As Christmas draws to an end and the decorations get taken down, the reality of how much stuff we gathered over the festive period hits home. I’ve taken it all down early this year, stripping every sign of Christmas away like an ‘evil bad mummy’ (according to my 3yo) and today my living room is now restored to normal, and there’s now so much room for activities… Step Brothers quote, yo.
And for many across the UK, all of the Christmas cards, the tree and even tinsel (that’s too damaged to be used next year) will end up in the bin before, on or around the 6th January. What a waste. Surely there’s a better option than just chucking it all away? Let’s have a look at my favourite ways to keep the Christmas gubbins out of the landfill, and enjoy it all for a little longer – without the need to feel festive in Summer.
How to reuse your Christmas decorations
Christmas cards never seem to be in short supply. Millions of cards get sent each year. But Once Christmas is over where do they go? The obvious answer would be into the recycling bin but I’ve figured out a few more ways that Christmas cards can avoid that big green bin.
When the day comes to take down all of your cards, why not turn them into gift labels for next year? Simply cut out the front of the card into a sizeable shape and using a hole punch make a hole in the top. Voila, one less thing to remember when shopping next year and take up next to no room in your storage box.
My daughter’s nursery also take Christmas cards to use for sticking and making. All kids love arts and crafts and dumping a big pile of old cards into the teacher’s arms on the first day back feels amazing *smug face*. They get to deal with them and the chances are, next year your kid will have made you a card from an old one you donated. Win-win.
You could even have a go at making some cute Christmas bunting. Make a stiff template from card and use on Christmas cards to cut out triangular pictures. Hole punch holes on either wide corner and thread a ribbon through. This activity is great for kids and gives them something to look forward to using next year (along with that pesky elf).
It would be great if everyone used artificial trees each year. Buying a fake tree means that you can save money each year by not buying a new real tree, and you stick up 2 fingers to the companies that want to cut down beautiful trees just for a few weeks of prettiness. Don’t get me wrong, a real Christmas tree looks and smells beautiful. Truly Christmassy.
The classic Nordmann fir which is found in many living rooms over Christmas can be enjoyed all year round. Many smaller Christmas trees are sold with their root systems still in place and potted. This time of year is excellent for planting new trees into the garden and bringing your inside tree out may be a good idea! If you have the space in your garden and feel like you would love to enjoy your tree every day consider planting it out into your garden.
If you don’t fancy (or have the room) for a big tree, cut off it’s branches and strip it down to a ‘pole’, these poles can be used in the summer to support beans, peas and other climbing plants. Some types of evergreens can grow to over 200ft in height, so be wise when you choose your planting spot if you do decide to plant it out!
Sadly most tinsel types of decorations can’t be recycled. Even though they look like foil, the chances are they are made of plastic. Tinsel goes bald over time, and many people decide to change their decorative colour schemes. I swear down, tinsel breeds when in storage and every year when I get my decorations box out, they seem to have doubled in number (and length).
You can repurpose used tinsel as packaging for next year’s gifts! I post a few parcels at Christmas time, or I buy fragile gifts (in charity shops- so no packaging) that need a little extra protection. Stuffing tinsel in the gaps can make a huge difference at absorbing any shocks that gifts may receive in transition to their receivers, and hides the damage that the tinsel might have previously suffered.
Taking an old wire coat hanger and bending it into a circle can make the spine of a great DIY door wreath. Wrap tinsel all around it (tight) and decorate with old baubles. Again, another fun craft to make with the kids.
If the door wreath above doesn’t tickle your festive fancy, there are still some imaginative ways of giving life to your old, outdated balls!
Dip them in PVA and cover in glitter (if you’re brave), or Paper Mache and paint- I saw some awesome DIY Pokéballs (Pokébaubles) and even some traditional-looking crochet covered ones! I want to dangle some from a tree in the corner of the garden as a little sensory play area for the kids, and it might scare away some of the braver birds trying to eat my veg at the same time!
Have you made something new from any of your old Christmas decorations? Let me know in the comments!