I'm starting a new Christmas tradition this year - making gift bags rather than buying new gift wrapping paper and tape. Americans use 8,000 tons of holiday paper (equal to 50,000 trees) per year. It's colorful but wasteful and a burden on the environment.
Cotton cloth bags are so easy to make that a budding seamstress could easily make them. What a great project for your creative teen!
I bought cotton fabric but you could use leftover remnants or tee shirts, too. Wash and dry new fabric to remove sizing and to shrink the fabric. Cut the fabric to the size you want and sew up the sides. Press one side seam open. For this project, you will use your iron as much or more than the sewing machine.
To open a hole for the pin and ribbon, rip out a few stitches from the side seam on the casing. Thread the ribbon through the casing until it comes out of the same hole 360 degrees away.
You could also skip the ribbon casing and just cinch a pretty ribbon around the bag.
Use colorful fabrics but they do not have to have a holiday theme. Then you can use them for other special occasions.
I will put a tag on the bag that says "This is a reusable gift bag. Use it again and again and be kind to the earth."