Wednesday 4 November 2009

I'm dreaming of a green Christmas

The theme this week over at That Little Bit Greener is green Christmas. Christmas isn't really celebrated in Japan, yes, they put up pretty lights but the whole gift giving isn't really big, in fact, it is more of a romantic day/night, couples walking around all starry eyed and it next to impossible to get a table for two at a nice restaurant. Of course, because we are in Japan and the majority of our family are overseas we have to get presents out early to ensure that they arrive on time.
Last year I joined in the Handmade Holidays movement and well, nearly went insane trying to get everything made in time. I swore I wouldn't do it again, not in the same way, that's for sure. So, this is how I am going to have a greener holiday....
  • Either made or BUY mostly handmade. I love Etsy and the location finder is a great idea to find something closer to where you are sending the gift, cutting down on overseas parcels can only be a good thing. I am also looking at Folksy this year, I have never tried Folksy, anyone else tried it? I have used DaWanda, even had a shop there for a while but it wasn't for me.
  • Sending friends/relatives a book wish list and have them send the books here directly, I will wrap them for Ebi-kun and put the right labels on, plus, if they order through the Book Depository the shipping is FREE worldwide. Which has got to be good, postage from the UK is expensive, I always feel bad when we get gifts and the postage costs more than the gift!
  • Not buying wrapping paper, I still have some in the cupboard, so I will use that up, the rest of the gifts will be wrapped in gift bags (see the tutorial if you want to make some) or a furoshiki, the Japanese wrapping cloths. You can wrap almost anything in a furoshiki, there is even a new book out, Wrapagami, showing you how.
  • Christmas cards - it is difficult to buy packs of cards here and single cards cost a fortune, so for the last few years we have made our cards, we also make postcards rather than cards because the postage is much cheaper ¥70 for a postcard ¥110 for a card, when you are sending out a tonne of cards that is a big saving!
  • Not to stress over the difficult! I am sure EVERYONE has at least one of those people, in my experience it is usually a bloke, the person who is impossible to buy for without going down the socks/tie/cufflinks route! In my case, it is my step-dad and Ebi-kun's Japanese cousin is pretty hard to buy for too, this year he is really into football so we will just get him some footie related goods. I am not going to beat myself up about not getting everyone handmade goods. Any gift ideas for my step-dad are much appreciated.
  • Not buying plastic junk toys, not that I do anyway, I would much rather pay that bit extra and get a good quality wooden toy or a jigsaw puzzle, a book, softies for little ones, art supplies - there are so many better options. The only plastic toy I do go with is Lego. Lego is a great toy, open ended and lasts forever and the children can learn many skills from playing with it.
I have been looking through my crafty/sewing books for gift inspiration and have a couple book marked already, I won't be sharing what I am making unless I am sure the person I am making it for doesn't read my blog. If you want to know more about the handmade holidays, click on the badge.

And if you are planning to sew something, pop over to my shop, I have some lovely fabrics in at the moment.....

something for the boys

lots of cute prints for the girls

something for the animal lover?

or how about a pattern or kit - free shipping on patterns and kits for Novemeber, just tell me in the message to seller box that you read my blog and I will refund the shipping costs.

and if you don't sew, how about a softie, purse, bag or zipped pouch. I do take on custom orders, drop me a line if you have something in mind.


  1. I too love the Book Depository but you might just check with them about delivery at the moment as we're in the midst of a series of postal strikes here in the UK and they are causing big delays. The Book Depository say they use Royal Mail Priority Airmail for international mail and I don't know if this is affected by the strikes, but it might be worth an email to them to check.

  2. green Xmas here too. We decided not to send any gifts to parents/cousins etc for a longtime now and usually what I do I buy something when I am visiting.... No plastic either except playmobil.. (my daughter is not a lego fan;). Either way I try my best to do my shopping early and go on craiglist and find things online. Usually I tend to find things at bootsales/garage sale as they call it here and put them in storage until Xmas. For coworkers I do gift cards, nice olive oil/something they can use in the kitchen or nice handmade xmas decoration. I do etsy too. THank you for sharing. GG

  3. Just to give you news hot off the press - the unions at Royal Mail have agreed not to hold any more strikes till after Christmas, so now post shouldn't be affected until the new year!

  4. playing by the book - thank you for the up date. I don't have the highest regard for the Royal mail at the best of times but striking over the holiday season - what were they thinking?


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