Recycling Christmas

Recycle Arrows-wRecycling Package_RGBWith the surplus of “things” you’ve accumulated from the holiday comes the task of cleaning up, storing, or throwing away. In our house, the tree and decorations came down last Saturday. We had bought a variety of new decorations this year to give our previous Santa tree a new theme. New lights, new ornaments, and even new beads were purchased, all of which would need a new space for storage in the basement over the next 11 months. And that got me to thinking about this post!

If you are like me, you either try to keep the original packaging (which usually gets torn or it never fits going back in) or you stock up on those giant plastic tubs that Wal-Mart has on the main aisle right now to get you thinking about this very purpose!  Hopefully, you label the tubs or at least take the time to store away decorations neatly so they don’t get damaged.  We even put our Christmas tree into plastic tubs last year and got rid of it’s cardboard box to make the storage area in the basement cleaner.

So here are some other fun and creative ideas for storing away holiday items and “recycling” Christmas:

  • If you have got lots of those plastic treat containers and cookie tubs with lids, use them to store away strings of beads or plastic ornaments.  We save those red plastic Folgers Coffee containers for various purposes and used them this year for our strings of beads. I also use a Country Crock butter tub for ornament hooks.
  • Save the long cardboard gift wrap rolls to wrap strings of lights  or beads around. These are also perfect for wrapping curling ribbon around or decorative ribbon you put on your tree.
  • Don’t throw all that torn gift wrap away. If you have a fireplace, save it for starting the fire.  Or save a bag of it for camping next summer and use it for starting the campfire. Excess pieces of paper are also good for craft projects. Who doesn’t have those few inches left at the end of a roll?
  • Do you have a surplus of uneaten fruits and nuts that might go bad?  Use them as food for birds and squirrels this winter.
  • Here’s an obvious one: reuse gift bags for gifting next year!
  • If you have those over sized plastic gift bags for wrapping larger items like teddy bears and bikes, use them to wrap and store decorative items like wreaths, dolls, or larger items that don’t have a box. We have three feet tall Santa dolls that get wrapped in trash bags each year because they didn’t come with a box.  We also have a fuzzy Santa wreath that we like to wrap up for storage so it doesn’t get dusty.
  • Greeting cards make fun craft projects like decoupage. I like to cut out images from the front of cards and use them to make name tags for next year’s Christmas gifts. You could also make Christmas ornaments and turn it into an activity for a tree in a child’s room.
  • Use old light bulbs for craft projects. There’s lots of cool ornament bulb craft ideas on Pinterest.  I noticed lots of drop off receptacles at retailers like Wal-Mart and Home Depot this year for old strands of lights too.

So there you have it!  Some quick and useful ways to “recycle Christmas” this year.  Feel free to share some of your ideas in the comments. I’d love to hear them!

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