Seven Days of Positive – Day 91

In Christmas traditions, Family, Food on December 19, 2014 at 10:34 pm


Today was Christmas Friday – the real start of the jolly holiday, with many people breaking up from work today, and not going back until Monday 29th, if not fully into January.

You could almost feel the collective excitement rank up a notch and in celebration I put the wreath (£7 deal with Christmas tree) up on our front door, with some £1.99 lights, which I think make it look very jolly.

I’m not telling you this for a cheapskate thrill. I’m definitely more of a spendthrift, a tendency I have to wrestle with on a daily basis. What I saved not buying a posh wreath was immediately spent ordering a side of smoked salmon from the Inverawe smokehouse, in Scotland.

The Queen gets her smoked salmon from there, so that’s good enough for me.


It’s also a tradition in my family to have it for breakfast on Christmas morning and I wasn’t going to disappoint my mum, with some cheap supermarket, it’ll-do smoked salmon.

Christmas is about a feeling of generosity and plenty. I want my mum to see that beautiful side of salmon in my fridge in that familiar packaging – Royal warrant and all – and be reminded of all the wonderful family Christmases we had, when it was a once a year a treat.

The other thing I did this evening – and this is going to make me look like a superscrimper again – was to make my gift tags.

This is a little ritual that’s grown up, because I can never find gift tags I like and when they come with the wrapping paper there’s never enough. So I save the Christmas cards from the year before and cut out jolly pictures using some craft scissors someone gave me daughter when she was five.

Sometimes it’s handy to be a little tiny bit of a hoarder.


I never have time to do anything crafty, so I do rather love sitting on the floor and cutting them out. Then I make a hole with my office hole puncher and thread pieces of narrow ribbon through it to attach them to the present.


Where do I get these handy little bits of ribbon, you wonder? I save them all year cutting them from the shoulders of new clothes, where they sew them in to stop them falling off the hangers in the shop – but if you leave them in there, they keep poking out and showing. Or sometimes you get them attaching a price tag to the garment.


Is this a little bit tragic? Probably, but it gives me immense satisfaction not to waste things. And when I go through the Christmas cards, it’s really nice to read them again.


Fewer and fewer people are sending the things – I really hate e-cards – and I think it shows a level of respect first to display people’s cards and then to find another use for them.

I was particularly pleased with this one, where I was able to create a reindeer called Chris.


  1. Love it all Maggie! It’s the little rituals we develop over the years that make it special isn’t it?
    Merry Christmas to you and yours, and all the very best for 2015!

  2. I’ve been using last years cards for gift cards for years. The craft scissors is a nice touch I just might borrow that idea.

  3. Fabulous to know that someone else uses the little ribbons from garments and price tags in this way! My Christmas gift tag and wrapping strategy has been revolutionised with a reindeer stamp from Kikki-K, an alphabet stamp set and a beautiful cherry red stamp pad. What fun, even for someone who isn’t wildly talented with craft!

    • I love the sound of the stamping. Does it go on the paper, or do you make gift tags with it?

      • On gift cards, and on brown paper wrapping, and stamped on those plain brown paper carry bags – a series of red reindeer stamps across one of those looks wonderful. The alphabet stamps are good too – this was from a couple of years ago when my theme was lines from Christmas songs

      • Love the sound of all that x

  4. Fabulous! Love the re-used cards and ribbons ( I cut off and keep those ribbons too, and thought I was the only odd person to do so).

    • Your tag on here shows someone who appreciates the finer points of all haberdashery… I thought I was the only weirdo to save those ribbons. I’m so glad I confessed now!

  5. This is absolute gold, gold, gold!

    From the £7 wreath she got with her fresh tree ( I think I should start a popupshop here making my own and selling them) to the Christmas tag making with recycled cards. The Dennis girls could almost have written this post for her I think!

    Love K xo 🎄🎅

    Sent from my iPhone


  6. Love the reindeer called Chris!!

  7. Hello Maggie … I am loving getting your blog every day in my inbox again. I also keep all those ribbons and find all sorts of uses for them, but will now use your idea for gift tags too. Those stick-on ones don’t always stick on, and with six grandchildren … well they need to know which gift is theirs. It sounds like you will have a well-deserved lovely Christmas with the ones you love.
    As will I (here in Oz) but tinged with sadness from recent tragic events in Sydney and Cairns.

    • Thanks so much Chrissie. I think it adds a whole layer of excitement for kids – turning over the labels to see whose name is on it. Six grandchildren, what heaven. I’m hoping that Christmas will bring a sense of joy back to Australia. The last week has been so shocking xxx

      • I too keep the Xmas cards for my crafty daughters to re-purpose as new Xmas cards. I also keep the lttle ribbons in a special round velevet chocolate box. They can be useful to hang Xmas decorations. I showed my younger daughter Audrey your post as she loves making her own labels for everything so next year…………

      • from thinking I was some kind of hoarder freak, I now feel like we are part of some secret global sisterhood of non-wasters. Using them for hanging decorations is a great idea x

  8. I don’t believe it I was doing the exact same thing last night, I love reading last years cards and finding special bits to cut out, tags aren’t only expensive but you never buy enough anyway, they also make brown paper which I generally use look so more exciting

  9. The gift tags is a great idea. I just wanted to share – I just unpacked my late mother-in-law’s Christmas things and found a collection of little snowmen and Santas that must have come from Christmas cakes. It has never been a tradition to decorate them in my family, but in my husband’s family they always bought a decorated and iced one from the baker.

  10. Maggie, you make me laugh and I love your idea for gift tags. I am taking it up tomorrow! Merry Xmas , I will think of you and my son having a very English Xmas, while I am sweltering in Aus

  11. Hahaha love the reindeer called Chris! Nice to see another graduate from the Valerie Singleton school of crafting, and the wreath is fab. Ding don merrily etc…

    • Perhaps we should both attempt the Advent Crown. Am I imagining it – or did it have CANDLES on it? Can you imagine instructing children to make something with open flames now? So, we need two wire hangers…

  12. Ding dong I meant

  13. Chris is a worthy name for a magnificent creature. I love your thrifty tips! Very blue peter (in a good way!)

  14. Dear Maggie what a good idea! I do a similar thing sticking an old Christmas card picture onto those paper bags you collect over the year. Sometimes they have logos on them, but they can usually be hidden easily in the recycled Christmas card process. I have been enjoying your daily posts – have a lovely Christmas. Wishing you all the blessings of the season.

  15. I also save cards for the same purposes and bits of ribbon. It’s lovely!

  16. OMG! I do that, including craft scissors!I have some fancy hole punches – including a star, Christmas tree and angel.
    While I save the bits of ribbon, too, given my monochrome wardrobe I don’t think they’d look too festive. However they come in very for covering bands at the ends of plaits (daughter’s not mine!).
    Thanks again for your writing, Maggie, I miss you on Sunday!

  17. More than anything (and I LOVE the idea of handmade cards) I’m in awe of the fact you can find such treasures when it’s time to get your craft on. You must have excellent storage/filing system xx

  18. What a great idea – to use old cards as gift tags. I keep the best of the year’s card harvest too and sometimes, though I am embarrassed to admit this, put my favourites out again, year after year. It seems such a shame to enjoy them for one year only. So I have about five years’ worth of my brother’s cards out, as he has such great taste. And as regards those ribbons, you have just answered a longstanding puzzle. I never really understood why all garments had those ribbon loops sewn in; I thought it was for us buyers to use when we hung things up at home and then I felt a bit bad about cutting them out when they got in the way. If fact I’ve left them in with some wide necked things that fall off hangers. But then I thought about it and perhaps I should invest in some more expensive coat hangers that have grips or are padded, so things don’t fall off. And then I can cut all the loops off and use them for gift tags. Incidentally, I did one year try making new cards out of old ones and sending them out, but somehow managed to send the same card back to one person. She wrote back thanking me and saying she would have sent a better quality card if she’d known she was going to get it back!
    Keep writing – I love your posts. It’s a taste of Christmas back home.

  19. Amazing idea! I am going to do this next year.

  20. Wow, so I’m not the only one on the planet to save the ribbon from the shoulders of clothes 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  21. Yay a woman after my own heart. I too recycle the Christmas cards with the ribbon hanger bits. My husband thinks I’m a bit nuts and Miss16 rolls her eyes but it is my effort to reduce landfill. Merry Christmas to you!

  22. […] Seven Days of Positive – Day 91 [Maggie Alderson Style Notes] […]

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