What's Christmas morning without kids racing to the Christmas tree to find their stuffed Santa sacks full of presents? As a parent, those moments of pure glee are what we live for -- the un-abandoned joy of a completely happy child. When I was a little kid, we got one of dad's long socks as a Santa sack (I'm showing my age by the fact my dad used to wear long socks with shorts!). Then we graduated to using a pillowcase as we got older and the gifts got bigger. By time we were teenagers, mum (I mean Santa) switched again; this time to small but pretty custom-made Christmas stockings that held an orange in the toe, chocolate coins, a can of L&P and maybe one or two small gifts.
As we age, things change -- we go from lots of toys that can be quite big as kids, to small but lovely as we age. Lego gives way to books; dolls give way to fidget toys. But one thing is for certain; each year you need to wrap it all.
Santa sacks for family tradition
We guard our traditions very seriously; tree ornaments are handed down the generations and we carefully unwrap the bauble each year that has been on the tree since Grandma was a girl. As such, choosing a Santa sack shouldn't be a quick and dirty decision - we should choose something that we want to have for life that will be passed onto our kids, who may pass it onto theirs. Choose wisely, invest once and reuse it for life.
Handmade Christmas stockings
I started making these cross stitched Christmas stockings for each of my children the moment I found out I was pregnant. I knew it would take nine months to complete the design and have it ready for their first Christmas! I love these stockings and they are a critical part of Christmas Eve tradition; but they are small and don't hold many gifts. So, whist I love the personalisation, the handiwork, the tradition, I pretty quickly had to upgrade to a bigger solution.
Where to buy Santa Sacks
Here at Waste Free Celebrations we wanted to design a Santa Sack that would last the decades, that a child would love as they grew older, that was sized to fit a LOT or a little, and would look beautiful under the Christmas tree. We wanted to provide a product that was made in NZ and provided design options outside of "calico with a screen printed deer head". We have a growing collection of fabrics and ribbon available to suit modern and more traditional tastes.
We also wanted to personalise the Santa sacks because there's something extra special about seeing your name on a giant bag of presents! We have made mammoth cotton gift tags that attach onto the ribbon of the sack with your child's name embroidered on.
Fabric for Santa Sacks
We are excited to bring some of our own fabrics to market this year. Designed in New Zealand by New Zealand artists, our fabric gift bags and Santa sacks are tailored for the New Zealand market. With words in English and Te Reo, celebrating the birth of Jesus for a traditional Christmas, we also have snowflakes which are designed out of silver ferns for the novelty version of Christmas. Our fabric is digitally printed in China in traditional Christmas colours and suitable for all all ages.
Tying the Santa sack in a bow with their personalised name tag on makes it as pretty as a picture. Ribbon on our Santa sack and large bags is 38mm wide, double-sided satin. And our re-usable gift tags are designed to fit over our bag ribbons.
Personalised Santa Sacks
At Waste Free Celebrations we have created a mammoth personalised gift label that threads onto the ribbons of our Santa Sack. This looks gorgeous under the Christmas tree and the kids will love it. But, depending on what gifts they get that year, the label can be threaded onto a different bag in one of our sets and the Santa Sack simply becomes a huge bag for a huge present. You don't need to buy a separate Santa Sack - you only need a set of 10 of our reusable fabric gift bags. Pick one to be the Santa sack then use the rest to wrap all the presents. We recommend colour coding each kid: all the blue fabric are for Tom; all the gold fabric are for Tim; and all the red fabric are for Tammy.
The personalised tag is pre-made so the font for your name will be adjusted to fit the length of the tag. Each tag measures 30cm long, by 22cm wide.
Santa Sack sizes
The average Santa sack is around 40 x 55cm with our Santa Sacks measuring 52 x 72cm. With our set of 10 bags you have the option of using our large bag (44x58cm) or the huge bag (52x72) as the Santa sack.
A large lego set and a new helmet for Toby, both fitting easily into our Santa Sack in Tui on Puhutokawa.
Our Set of 10 in Have a Holly Jolly Christmas includes a Santa Sack that easily fit a Generation Girl doll for Adelaide, with room to spare.
This Pukeko in a Ponga Tree Set of 10 displays what fits in the bags, our Santa Sack has a large model airplane for dad to spend his summer building.
Made in New Zealand
Each Santa sack is made at one of three 'sewing circles' around NZ: Central Otago, Dunedin (Cargills Enterprises for people with intellectually disabilities) and Auckland (women refugees). Our fabrics are designed by NZ artists and unique to to Waste Free Celebrations: our Kiwiana is watercolour art by Emily Moffitt in Taranaki. Our Christmas art has been done by Designers in Wānaka.
So when you buy a Santa sack from us, you are supporting NZ made. We have a growing range of products which includes Christmas Re-crackers, reusable tissue paper, and reusable gift tags.
"Why does Santa's wrap look like mum and dad's wrap?"
So your kid is asking the tricky questions? As with paper, smart kids question why mum and dad's gift wrap happens to be exactly the same as what the elves use at the North Pole. Like any parent, you reach deep into the cache of quick white lies you store up your sleeve, and declare dead pan, "Mummy left the gift bags out for Santa to put the presents into when he came down the chimney." Or, "Santa is really tired of rubbish and waste as well so I guess his elves are using the same fabric in their toy factory."
Alternatively, you can buy one colour set of reusable fabric gift bags for presents from family, and one colour set for gifts from Santa that get stored away out of sight until they magically appear on Christmas morning.
Make your own no-sew Santa Sacks
If you don't have a sewing machine you can buy one of our Santa sacks. Our fabric designs have been curated by a team of Kiwi designers to suit your home and style. Alternatively you can make your own using an old pillowcase.
A step-by-step tutorial to convert a pillowcase into a Santa sack at home (with no sewing)
Step 1: You'll need an old pillow case (Try to find one with the heaviest cotton weight if possible), iron-on lettering from a craft store, 1.5m of ribbon, pack of grommets with a hammer.
Step 2: Measure 15cm from the top of the bag and mark out placement of grommets in even spacing around the top of the bag. (see picture) Following the instructions on the grommet pack, hammer them in place using a wooden chopping board. You need 4 along the front and back (8 in total) to make it gather nicely).
Step 3: Lay the pillowcase flat on your ironing board. Using tailor's chalk if you have it, or a pencil, rule a straight line for your lettering and place your lettering evenly. It is best to iron on lettering one at a time. Place a thin piece of fabric on top and press with a hot iron. Do not use steam. It can take 1-2 minutes with a 1600W iron so jiggle the iron around so you don't burn the fabric. Once the letter has fastened, proceed with the letters to complete their name.
Step 4: Cut your ribbon with V-cut ends to help stop fraying. Alternatively you can singe the end with a candle. Thread the ribbon through the grommets and voila! Homemade no-sew Santa Sack.