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The hu! Way of Xmas, Part 3

As the third and last part of our Christmas tips, hu! shares some inspirations for making your own do-it-yourself last minute gifts and decorations. No matter if you prefer baking, brewing or handicraft – it's all fun and easy. And if you have already bought all your gifts you can still wrap them with a beautiful traditional technique that's not only good for the environment but also adds a special personal touch to your gift.

Natsuko's tip:

Furoshiki way of wrapping Have you ever thought about wrapping gifts in something else than paper? During the Christmas holidays, around 4 million tons of wrapping paper and shopping bags are thrown away. Wrap your gifts the eco-friendly way with furoshiki giftwrap, inspired by the artful Japanese tradition of wrapping gifts in beautiful swaths of cloth. Your furoshiki can be re-used as giftwrap any time of the year and you can of course re-purpose the cloth in many different ways.

Otsukai Tsutsumi / Basic Carry Wrap

1. Place item in the middle of furoshiki. 2. Pull the corner closest to you over the item. Tuck the remaining fabric tightly underneath. 3. Take the corner furthest away from you and lay it over the fabric, leave that corner untucked. 4. Pull up the folded sides on your left and right and bring them together. 5. Now tie them in a cute bow!

Ribbon Tsutsumi / Ribbon Wrap

1. Place the book at the bottom right corner near the center of the furoshiki (not too close to the edge). 2. Bring the corner on the bottom up over the book. 3. Bring the corner on the left across the object. 4. Roll the book (and furoshiki) away from you, towards the top. 5. Pull up the corners on the top and right and bring them together.

6. Now tie them in a cute bow!

Susie's ideas: Apple cinnamon kombucha for your holiday party. Inspired by our fermented foods introduction, where Edible Alchemy taught us how to brew our own kombucha, I created this apple-cinnamon version for the holidays. To make, brew your kombucha as usual, removing the SCOBY and placing it in its proper container with reserved liquid. To your freshly brewed kombucha, add 1 cup of fresh apple puree and 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon. Close with a tight fitting lid and ferment for 3 more days. To add a little kick, you can also add a tablespoon of ground fresh ginger to the mix.

Gift idea: newspaper pot seedlings. This is a great diy gift that can be made by anyone using virtually any potted plant and an old newspaper. It’s a great way to encourage people to dip their feet in urban gardening. To start, take some cuttings from an existing plant, about 10 cm in length, snipping directly below a section of leaves. Remove the bottom-most leaves, leaving the rest, and place in water. New roots should start to show within 1-2 weeks, at which point it’s ready to plant. To make your newspaper “pots”, cut some pieces of newspaper a few inches taller than a shot glass or small jar, which you will be using as a mold. Using a couple of layers to add some strength, line up the newspaper with the top of the glass and wrap it all the way around, taping the edge over to form a cylinder, and leaving excess to hang over the bottom. Fold in the edges at the bottom and secure with tape. Remove the jar and you should have a paper “cup” in which you can then plant your newly rooted cuttings. The newspaper can be peeled away and replanted, or even dropped directly into the dirt.

(references: how to make newspaper pots and how to root herbs in water)


Ugly Christmas sweater cookies. It’s ugly Christmas sweater season again. But why buy something you’re only going to wear once? Instead, you can get the ugly out of your system this year by baking ugly Christmas sweater cookies to spread your holiday cheer. You can even make it a contest to see who can make the ugliest abomination. To further decrease your environmental footprint, make them free of animal products and artificial dyes. Coconut oil can make a great substitute for butter, and natural colorings like beet juice and parsley can be used for icing.

(reference: recipe for cookies with naturally colored icing)

Origami Christmas ornaments. So you decided to get that Christmas tree anyway. Don’t worry, I won’t judge. But instead of buying a box of ornaments that just sit in your basement collecting dust for the rest of the year, why not make some origami ornaments with repurposed giftwrap? You know, those awkwardly shaped leftover pieces that you never know what to do with. From stars to snowflakes, to poinsettias, doves, angels, ornament balls, and even an origami Santa, there are hundreds of ways to diy your tree. You can even go meta and decorate your tree with smaller trees (no, just me?). When the tree goes down, just recycle.

texts: Natsuko van der Ree and Susie Lee

© images

4 Jimmy Chen