Best Ways to Recycle Your Holiday Decorations

The holidays can be costly if you let them get ahead of you. In addition to gifts, there is also food, wrapping paper, decorations and whatever other festive traditions you take part in every year. No doubt you want to make the most of the season, but you shouldn’t go broke doing so.

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of recycling. This doesn’t just mean recycling the wrapping paper after it is torn from gifts, although you should definitely do that. There are many ways you can recycle through the holidays, both before and after, using items you already have.

“Go green (and red) this holiday season by recycling.”

You probably have everything you need
You don’t have to buy decorations to be festive. The season is inspired by colors and lights. If you are typically one to put the lights all over the house, then that is probably taken care of. Similarly, if you put up a tree every year and decorate it, then you probably already have the ornaments and lights to wrap around it.
If not, ornaments can be made easily without needing to buy anything. Put on that Santa hat and get creative!

Ornaments: When it comes to ornaments, some pretty nifty creations can be put together with little effort. For instance, makeuseof.com recommends using an old keyboard or typewriter (if you have one laying around and not working of course) to spell festive words, such as “joy” or “noel.” Then use string or a shoelace to hang them. Glue the letters in a row on your string. Voila! Also, if an old keyboard is a stretch, or maybe you prefer the way it takes up shelf space, think about Scrabble letters. Upwards letters? If you are missing some of the game pieces, that might be the perfect way to relieve yourself of keeping the game around.

Reindeer: Ornaments aren’t the only simple item to make. Wine corks can be turned into reindeer easily. Two corks (one for the body and one for the head) and some sticks (the neck, antlers, legs and tail) and you are good to go. Maybe put a dash of red paint on the nose or a piece of red cotton. After all, at least one of your reindeer should be Rudolph. And then add a little magic and they’ll be flying all over your home.

Picture frames: You probably already have pictures on shelves or walls throughout your home. Swapping the photos out with something festive is a great way to put little bits of cheer all over, according to The Dispatch/The Rock Island Argus. Not that your family photos aren’t cheerful, but it’s only temporary. Get the family together and make snowflakes with colored construction paper and put them in the frames. (Also, this trick can be done year-round—leaves for fall, etc.).

Little tree: A Christmas tree made out of coffee filters looks awesome, and it is probably the easiest thing on the list so far. Turn the filters upside down and stack them into a tree. Yep, that’s it. You’ll be amazed how cool it turns out. You will need to put a piece of foam or something at the base to prevent it from falling over, and then you can decorate it as you want. Keep in mind, this tree will be small, so don’t think your presents are going to fit underneath it.

Existing fixtures: You certainly have light fixtures in your home. Maybe they are more prominent in one room than another. According to NBC, this is a great opportunity to simply replace the bulbs. Consider a few red and green light bulbs instead of the standard. If you have a lamp post in your front yard, swap those bulbs as well. This can eliminate the need to purchase string lights, if you don’t already have them.

Wrap your gifts with yesterday’s paper.

A few notes on wrapping paper…
Wrapping paper is surprisingly expensive. Maybe not when you look at a single roll, but when you consider the amount that is used in a household, it can add up. This year, consider using newspaper instead. If you don’t get the newspaper, a couple quarters to buy a Sunday issue would be enough paper]. Also, don’t toss the paper when it’s over. If the paper is nice you should save it for next year, just like boxes or nice bags. But if you don’t have room to keep these items, you should recycle them or donate them. Places like Goodwill are for more than clothes and would love to have nice bags or paper to use, reported Inhabitat. The garbage is not even the last option – it shouldn’t be an option at all.

Basically, have fun with your holiday decorations, but don’t go broke over it. Do-it-yourself decorating can be more fun and more fulfilling. These activities will bring the family together, which is what the season is all about.

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