There are 11 days until Christmas, and preparations are well underway.
The checkout lines are getting longer, as shopers make their way to the aisles to pick through the items retailers have to offer. Meanwhile, UPS, FedEx and Amazon shipments continue to increase by the hour.
Soon, families and friends all over will gather around the Christmas tree or snuggle up close to the fireplace to open gifts on Christmas morning. Tufts of tissue paper will fly about and then gently float downward, littering the floor with bright bursts of reds, greens and golds. A humming of chatter, manufactured toy sounds and "thank yous," will fill the air.
But gifts don't have to arrive in excessive plastic packaging, make sounds or sparkle in the light. They don't have to represent the latest trends or boast the best bargains. Instead, they can come from a bit of creativity and a little extra time. They can come from the heart - the heart of a tree.
'Tis the Season of Giving. What better gift to give than one you made yourself? And better yet, why not use recycled materials to make your gift? One way to responsibly reuse wood and other tree materials is to incorporate them into handmade gifts; an alternative form of tree-cycling.
Here are a few handmade gifts you can try on your own, with a little help from your trees:
For Office Organization. Drill holes halfway to three-quarters into a thick wood disc from a large branch or tree trunk. This makes a great gift for a co-worker or boss who needs a better way to organize pens and pencils.
For Trimming the Tree. Use small wooden discs from tree branches to create custom ornaments for the holiday season. Drill a hole in the top of each disc and tie with a ribbon for hanging. Then write the year, the recipient's name or whichever message you choose on one side of the disc.
For Home Decor. Gather fallen leaves from the yard and use them to stencil or outline designs for a handmade painting.
For Making Memories. For a memorable keepsake, transfer an old, vintage photo onto a slab of wood.
Whatever gifts you decide to give this year, remember to get creative and have a memorable and merry Christmas!