Sunday, December 23, 2012

Save the Tags!

Here is a tradition I started for my family years ago: the tradition of saving, and then reusing, the present's gift tag.  Write the year the gift tag was used on the tag's back. So many good memories and sweet history are tied into this tradition.

Initially when I started this, my family was very hesitant and needed lots of gentle "save the tags!" reminders.  In fact, it's become sort of a running joke at Christmas, with mentions of "make sure you save Ami's tags" with an exaggerated eyeroll, but I know they love it. Especially when someone, usually my sweet brother, comments with nostalgia on how he's received the same tag every year for the last five years.

Plus, and this is the best part, it really forces you to slow down with the giving and the unwrapping of the Christmas presents. Often families can get so caught up in handing the gifts out, and then rushing through the process of tearing the gifts open, that memories can be missed.  I've found since we started this tradition, we tend to unwrap the presents a bit slower (heaven forbid the tag gets bunched up in the wrapping paper) and with more attention.  It really is one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

Now onto the tags!



These were made the month before Narls was born, so the tags are addressed from my child's point of view.

This was Em's first tag. Like Narls' above, neither child was born for either Christmas but we were greatly anticipating their impending arrivals.

Only two tags this year: a gingerbread boy for Narls and a gingerbread girl for Em.

Snowmeow's first!

I found these ornaments at Hobby Lobby and had the easiest gift-tag-making-year ever.  It'll be interesting to see how many dates will actually end up fitting on the back though. I didn't think of that when I bought them.

These were made by the kiddos to each other (Narls wrote all the names), and one for Lainey. I literally get happy mom butterflies thinking of them still  using these tags to give each other Christmas gifts when they're teenagers.

If you're interested in starting your own gift tag tradition, here are some tips:

1.  Don't bother with creating joint tags, like one to your mom and dad- just use two individual tags; saves a lot of hassle and you'll get more use out of your existing tags. 

2. Use strong cardstock and embellishments, and even go a step further by gluing the cardstock over pre-made tags.  You'll appreciate the tag's sturdiness years down the road. And go ahead and make your tags as colorful as you desire; they don't have to match your current wrapping paper.

3. Don't feel the need to buy a certain number of gifts each year just because that recipient has that many gift tags. Some tags you'll use each year; some will be used more sporadically.

Also, I wouldn't recommend making more than one set of tags a year; they'll be more special that way (and it'll be easier to get your family used to saving them if they only have to initially focus on one tag). If you're just starting out, that means you'll have one set of tags your family members will save this year, and the rest they'll toss out with the wrapping paper; this is okay. Next year they'll have two, etc.

Along these same lines- don't feel like you have to make more and more tags every year. You'll come to your happy balance with enough tags to cover the amount of gifts you buy for each person each year.

4. Omit the "from". Your family will know the gifts are from you, because you'll be the one making a big deal out of making sure they "save the tags!".  This eliminates the need for creating a bunch of random gift tags for every and any gift giving/receiving combos.

It also helps avoid not using a tag because a gift came from "Santa". Regarding this issue, I found that so far it has worked itself out: my kids are too young to wonder why Santa uses mumma's gift tags, and if they ask, I figure I'll just causally mention that Santa appreciates the work I do on the tags because it saves him the trouble. We'll see how that plays out in the years to come.

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