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Wrapping paper alternatives

wrapping paper alternatives

With Christmas just a month away, I thought I’d share some wrapping paper alternatives to help you create less waste this year. And these ideas will not only help you be more environmentally friendly and leave more space in your bin, they’ll also make your gifts look gorgeous!

Use fabric gifts to wrap the rest

If you’re giving gifts like scarves, tea towels or any other fabric based items, you can use the fabric to wrap the rest of the gift up. Once wrapped, tie it up with a beautiful ribbon or some lovely twine or string and it’ll look fabulous when you hand it over.

Start a furoshiki wrapping tradition

Furoshiki cloths were originally used in Japan to wrap up treasures, store belongings and transport gifts, but are now a popular way to wrap gifts worldwide. There are lots of different ways to use a Furoshiki cloth to wrap gifts of all shapes and sizes. Take a look at my blog post on Furoshiki Techniques for some ideas.

When you receive a gift in a Furoshiki cloth the recipient can then reuse the cloth to wrap gifts in the future, so it doesn’t end up in landfill. And the more you do it the more likely you are to encourage other people to do the same – especially when they see how gorgeous it makes gifts look!

Seed papers

Using seed papers is another gift wrapping alternative that not only looks beautiful but can be planted afterwards to grow wildflowers. You can find a good variety of seed papers on Etsy. If you’re going to use it for wrapping paper it’s best to choose one that’s not too thick, so it’s easy to fold nicely.

Other wrapping paper alternatives

For even more eco-friendly wrapping paper alternatives, check out this blog post: Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas. You’ll never need to buy ordinary wrapping paper again 😃

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What to write in a Christmas card

what to write in a christmas card

I’ve always preferred cards that are blank inside so I can write my own message. It can sometimes be a challenge to know what to write in a Christmas card though, especially if you send a lot of them! Here are some suggestions to help you along.

What to write to your significant other

Your main choices here are to declare your heartfelt love or to be a bit naughty. You’ll know which one is right for your relationship! The main thing is to write a message in the same tone you’d speak to them in. Of course you if you find it hard to say certain things out loud then this is also the perfect opportunity to let them know how you really feel. Here are some ideas to get you started…

  • Even after all this time, all I want for Christmas is you.
  • Christmas is so much better now I have you to share it with.
  • I don’t care about the mistletoe – I’m going to shower you with kisses all day long!
  • Never mind the mistletoe – you can kiss me anytime and anywhere!
  • Is that a candy cane in your pocket or am I getting my Christmas treat?

What to write in a Christmas card for family

Whether or not you see your family regularly, you can use your Christmas card either to let them know how much you love and appreciate them, or to make them smile with a funny message. Some families love the sentimental stuff and others prefer to maintain a sense of humour. Of course you can sometimes do both…

  • Having you as my parents/Mum/Dad/brother/sister/etc is the best present I could wish for. Wishing you a happy Christmas with all my love.
  • Family is what makes Christmas so special and I’m so happy I can spend it with you this year.
  • Christmas is all about spending time with your favourite family – aren’t you glad you can spend it with me?
  • Merry Christmas from your favourite daughter/son/brother/sister.
  • Happy holidays form your superior sibling.
  • It’s so great that it doesn’t bother you that I’m the favourite. Happy Christmas bro’!
  • You’re the only one who understands why it’s more tempting to deck the family than to deck the halls…

What to write in Christmas cards to friends

Whether it’s your bestie, your running buddy or an old friend you occasionally meet up with at the pub, it’s always easiest to write a message that refers to what you have in common. Here are some suggestions which you can adapt to your own friendships.

  • Your friendship is the best present I could ever wish for. Hope your Christmas is as special as you are!
  • I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, but we can drink the red when it runs out!
  • Happy Christmas! See you in the new year to run off those mince pies…
  • Happy holidays to the person who helps me cycle off the Christmas pudding!
  • Merry Christmas to my favourite person to misbehave with – just don’t tell Santa what we got up to this year!

Christmas messages to colleagues

Christmas cards are a great way to let your favourite colleagues know how much you appreciate them. Whether you see them over the Christmas period or not, here are a few suggestions for what to write.

  • Coworkers like you make work easier and the office much friendlier. Enjoy Christmas with all your family and friends and see you in the new year!
  • Remember what happens at the office party, stays at the office party… Merry Christmas and see you next year!
  • Merry Christmas to the only reason I’m still (fairly) sane at work!
  • It’s a shame we’re having to work through the holidays but I’m so glad we’re together. Happy Christmas!

I hope these ideas have helped. Even if none of them are exactly right, they should at least have given you some ideas and gotten your creative writing juices flowing! Don’t forget you can get Christmas cards in my shop to suit a wide range of people and interests and you’ll save with my Mix and Match bundles. Also available on Etsy for international customers.

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Halloween Traditions and Their Origins

Halloween traditions

Halloween is almost here and so I thought I’d find out some fun facts about the origins of Halloween traditions. I don’t remember much about Halloween as a kid, as it wasn’t much of a thing in South Africa, where I grew up, at least not in those days. So the first exposure I had to trick or treating was when I had my own children.

And now it’s become a huge deal! Halloween decorations are in the shops as soon as the kids are back at school. Halloween parties give us adults an excuse to dress up too. And costumes are getting fancier and scarier each year! But where did all these spooky customs come from? Here are the origins of four of our modern Halloween traditions.

4 modern Halloween traditions

Wearing Halloween costumes 👻

Halloween has been linked to Samhain, the Celtic festival marking the end of summer. It was believed that the veil between the living and the spirit world was thinnest at this time and spirits could cross over. People would keep the ghosts at bay by lighting sacrificial bonfires and dressing up in costumes, which is why we still wear fancy dress on Halloween today.

Trick or treating 🍬

Trick or treating became popular in the US early in the twentieth century when Irish and Scottish communities over there revived the Medieval custom of ‘guising’. This involved dressing up in costumes and going from door to door performing ‘tricks’ such as reciting poems or singing songs in exchange for food or money.

Bobbing for apples 🍎

This tradition originated as a divination ritual for people to find out who their future spouse might be. They’d bob their heads in water while trying to bite apples that would give them a clue. There seem to have been different versions of this. In one the ladies would mark an apple before tossing it in a tub of water and the man who pulled it out would likely be their future spouse. In another the women would bob their heads in water while trying to bite into apples that were named for their male suitors.

Jack O’Lanterns 🎃

This tradition originated in Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes were carved into decorations. It’s based on an Irish folk tale about a drunkard named Jack who managed to trap the devil in a tree by hacking a cross into the bark. Jack had Satan vow never to take his soul in exchange for allowing him down from the tree. Unfortunately, because he wasn’t a very good guy he wasn’t allowed into heaven when he died, and of course the devil couldn’t allow him into hell either, and threw a hot coal at him. Jack put the burning coal inside a turnip and used it as a lantern as he wandered around trying to find an eternal resting place.

Nowadays most people carve pumpkins into Halloween decorations. Looking at these carved turnips I think I can understand why – they’re much scarier looking and would probably terrify the kids! 😆

Bonus Halloween Fact

While I was researching these Halloween traditions I came across another fun fact that I couldn’t not share! Watching the Halloween movies at this time of year has become a tradition in its own right. But did you know that the iconic creepy mask worn by Michael Myers in the movie was based on a Star Trek mask? The original movie was on a very tight budget so they ended up using a cheap Captain James Kirk mask, which was spray painted white and had the eye holes reshaped. Who knew that William Shatner could look this terrifying with such minor adjustments?

Michael Myers Horror GIF by absurdnoise - Find & Share on GIPHY

Happy Halloween! 😱

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Holiday Cards

Gin Themed Holiday Card - Let the festivities be Gin

I did wonder whether it is too early to start talking about holiday cards, but then I’ve already sold two in my Etsy shop, so it seems that some people are preparing early this year. Hopefully this year the postal system will be better prepared too!

And the holidays are not just about Christmas. Diwali is coming up at the beginning of next month. So there are just a few weeks left before the Festival of Lights kicks off! I’ve become more conscious that we all celebrate the holidays in different ways and want to make sure I start catering for a wider range. If you have any specific requests then please let me know on Instagram or Facebook.

This is the first Diwali card I’ve designed but I hope to add more over time.

Hannukah is also celebrated before Christmas is, and I’ve added a Happy Hannukah card to my holiday range too.

Even those of us who celebrate Christmas don’t all celebrate it in the same way. Some are more focused on the religious side of it, to others the most important thing is meeting up with family. And then there are those of us who get really excited about the food 🤣. Here’s my (somewhat tongue in cheek) nod to my favourite festive nibble…

Mince Pies Christmas card - Christmas is all about the MINCE PIES!

I do of course also look forward to spending time with family and friends! 😁

As well as the new additions I’ve mentioned already, I’ve also created a few new holiday designs to add to last year’s favourites. Here’s a small sampling, but you can view the full collection of holiday cards in my shop.

Holiday cards for a special someone

A good proportion of my holiday cards are aimed at a special person in your life. I realise (and am happy that) a lot of people buy a selection of charity Christmas cards to send out. But it’s sometimes nice to acknowledge your favourite person (or people) with a card that is chosen especially for them. Here are a few for significant others and best friends.

Custom cartoon portraits

I am also still doing custom cartoon portraits, either as Christmas cards or prints to frame and give as gifts. These are great for your other half, or for grown up children, parents or grandparents. It’s worth ordering these early if you want them. They take more time and if I get too busy closer to Christmas I’ll stop offering them.

Other holiday cards

And finally here’s a selection of other holiday cards in the collection. I’m offering bulk discounts so that the more you buy the more you save. You can mix and match 3 or 5 different cards, or otherwise order any one design in larger numbers for a bigger discount.

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Age Birthday Cards – More Added

Age birthday cards

Milestone ages are always a big deal and so I’ve found that my age birthday cards are pretty popular. A while ago I did a round up of some of them here: Milestone Age Cards.

Since then I’ve created some more age birthday cards from some of my other general birthday cards too. Generally if someone is heading into a new decade, people tend to want to give a card that marks the occasion with the age on it. So I’ve started working through my existing birthday card designs to find ones that are suitable for age milestones too.

I’m planning to carry on adding the option to as many of my existing birthday card designs as are suited to it. It’ll be a gradual process, but I really think people like to have the option – what do you think?

If there is a specific card you have your eye on for someone special’s upcoming milestone birthday, let me know. I’ll push it to the front of the queue for you…

Send your suggestions via my contact form or drop me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I can’t wait to hear your suggestions 😃

Meantime here are some of the ones you can already buy in my shop. Just click on the title or image to go straight there.

Beer Hoppy Age Birthday Cards

These are based on my original Beer Hoppy Birthday Card and are now available for age milestones from 18 up to 90 years old.

Beer Hoppy Age Birthday Card

Be-Gin the Celebrations Cards

Another card from my Thirsty Business Collection that is also now available from ages 18 to 90.

Be-Gin the Celebrations Age Cards

Bunch of Flowers Milestone Age Cards

Another design that works really well for a range of ages and now comes in milestone ages from 18 up to 90 years old.

Bunch of Flowers Milestone Age Card