the Walgreen’s family photo glossy prints and opt for simplified and minimalist designs.
I love wrapping gifts; it’s one of my favorite holiday activities. For whatever reason, I find the whole process oddly soothing and therapeutic. Crowded shopping malls, parking lots and screaming children tend to overwhelm me during the holidays, so coming home, turning on a movie and pouring a glass of wine while meticulously packaging and decorating my purchases is my way of unwinding and exercising the right side of my brain. I realize my love of gift wrapping is terribly inconsequential considering my beautiful creations will ultimately be destroyed and disposed of, but I don’t seem to mind.
Today, i devised a DIY holiday project that’s easy, versatile and relatively cheap. Plus, your newfound creative prowess will impress your gift recipients. Look below for instructions on how to make some handy dandy gift tags:
STEP 1: GATHER SUPPLIES!
For this particular project, you will need:
- Alphabet stamps
- Holiday stamps
- Ink pads in pigments of your choice
- White or manila card stock
- A hole-punch
- Decorative ribbon
- Wine (optional)
Tip: You can buy most of this stuff at your local craft store. These holiday stamps often come in packs of 4 or 5, so you don’t need to buy individual images unless you want to; these stores also have sales on seasonal stuff all time. Also, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby always have coupons, and not shitty “spend $75 and save 10% coupons“, but awesome “take 50-60% off of any item in the store” coupons, so look up their weekly ads online and print them. Michael’s even accepts coupons you download on your smartphone. If you want to save a few bucks, you can always get the card stock and ribbon from Walmart, Target or an office supply store. If you want to be really stingy, steal the hole-punch from your office like I did…
STEP 2: STAMP!
Neatly stamp your card stock. You can be as minimalist or as enthusiastic as you please, but keep whatever wrapping paper you plan on using in mind because the gift tags should match and compliment the end product. Don’t worry if your letters aren’t perfectly aligned. I think the words look cuter and more whimsical when they’re a little crooked anyway.
Tip: Make sure you thoroughly clean the stamp rubber if you plan on changing ink colors to avoid ruining your ink pads. I use a wet paper towel and blot with a dry one. Then I stamp out any remaining ink on a scrap piece of paper to ensure it’s fresh and clean for the next use.
STEP 3: AFFIX TO YOUR PRESENTS!
Crop and finish your gift tags as you see fit. I like to accessorize with simple accent ribbons.
The best part about crafting is the versatility you get from using the same materials. You can make a variety of other holiday-themed paper products based on your own family’s respective traditions. Some ideas include:
- Christmas cards
- Wish lists or Letters to Santa
- Holiday menus
- Holiday party invitations
- Christmas dinner place cards
Here are some of my other creations:
Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday, but it’s definitely the most fun. Halloween is youthful, funny and creative and even when I don’t dress up or celebrate, I still enjoy seeing kids, animals and grown adults in costume – however cute, scary or offensive they may be. Fortunately, I did celebrate over the past few days and here’s a quick recap of my activity:
I miss a lot of things about college – I miss the freedom, I miss the meal plans, I miss having ample amounts of free time and I really, really miss house parties. House parties are a dying breed in my social life, presumably because a lot of my friends have moved to different cities or possibly because we’re gainfully employed young adults who can afford to go to bars rather than drink watered down kegs of Keystone Light via the iconic red Solo cup. Whatever the reason, I just don’t go to house parties very often – and I genuinely miss them. There’s a certain charm about house parties – the ridiculous drinking games, the playlists that can be changed on a whim, and of course, the watered down kegs of Keystone Light. I had the fortune of going to two this past weekend.
On Friday, local band Whitman performed at an illustrious house party that doubled as a shoot for one of their upcoming music videos. Not only did I pound Miller High Lifes (Lives?) and play Tetris on Nintendo, I was a valuable music video extra! Can you spot me? Hint: I’m the tallest person in the room.
On Saturday, I rolled with a group of Super Mario characters to yet another house party. This party highly encouraged costumes, so obviously, I went for the cheap, comfortable and easy solution of being Tim Lincecum, relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. Comfortable and clever as my costume was, being Tim Lincecum was a little frustrating because most people confused me with your average Giants fan, which I am not. I am, however, an individual who strikingly resembles Tim Lincecum – hair and everything. Retrospectively, I understand their misunderstanding and most of my fellow partiers really dug my costume after they realized I wasn’t your average Giants fan and was, in fact, Tim Lincecum. I avoided future mix-ups by introducing myself as Tim Lincecum right off the bat and that really helped.
On Sunday, I understandably took it easy considering my consecutive nights of house parties on Friday and Saturday. I lived on the couch watching football and cringing at Tony Romo’s remarkable consistency when it comes to throwing interceptions and disappointing his loyal fans. Sunday night, my friends and I decided to have a laidback, yet festive evening of carving pumpkins, brewing apple cider spiked with whiskey and watching AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
I’ve never carved a pumpkin before. This is a racist statement, but I think it’s a white people activity. My parents would never condone the idea of buying pumpkins, making a mess in the living room and playing with knives for the sake of home decor. Though I was an apprehensive rookie pumpkin carver, I got surprisingly into my creation. My friends opted for Batman mouth and Brian Wilson (which provided a great opportunity to use the SF Giants hat that I’ll never wear again). My Radiohead pumpkin is far from perfect, but I’d say it’s pretty impressive for a first attempt.
LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL
I remember buying these tickets the day they went on sale about 6 months ago. I’ve been wanting to see Justice for years and they rarely tour in the States, so imagine the anticipation and excitement I felt yesterday leading up to the show. These guys were incredible, it was an hour and a half of booming beats and schizophrenic lights. They kicked off their set with hits, Civilization and D.A.N.C.E. they ended their second encore with a crowd surf that some would mistake for a zombie apocalypse. Wanting to celebrate the spirit of Halloween, but still wanting to wear a comfortable and breathable ensemble, I decided to accessorize as Rufio from Hook with red hair extensions, gobs of black eyeliner and feather earrings. Bangarang!
I spent a good half an hour compiling this playlist of Halloween-themed music on Spotify. No, it doesn’t include the Monster Mash. Yes, it does include Monster by Kanye, Big Bad Wolf by A-Trak and Zombie by The Cranberries.
Happy Halloween, ya’ll. Have a fun, safe holiday!
I think there’s an inverse correlation between age and excitement about Halloween, which is to be expected. After all, trick-or-treating isn’t socially acceptable for young adults (or even high school students in my humble opinion). However, there is a charm in the youthful spirit of the holiday and in spite of the reasonable amount of effort required to think of a clever ensemble and assemble such a costume, I still love the holiday and probably always will.
Here’s just a quick series of macabre, yet tasteful things I’ve found that should ignite the Halloween spirit in you as you dress up, entertain and celebrate over the next few days. Common themes are skulls, skulls and more skulls.
DECORATE AND ENTERTAIN
Hypothetically, if I were a
hostess ghostess with the mostest and enjoyed cooking, entertaining and picking up red solo cups the morning after my hypothetical (haunted) house party – I’d decorate and serve these things.
If you haven’t noticed, I really like skulls, morbid as they are. Obviously, these items would be appropriate Halloween decor, but I’d argue that some of these items could adorn your place year round.
I love painted pumpkins – they’re such a cute, easy spin on the traditional carved pumpkins which require a significant level of skill, patience and artistry. Painting pumpkins is an easy and tasteful way to decorate and be festive minus the time and mess; plus you have more freedom with the size and shape of the pumpkin as well as with the designs, patterns and colors you choose.
Doesn’t this Dada Life show look like a fucking party? They’re going to be in Houston next Tuesday, so if you live in the area, I’d definitely cop a ticket, rock a banana costume and rage.
*Most images originated from Etsy and Pinterest, click-through for original sources and where to buy.