Bag It This Christmas

Give your Christmas gifts a unique touch this year by putting them in bright fabric bags instead of wrapping paper. Rather than using name tags, choose a different color of fabric for each family member. Or let your imagination run wild! Red and green Christmas prints tied with contrasting solid-colored bows look cheerful under the Christmas tree. You can try endless combinations of polka dots, ginghams, stripes, or plaids. For a more dramatic touch, try solid-colored bags with printed ties. Special presents can be placed in velvet bags and tied with gold or silver cords.

To make the bags, cut two rectangles the same size from the same fabric. Place the right sides together, then sew the fabric on three sides, forming a bag. Fold the unsewn edge over to make a hem, and stitch it using a large zigzag or other decorative stitch. Then turn the bag right side out and iron it. Cut a tie from the same or coordinating fabric, and use it to tie the bag shut.

The best thing about “bagging it” is that the bags are reusable. They can easily become a Christmas tradition. You can make them from scraps of fabric saved from sewing projects throughout the year. “Bagging it” is also an excellent way to recycle drapes, quilts, or old clothes. Items that cannot be passed on to others or recycled can become a precious reminder of favorite outfits or bedroom decorations.

You can also use new fabric with the confidence that you are saving money. Your Christmas wrappings will not be carried off with the trash, but will be used year after year. Simply fold them up and pack them away with the rest of your Christmas decorations.

You can bag birthday presents and other gifts as well—and save wrapping time as well as money. LaRene Gaunt, Sandy, Utah

Keeping Children’s Histories Up to Date

To help keep the children’s scrapbooks and personal histories up to date, I use a yearly handout.

On New Year’s Day, I ask each child to fill out a questionnaire, which I have duplicated in advance, for his book of remembrance. The forms include such items as the following: things that have happened to me during the past year, plans and hopes for the future, New Year’s resolutions, my best friend, my height and weight, my favorite color, my greatest wish, what I think I’ll be doing at age twenty and at age thirty, the thing I enjoy doing most, one thing I wish I could do better, why I like or don’t like being my age, my favorite season of the year, a good book I read this year, and an interesting person I have met.

I insert these forms in their scrapbooks along with memorabilia we have collected in file folders throughout the year and, presto, the books are up to date. Ruth Dickson, Salt Lake City, Utah

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Our most enjoyable New Year’s Eve parties have been those we have had with our children. When they are old enough to stay up past midnight but too young to go it on their own or with friends, we celebrate New Year’s Eve at home. The week before, each person draws an assignment, then we spend days preparing for the party—cooking, planning games, making homemade noisemakers, and putting up streamers throughout the house. When the big night arrives, we dress up and then enjoy our party. It’s a lot of fun; but more important, it’s a lot of fun together! Ruth Dickson, Salt Lake City, Utah