Ever since I was a little girl, Santa would bring a few unwrapped gifts each year. Walking downstairs on Christmas morning to see what he left for me underneath the tree was one of the highlights of the holiday season. What would have made that experience just a bit more special for me would have been a little mystery! One year Santa had a little extra time on his hands, and he wrapped our presents, and I loved it. Guessing at what was inside made for an interesting morning that year. Had gift sacks been popular then, I think this would have made Santa’s job a little bit easier, and now that I’m a mom, I know Santa appreciates an easier task! Today, gift sacks that us crafters refer to as “Santa Sacks” are all the rage for helping Santa “wrap” presents. Nearly every crafter has tried their hand at creating them, and they can be found in the holiday décor sections in many retail stores. They are popular because they make for a truly unique family tradition that can last for years. If you are new to the crafting world and have not yet encountered them, they are essentially an oversized canvas, cotton, or burlap sack or laundry bag that are typically reusable year after year. The message on the sack may say something like “Overnight Delivery for Austin, to arrive on December 25.” Santa adds his presents to the sack and leaves it under the tree (or by the fireplace, foot of a child’s bed, etc)
Christmas traditions vary family to family, but when these bags began to gain popularity a few years ago, I just knew my own family would be making them a tradition for years to come. My son is now 3 years old, so even though we have used his sack since his first Christmas, this year will be the first year that he understands Christmas and knows what they are. He knows that Santa will bring him a gift or two in his sack, and he is already counting down the days. He hasn’t asked me why our house is full of other little boy’s and girl’s sacks yet, but when he does, I will tell him I work for Santa and help him make the sacks!
To create these bags, you can use a drawstring bag of some kind or you can purchase a pre-made one. I’ll touch on the pre-made sacks a little bit later, but I will focus on creating your own using designs available at our sister site, The Hungry JPEG. To start, you will need a blank bag. My favorite to use for this project are laundry bags that have an over the shoulder strap and a drawstring closure. You can find them at many local stores in the laundry section or online. I have personally ordered the laundry bags sold by Tote Bag Factory, and they are superb quality. Next, you will need some heat transfer vinyl, a heat press or an iron, and a design. I like to use two colors on my sacks, but it all depends on the design and what look you are going for. You can even make the writing on your sack pop with glitter heat transfer vinyl!
Measure your sack and resize your design in your Silhouette or Cricut software accordingly. If your sack is jumbo sized, your design may be larger than your mat, so you would need to cut it in sections. Also, account for the space that will rest on the floor when the sack is filled, especially if the child’s name will be added at the bottom. If you’re not sure, add a couple of pillows to the sack to see where it will rest on the floor, and cut your design so the vinyl will be applied above that area. After cutting the vinyl (don’t forget to mirror it!), simply apply to the bag the same way you apply heat transfer vinyl to t-shirts. The settings you will use are dependent on the type of vinyl you are using and what material your sack is, so there is no one magic number, and trial and error will be required if you are new to pressing transfers. Use the manufacturer’s default settings to start and readjust accordingly. If you don’t have a heat press, an iron will work just as well, but it will take just a tad bit longer to complete your project since you will need to apply the vinyl in sections.
Everyone loves personalized items, so these would be a hit for any recipient. This design is shown on a cotton laundry bag, and it can be personalized for each child. You can purchase the design here: https://thehungryjpeg.com/product/19586-christmas-santa-sack-svg-dxf-eps-png/
Burlap sacks are another option if you prefer a more rustic look. These have been a hit with my cousins! Design available here: https://thehungryjpeg.com/product/18964-santa-sack-svg-dxf-eps-cut-file/
Some laundry bags are also available in canvas, making canvas my go-to material when choosing a bag. Canvas is typically thick and very sturdy, but because of the higher quality, expect to pay a little bit more for these bags. Also, if you are looking for a design that does not require a child’s name, this is a must-have design! I have had requests for bags for adults, and this one would be perfect. See the design below on a canvas laundry bag, and purchase it here: https://thehungryjpeg.com/product/36796-northpole-santa-sack/
Lastly, not all gifts are big! If Santa is bringing a small gift this year, these oversized bags would of course be too large. You can improvise by using any number of small bag options. Favor, burlap, and tote bags all come in varying sizes. Craft stores carry many of these options, and you can likely find a size that will fit your needs there. In the below example is a small red burlap cinch bag. Add your design to it, and you’ve got a smaller version of this year’s hottest trend! Grab the design here: https://thehungryjpeg.com/product/20292-santa-is-coming-to-town-santa-sack-design/
I do want to touch a little bit on pre-made Santa Sacks before I end. In a nutshell, purchasing sacks that are 90% completed and just require personalization are a cost-effective way for you to save time and money. You can find these pre-made sacks in many Facebook groups as group buys, Ebay, Amazon, or even screen printed by a small business owner. Every year for the last three years, I have had my personal Santa Sack design screen printed by a printer I work with regularly. I then sell my pre-made sacks to other crafters and small business owners, and I also create the finished product for my customers using those sacks. Doing it this way and having the design pre-printed saves me so much time and energy, and during the holiday season, we all know time and energy are minimal! This method does cost a little bit more since they are USA-made, but I am a firm believer in supporting local businesses whenever I can, and if I were to outsource this project to a Chinese manufacturer like so many people do, the quality can suffer (as many of us can attest to when we purchase mass-produced products from overseas!) I would much rather spend a little bit more and know I am getting a quality product, but I know sometimes that is not possible for everyone, and not everyone holds this view.
Santa Sacks are very popular among group buy groups on Facebook. The buy hosts purchase a bulk order of sacks for a lower cost than ordering individually, and then they pass those savings on to all those individuals who participated in the buy. Most of the time, these sacks are purchased from Chinese manufacturers. Not all of these manufacturers create quality products, and many times the wait time for a bulk order to ship can be weeks and even months. It is very important to do your research! Read reviews whenever possible and join some of the Review groups on Facebook and do a quick search for your product and buy host. It’s practically a daily occurrence for me to log in to my Facebook account and read a post that someone ordered Santa Sacks months ago and has not received them yet. Sometimes it is the fault of the buy-in host, but many times it is the fault of the manufacturer. I am also a firm believer that you get what you pay for. I know it sounds harsh, but when you purchase a Santa Sack for $3.50 and expect perfection, you may be disappointed. Spend a little extra and look for quality! I’m a bit biased about this because I rarely order anything from overseas. I tend to gravitate towards USA vendors to do business with. I can’t stress enough how important it is to do your homework!
One last thing I think is important to mention is the importance of watching out for knock-offs. Because USA trademark and copyright laws do not extend to the rest of the world, overseas factories are notorious for copying designs that are created by USA designers and adding them to their own products. Mud Pie is a very well-known clothing and gift company in the USA. Their designs sell well, and overseas manufacturers know that. Their designs are added to products daily without their consent. The Chinese factories producing these knock-offs can legally sell them since USA laws do not apply to them. However, when a USA-based business or individual purchases that product, Mud Pie can then legally act against that business or person for selling an item. Mud Pie’s Santa Sack designs are being sold in many buy-in groups illegally because a knock-off was purchased from overseas. So be careful, and research the design before purchasing pre-made sacks.
To end, enjoy the holiday crafting season! Jump on the Santa Sack bandwagon and create some lasting traditions for your family and friends. And if you sell products at shows, let me leave you with this: the way you display your sacks is important. Don’t just hang an empty sack off your table. Create a display that people will gravitate towards, like this fake fireplace, complete with stockings and sacks. I recently participated in a trade show and used this as my display. People would stop by my booth because they saw the fireplace. It was a conversation starter and brought people into my booth to shop.