Get creative with handmade and upcycled presents


Upcycle pot planters, make your own pet presents and craft your own handmade gifts for a Christmas to remember.

Use something you have on hand to create a beautiful custom handmade gift or head to the op shop for inspiration.

Make a handmade Christmas gift for your pet

Make a heat pack from an old shirt

Home made heat packs and eye pillows make useful gifts, are inexpensive and even better, are fully compostable at the end of their life.

Learn how to make a heat pack or eye pillow using items you have at home with Living Smart’s Buy Nothing new for Christmas video series, hosted by Gretchen Kelly.

Get creative and go waste-free

Australians receive more than 21 million unwanted gifts every Christmas. With so many unwanted gifts exchanged at Christmas, we can all play a part to reduce the number of items that go straight to landfill or stockpile at the local op shop.

It is possible to experience the joy of exchanging gifts without cluttering our homes or negatively impacting our environment. Check out some more ideas below.

Nature-inspired jewellery

Discover how to create nature inspired jewellery. Join artist and Horticulturist Belinda Kuhlewein from Husk and Vine to learn how to create wearable art from found and foraged treasure. Enjoy a walk through nature as Belinda takes us through repurposing feathers, foliage, succulents, bark, pods and berries in the art collection process.

Wearable Art – t-shirt necklaces

Lean how to create a necklace from an old t-shirt. Join Belinda Kuhlewein from Husk and Vine to learn how to turn your old t-shirts into a creative necklace that makes an ideal gift

Wearable Art – feathery creations

Turn a forage for feathers into a beautiful versatile neckpiece that can also be worn as a headpiece. Belinda Kuhlewein from Husk and Vine takes you step by step through the materials you need to create a beautiful and unique creation.


Beeswax Wraps

Versatile, plastic-free and easy to make, beeswax wraps are a perfect natural food covering. Check out the Living Smart video with Natasha Odgers from Natural Connections Wax Wraps Workshops on how to make your own.

Silk Tie Flowers

For something truly unique, turn an old or unused silk tie into a gorgeous flower that can be used to adorn an outfit or hat or decorate the home.

Other creative ideas

  • Donate: Skip the Kris Kringle this year and donate to a good cause. There are a stack of worthy local charities like Wish List and Oz Harvest Sunshine Coast or international favourites like the Fred Hollows Foundation or Oxfam.
  • Gift an experience: Time together is the most precious gift we have. Spend time by giving a friend or family member a date with you, a voucher or an experience.
  • Support local: If you’re short of time or don’t have the inclination to make your own gifts, support local artisans, local businesses or local restaurants if you can.

Do you have a creative idea to add? How is your family embracing the Buy nothing new challenge this Christmas? Living Smart would love to hear from you. Email us or comment below.

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