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Reusable cloth Christmas bags are all the rage, saving wrapping time, money and the planet

They're also way cozier than the 2 million pounds of wrapping paper that ends up in landfills every year.

cloth christmas present bags

People are moving to cloth gift bags as a lot of wrapping paper can't be recycled.

As an Amazon Associate, Upworthy may earn proceeds from items purchased that are linked to this article, at no additional cost to you.

Wrapping paper is a delightful invention, with all of its fun patterns and colors and wrapping methods, all in service of keeping gifts a surprise.

It's also a total environmental blight, unfortunately. Most wrapping paper is one-time use only, as what makes it pretty and shiny and durable are usually plastics that can't be separated from the paper for recycling. So into the landfill it goes, to the tune of 2.3 million pounds a year, according to Popular Science.

You can try to reuse wrapping paper, of course, but have you ever seen a kid tear into a Christmas present? You can try wrapping with simple brown paper, which is recyclable, but doesn't feel particularly festive. You could buy eco-friendly wrapping paper, shelling out a pretty penny for something that's still going to have to be purchased again and again.

OR you can go a whole new route by ditching the paper altogether and going for the truly old-fashioned, easy peasy solution of cloth gift bags that you either purchase or make yourself. If you think that sounds like a bit of a stretch, hold the judgment until you see how utterly adorable these bags are.


Cloth bags save so much time and headache compared to paper wrapping. Weirdly shaped gifts no longer matter as long as they fit in the bag. They also save you money over time if you use them for your household's gifts and store them away with your holiday decorations each year. If you make them yourself, you can choose any color or pattern theme you want, but there are plenty of readymade coordinated options out there now to go with any decor.

And no, kids don't care—in fact, they will probably appreciate the fact that their gift wrap is eco-friendly and they may even get nostalgic about seeing the familiar wrappings each year. (Our family has used cloth to wrap for presents for years, and our kids have actually developed favorites.)

Here's a simple example—a mix of classic red-and-white patterns in assorted sizes for a bright, classic look. How lovely would a stash of these look all gathered under the tree?

red and white cloth gift bags

Red and white always works for Christmas.

Amazon

What if you went with a classy gold theme for this year's decor and want the presents under the tree to match for a perfectly Instagrammable Christmas morning? Here's a similar set in a gold-and-white pattern.

gold and white gift bags

Go for the gold with this set of Christmas gift bags.

Amazon

Maybe you're going for more of a cozy, casual, log cabin-y feel for your holiday. Plenty of plaid in Christmas colors right here.

plaid christmas gift bags

Cozy, cozy flannel bags with Christmas sayings on them

Amazon

If you're more drawn to the classic, Norman Rockwell, Christmases-of-yore vibe, check out these nostalgic Christmas prints:

vintage christmas cloth bags

These gift bags look like a throwback to "It's a Wonderful Life."

Amazon

Maybe you're a modern maven with monochromatic merry-making methodologies. Or perhaps you'd like to be able to reuse your bags at other times of the year, too. These black-and-white babies might just do the trick.

black and white gift bags

These black-and-white bags could be used for any occasion.

Amazon

How about a standard-Christmas-wrapping-paper look, only as cloth Christmas gift bags instead?

mix of colorful Christmas bags

Get your colorful Christmas on.

Amazon

Or maybe you don't want a distinctively Christmas feel at all, but rather a mix of pretty, festive bags that could be used for the holidays or any time of year. There's a whole assortment to choose from here to go with whatever your particular color theme might be.

mix of cloth bag patterns

Christmas bags don't have to be Christmas-themed..

Amazon

Or maybe you want the opposite—just blatantly Christmas-y images in bright, bold colors plastered all over everything. Here ya go:

assortment of colorful christmas gift bags

So many Christmas gift bag options

Amazon

There's just no shortage of options for cloth gift bags that are worth investing in to save time, money and the environment. Just be sure to check sizes so there are no surprises, grab a wide assortment and then revel in the fact that you'll never get a paper cut or have to search for another roll of tape while wrapping presents for your family again.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.




Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?


If all of earth's land ice melted, it would be nothing short of disastrous.

And that's putting it lightly.

This video by Business Insider Science (seen below) depicts exactly what our coastlines would look like if all the land ice melted. And spoiler alert: It isn't great.

Lots of European cities like, Brussels and Venice, would be basically underwater.

In Africa and the Middle East? Dakar, Accra, Jeddah — gone.

Millions of people in Asia, in cities like Mumbai, Beijing, and Tokyo, would be uprooted and have to move inland.

South America would say goodbye to cities like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

And in the U.S., we'd watch places like Houston, San Francisco, and New York City — not to mention the entire state of Florida — slowly disappear into the sea.

All GIFs via Business Insider Science/YouTube.

Business Insider based these visuals off National Geographic's estimation that sea levels will rise 216 feet (!) if all of earth's land ice melted into our oceans.

There's even a tool where you can take a detailed look at how your community could be affected by rising seas, for better or worse.

Although ... looking at these maps, it's hard to imagine "for better" is a likely outcome for many of us.

Much of America's most populated regions would be severely affected by rising sea levels, as you'll notice exploring the map, created by Alex Tingle using data provided by NASA.

Take, for instance, the West Coast. (Goodbye, San Fran!)

Or the East Coast. (See ya, Philly!)

And the Gulf Coast. (RIP, Bourbon Street!)

I bring up the topic not just for funsies, of course, but because the maps above are real possibilities.

How? Climate change.

As we continue to burn fossil fuels for energy and emit carbon into our atmosphere, the planet gets warmer and warmer. And that, ladies and gentlemen, means melted ice.

A study published this past September by researchers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany found that if we don't change our ways, there's definitely enough fossil fuel resources available for us to completely melt the Antarctic ice sheet.

Basically, the self-inflicted disaster you see above is certainly within the realm of possibility.

"This would not happen overnight, but the mind-boggling point is that our actions today are changing the face of planet Earth as we know it and will continue to do so for tens of thousands of years to come," said lead author of the study Ricarda Winkelmann, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

If we want to stop this from happening," she says, "we need to keep coal, gas, and oil in the ground."

The good news? Most of our coastlines are still intact! And they can stay that way, too — if we act now.

World leaders are finallystarting to treat climate change like the global crisis that it is — and you can help get the point across to them, too.

Check out Business Insider's video below:

This article originally appeared on 12.08.15

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

There's one word you can't say on a cruise ship.

On December 10, Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas set sail on the Ultimate World Cruise—a 274-day global trek that visits 11 world wonders and over 60 countries. This incredible trip covers the Americas, Asia Pacific, Middle East, Mediterranean and Europe with a ticket price that ranges from $53,999 to $117,599 per passenger.

Aboard the Serenade to the Seas is popular TikToker Marc Sebastian, who has been sharing his experience on the platform.

In a recent video with over 4.3 million views, he revealed what he’s learned over his first few weeks aboard the ship; the biggest was the one word you’re not allowed to say: Titanic.


“Who knew that? I didn’t,” Sebastian said. “I brought it up to an entire room of people having lunch that our ship is only 100 feet longer than the Titanic — when I tell you that utensils dropped. Waiters gasped. It’s dead silent.”

@marcsebastianf

someone get whoopi on the line girl i have some goss for her #ultimateworldcruise #worldcruise #serenadeoftheseas #cruisetok #cruise #9monthcruise #titanic

After the unexpected reaction, his cruise friend told him, “You’re not allowed to talk about the Titanic.” It makes sense. Who wants to be reminded of the tragedy that killed around 1,500 people while sinking one of the most impressive engineering feats of the era? "When I went on a cruise, my mom told me saying Titanic was equivalent to screaming ‘bomb’ at an airport," Mikayla wrote in the comments.

Later in the video, Sebastian admits he was surprised to learn that cruise ships have godmothers and that the pools are filled with seawater.


This article originally appeared on 1.25.24

"Freddie Mercury" by kentarotakizawa is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Fans are thrilled to hear Freddie Mercury's iconic voice once again.

Freddie Mercury had a voice and a stage presence unlike any other in rock music history. His unique talents helped propel the band Queen to the top of music charts and created a loyal fan base around the world.

Sadly, the world lost that voice when Mercury died of AIDS at age 45. For decades, most of us have assumed we'd heard all the music we were going to hear from him.

However, according to Yahoo! Entertainment, remaining Queen members Roger Taylor and Brian May announced this summer that they had found a never-released song they'd recorded with Mercury in 1988 as they were working on the album "The Miracle."



“We did find a little gem from Freddie, that we’d kind of forgotten about,” Taylor said in June, according to the BBC. "It's wonderful, a real discovery. It's a very passionate piece."


That "little gem" is a four-minute ballad called "Face It Alone." Queen released a lyric video of the song on its YouTube channel, and it's bringing fans to tears.

The lyrics are particularly heart-wrenching, considering the timing of the song's recording. Mercury was reportedly diagnosed with HIV in 1987, though kept it a secret from the public and even from many who worked closely with him until shortly before his death.

Comments have poured in from around the world in multiple languages, and the sentiment is universal—people are deeply moved.

"Over 3 million views in one day. To hear Freddie's voice again is so special. You live forever, darling. The song is heart breaking but then again, Queen's songs are from the heart and that can never go wrong. Thank you to all who made it happen." – sweet pea

"One day Freddie said: 'I won't be a star,I will be a Legend'And yes we all agree, he STILL REMAINS A LEGEND even after 31 years after his death. AMAZING." – Gloria Sousa

"Freddie’s vocal is killing me same today as 20 years ago. Thank You Queen for this amazing gift after so many years. We love You." – Adrian Kufel

"What to say?? A great magnificent surprise. All I know is that I cried the moment I heard this voice, these words.... Only Freddie. Love this man for eternity.. It seems as if he returned briefly to us!! To send us a message... What a beautiful present for all his fans, for this generation that has had the impact of the pandemic, this strange war, these strange times. So happy and touched to hear this now. Thank you Queen... Thank you Freddie forever !!!" – Fern 19671

"So great to see all the Freddie and Queen fans here today celebrating this song and Freddie's amazing voice. I love how much Freddie is still treasured. I remember the day he passed away, how I cried. It's like a gift to get this new song and have his song playing loud throughout the house today. We all love you dear Freddie." - Sarah-Louise ASMR

Mercury was truly a legend in his own time, and hearing his voice anew almost makes it feel like he's time-traveled to the here and now. What a lovely gift for Queen fans everywhere.


This article originally appeared on 10.14.22

Representative Image from Canva

Every parent should know about this game. Many have experienced it as kids.

Nurse and mom Jinny Schmidt wants parents to be aware of a game that’s circulating amongst tweens right now, because it’s not a game at all.

In a PSA posted to her TikTok, Schmidt shared that her daughter informed her that boys in her class were beginning to play what she called “The Firetruck Game.”

As Schmidt begins to describe what the “game” entails, it’s easy to see why she’s concerned. All parents should be.


Here’s how the game works: a boy puts his hand on a girl’s lower thigh. And he tells her “my hand is a firetruck” as he slowly moves it up her leg. When the girl gets uncomfortable, she is supposed to say “red light.” Except for when the girl says “red light,” the boy responds with “sorry, firetrucks don’t stop for red lights.” And so they run their hand all the way up the girl’s leg, Schmidt explains, and sometimes they “touch the girl’s crotch.” Yikes.

Many viewers noted growing up with the Firetruck Game, or a version called “The Nervous Game,” or “Red Light Green Light.” Suddenly The “Squid Game” version of “Red Light Green Light” doesn’t seem so bad.

No matter what it’s called, though, it’s touching without consent, and is inappropriate on so many levels, not least of which being that it’s an excuse for sexual assault. Hence Schmidt’s alarm.

“I know that kids will be kids and kids will do some stupid shit, But we’ve got to do better teaching our boys to keep their hands off of other people and teaching our girls that it’s okay to have boundaries,” she says, before asking parents to “be aware” if they hear their kids talking about it.
@the.funny.nurse Y’all gonna see me on the 6 O’clock news. #jrhigh #kids #tween #preteen #parents #moms #momsoftiktok #dads #dadsoftiktok #teacher #teachersoftiktok #publicschool #school #firetruck #firetruckgame #firetruckgameawareness #girls #boys #game ♬ original sound - Jin-Jin

And she is, of course, absolutely right. Folks who watched her video wholeheartedly agreed that the behavior should not be tolerated, and many shared some pretty intense, although warranted, reactions to it.

“We’d be playing a game called Ambulance next,” one person wrote.

“Press charges,” said another.

“We have a game also. It’s called ‘oops I broke your finger,’” a third added.

But many also chimed in to say that they would be talking to their kids immediately about it, which is probably the best route overall. That way kids can protect themselves, and others around them.

Middle school years in general are pretty rough. They can be just as difficult to navigate for parents as they can be for the kids going through it. It’s painful to watch your still baby-faced child go through many of the same awful pains that you did, many of which are unavoidable. But some things, like terrible and abusive games, can be avoided. So make sure to have those important conversations when you can.


This article originally appeared on 4.11.24

Woman asks employers for transparent salary ranges

Job hunting isn't something that most people enjoy, especially if they're trying to get out of a toxic work environment. When people are trying to move up the ladder, or simply want to be paid what they're worth. They relay on the salary ranges provided by companies to gauge what salary to request.

Clear salary ranges also allow people to know if the job is worth applying and interviewing for. If the budgeted range is well below what the candidate's current salary, then transparency around the salary gives people a chance to make an informed decision. Jess Goodwin, who, according to her Threads bio is "perpetually looking for work," shared her frustration on the app about companies not including their salary ranges on job listings.

The job seeker explains that she applied for a job without a salary listed against her better judgement because it's a remote position and sounds like fun. Since the application was simple, she applied. The next day she was reminded why she typically skips postings like that.


Goodwin quickly receives the forms for the next step in the process the following day. While looking over the form she sees the expected salary which was a whole $30k less than what she listed as her expected salary for the position.

"I genuinely don't understand the thinking here. Why bother to ask for an applicant's desired salary if you're going to disregard it? Why not include the salary in the job description to begin with if you're going to mention it in the next step in the process? Do you really want to sift through more applications than you need to? Do you think someone's just going to be like 'actually $30K isn't that big of a deal,'" Goodwin writes.

Post by @thejessgoodwin
View on Threads

In the end, the woman emails the company's HR department to decline moving forward in the process. A lot of other people agreed with Goodwin's frustration about the lack of transparency in job postings.

"That’s awful but typical corporate con artist behavior these days. They don’t even try to act with integrity. My favorite is when they post a salary range of $52,578 - $199,000," one person shares.

"If the pay isn’t listed in the job posting it’s because it’s so low no one would apply for the job if it was listed. I’ve got a great job that I love and pays me fairly now. But that’s the rule of thumb I’ve always used when looking for jobs. If the pay isn’t posted don’t waste your time," someone else contributes.

"I agree. Our HR dept never would provide the range on a posting. Some applicants stated their minimum (and yes often it was more that I made). When I narrowed applicants for interview, I would give them the salary range when setting up the interview. It doesn’t waste their or my time if their target salary isn’t in the range," a commenter writes.

The comments were overwhelmingly in favor of employers being more open about the salary range. Some people complained about not finding out the salary until the end of an interview which often ended with the presented salary being much lower than their current salary. Maybe employers will take note of Goodwin's request for transparency and update their policy to include salary transparency.