Low-Waste Gift Baskets Are Beautiful And Functional!

by Tammy Taylor

Years ago I became aware of the massive amounts of trash caused by gift wrapping.  I hated that wrapping paper, although beautiful, was simply trash seconds after that gift was opened.  There used to be mountains of it after our family Christmas celebration, all destined for our local landfill.  Right then & there I began to search for lower-waste gift wrapping options.

Last week I shared with you my method of using colorful bandannas and other festive cloth for our smaller gifts.  That cloth was either folded creatively or tied with ribbon.  My family knows these are my reusable wrappings & they happily return them to me after the gift is opened.  I’m able to reuse this cloth to be used year after year. But today I’m going to share with you our low-waste basket decorations.

Our low-waste gift baskets include consumable food in reusable jars in a handy tub & using only plain brown paper that can be composted or used in their fireplace. #TaylorMadeHomestead

RancherMan & I almost always make all of our own gifts for Christmas.  We often bundle those special homemade gifts into gift baskets.  This year included in our basket is apple pie filling, cinnamon applesauce, homemade pumpkin granola and pear preserves. We’ll add some kind of home-baked goodie too. (we’ll wait until the last minute to make it to maintain freshness.)

Choosing The Container To Hold Our Gifts

For our baskets RancherMan & I picked up these colorful tubs to hold our gifts.  We chose them knowing our kids could use them afterward in their homes.  They can be used for grandbaby toys, DVD movies, kitchen storage – almost anything!  Now even though our simple gift from the heart involves several hours of labor for both myself & RancherMan, my mama always told me “Presentation Is Half The Gift”.  And of course she is absolutely correct!  So after the gift was assembled I looked for the prettiest way to present the basket.  Sometimes I use a basket wrap tied with a ribbon.  But this year I really liked the look of gift baskets without additional wrapping. (which of course speaks to my crunchy-green heart.)

Repurposed Filler For Gift Baskets

After pulling out the tubs and figuring out what kind of space I needed to tuck in our gifts, I asked RancherMan to bring me a couple of completely shaken-out cattle cake feed bags.  There are three different layers in each of these bags – the printed layer on the outside and two plain brown-paper layers underneath.  I tore away the printed layer and was left with two large pieces of plain brown paper – LOVE IT!  I took one of the sheets and tore it down to size and used it to give an elevated bottom to the bucket, allowing for better display of our gift.

Our low-waste gift baskets include consumable food in reusable jars in a handy tub & using only plain brown paper that can be composted or used in their fireplace. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Then I cut another largish-sheet of brown paper and fan-folded it, careful not to overly crease it and cut strips to make a cool-looking cover over the crinkled-paper bottom.  (some people could accomplish this with a shredder but we don’t have one)

Our low-waste gift baskets include consumable food in reusable jars in a handy tub & using only plain brown paper that can be composted or used in their fireplace. #TaylorMadeHomestead

So our gift baskets this year are primarily consumable food in reusable jars placed in a handy reusable tub.  And it’s presented using only plain brown paper that can either be composted or used as a fire-starter in their own fireplace.  I really like the way the baskets turned out and I know our kids will love them too!

Merry Christmas, Y’all!

~TMH~

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31 thoughts on “Low-Waste Gift Baskets Are Beautiful And Functional!

  1. candace

    Reading about the feed bag liner paper made me think – you live on a ranch, you are ranchers, why not snip up the outer feed bag part as well for your baskets. It seems so logical to me. I have given up most wrapped gifts and don’t exchange many gifts among friends – the gift there is making time to spend together, but for son and daughter-in-law I find some largish basket or tub and fill it with useable things. Son is a building contractor so screw drivers and pliers and such are never a bad choice (he never did learn to put his stuff away bless his heart and he’s building our barn now) as are good will coffee mugs which he seems to systematically leave wherever he goes, never to be seen again. The things for the daughter-in-law and grand children are more youth centered and go in a big stocking or recycled gift bag. I’m a lifelong Presbyterian so Christmas and Thanksgiving are important celebrations for me.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      It sounds like your gifts are right on mark Candace. And how exciting that your dear son is building your barn – love it! ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Mary-the boondocks blog

    Tammy this is such a smart idea. I think reusing the paper as a fire starter is brilliant. I agree with you 100% that it is such a waste to use paper to wrap gifts and then throw it out a few hours later. I just posted about another way you can be eco-friendly and that is by using scraps of fabric to wrap your gifts. We all have pieces of fabric that we don’t know what to do with. So why not reuse them to wrap gifts with? Pinning your great idea.

    Reply
  3. Grandmas House DIY

    My sister in law gave us four jars of homemade jelly she and her mom made over thanksgiving. Your gift baskets are such wonderful, usable gifts! Thanks so much for sharing with us at the To grandma’s house we go link party! Hope to see you tomorrow morning when the next party starts!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      These low-waste gift baskets are on tight rotation in the Taylor Household gift-giving procedure Sarah. ~TMH~

      Reply
  4. Simple Nature Decor

    Thanks for sharing this great gift idea at my last party,, my next party is Next Friday Happy New Year! Maria

    Reply
  5. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

    Love your gift idea Terri. And I love that you’re representing who you are with your gifts, which of course gives them even more meaning. 🙂 ~TMR~

    Reply
  6. Terri Presser

    This is great, this year we are giving little home made gifts to family. I bought some cheap planter pots ($2) and am putting in soap, home made cheddar cheese, liquid soap, sweets etc. I really enjoy gifts like this, it really represents who we are and that we love to give. Thanks for sharing this at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings.

    Reply
  7. Kimberly

    I’m totally in love with this idea! Pinned and tweeted. We appreciate you being a part of our party, and I hope to see you on Monday at 7 pm. We love partying with you! Happy Saturday! Lou Lou Girls

    Reply
  8. JES

    Great suggestions and I love the handmade usable gifts as opposed to acquiring more “stuff”! Thank you for sharing this week at the Art of Home-Making Mondays. I really enjoyed reading your gift ideas this week!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Ya know JES, this year more than any other I’m hearing so many people being frustrated with the consumerist nature of the holiday. Now I’ve felt this way for years but I know I don’t have the right to push my values on how others enjoy their holiday, but I’m thrilled to see that more & more people are pushing away from the excess and focusing on the beauty of the season. It just makes my heart happy… ~TMR~

      Reply
  9. Terry

    Where did you find your bins? I, too, give homemade gifts every year and I am always looking for creative storage ideas.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Terry, I like to search thrift stores first for baskets, casserole dishes and the like (depending upon what I’m looking for to complete the gift) If I don’t find what I need there I’ll search Dollar stores or even home improvement places. ~TMR~

      Reply
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  11. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

    Thanks Colleen and I agree with you – homemade gifts are the best. I have a post coming up about what kind of homemade gifts we’ve made over the years that were well received and also a post about various low-waste or no-waste ways to wrap or present those gifts. I wanted to wait until after Thanksgiving before I put out a Christmas post so it won’t be out until the weekend following Thanksgiving but ooooh Christmas will be here before we know it! ~TMR~

    Reply
    1. ColleenB.

      Our oldest daughter enjoys bathroom soaps, lotions, bubble bath, etc so one year I had made her a gift basket with all sorts of bath items, wrapped in large towel and used a wash cloth and made into bow.

      Reply
  12. ColleenB.

    Great presentation and nice thing about it; Nothing is wasted. Fugal is my kind of language. I feel homemade gifts are always the best

    Reply
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