With more new designs and decorating trends available year after year, many homeowners find themselves frequently replacing their old decorations in favor of more fashionable ones. So, what can you do when you find yourself with a heap of old holiday décor? First, don’t throw them out right away. Find ways to repurpose them instead to minimize unnecessary waste going into your local landfill. Here are some ways to recycle old Christmas decorations:
How To Recycle (And Upcycle) Christmas Décor
Get the whole family involved in your initiative to have a more environmentally conscious holiday. Aside from decorating cookies and wrapping presents, everyone can enjoy working on these Christmas décor recycling projects together.
DIY Greeting Cards
Greeting cards are a huge part of Christmas. Spruce up plain cardstock from the stationery store with bits of old tinsel, ribbon, and tree garlands. Glue small pieces of holly or berry sprigs on the corners of the card. Your recipients are sure to appreciate the personal touch of your DIY Christmas cards. You can also turn them into gift tags. Cut the front half into smaller rectangles and use the blank side to write the recipient’s name.
Make Festive Centerpieces
Old, and even broken, Christmas tree ornaments make great table centerpieces. Take a tall clear vase, glass hurricane, or wooden bowl and fill with assorted tree ornaments such as balls, pinecones, and tinsel. Alternatively, you can also fill the centers of plain or undecorated Christmas wreaths.
Another idea for DIY recycled Christmas décor is to wrap lengths of old tree ribbon or bead or crystal garlands around old vases or large glass jars. Place small groups of these festive containers on console tables or shelves. Large decorative lanterns can also house old Christmas balls.
Reuse Gift Wrap for Crafting
Save gift wrap with beautiful colors and interesting patterns to use for collage-making or decoupage. Ribbons, twine, and tinsel can all be reused for various craft projects, even for other holidays. For example, a red ribbon comes in handy for Valentine’s Day DIY card making. Old feathers or tree picks make fantastic accents on gift-wrapped presents.
Decorate a Kids Christmas Tree
Get the kids in on the joy of preparing for the holiday season by giving them their own small tree to decorate. Our small Christmas trees under 6 feet are the perfect size for little hands. Give them your old ornaments to hang and encourage their creativity by challenging them to reuse Christmas cards and gift wrap as tree décor. They can cut old cards into triangles and make them into festive bunting or cut them into circles and clip them directly onto tree branches. Scraps of holiday-themed fabric can be cut and made into tree ribbons as well.
Display the tree in their bedroom or in the den. It’s a fun activity that may become a treasured tradition among the younger members of the family.
Customize Wreaths and Garlands for Donation
Making Christmas decorations from recycled materials and donating them to your local community centers, churches, or non-profit organizations is a worthy tradition to start with your kids. Many popular DIY Christmas wreath ideas include tying scrap s of old Christmas ribbon on branches and clipping small Christmas cards using wooden clothespins to create a rustic holiday wreath.
Host a Christmas Décor Swap Meet
If your ornament sets don’t show any signs of wear and tear but you want to make room for newer décor, consider swapping with your family and friends. Throw an exchange party where everyone brings an array of old but usable ornaments they’re willing to trade. To make it even more exciting, hold a blind exchange by wrapping and tagging the old ornaments with specific numbers. Take turns picking numbers off a bowl.
How To Recycle Old Christmas Lights
One of the trickier Christmas décor to recycle is light strings. Christmas lights contain bits of glass, wiring, and metal filament that qualify them as electronic waste. Once they’ve burned out or are past the point of repair, it’s safer to dispose of them properly instead of attempting to upcycle or repurpose them. Reach out to your local garbage collector to ask about how you can responsibly dispose of old Christmas lights. Some communities also have e-waste recycling centers, so it’s worth asking around if there’s one near you.
How To Recycle a Real Christmas Wreath
Fresh greenery obviously cannot be stored for next year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get more use from it after the season is over. Follow the steps below.
Step 1 | Remove the Florist Wire
Most natural wreaths are made by using florist’s wire to secure branches and foliage to a round metal frame. If you find the end of the wire, you can easily unwind it from around the wreath. Once you have all of it off, wrap it around a spool or dowel for easy access - it’ll be ready for use with new crafts or other wreath projects.
Step 2 | Recycle the Metal Ring
After you’ve removed the wire, the branches and foliage should easily come free from the metal ring inside your wreath. This metal form can be used for wreath projects for any season by securing branches, leaves, flowers, or seasonal decor to it. Alternately, most uncoated metal rings are recyclable and can be put out with your bottles and cans.
Step 3 | Compost the Foliage
Once you’ve taken the wire and frame, what remains is the natural greenery. This can be used as fuel for a pine-scented fire, composted to provide nutrients for your garden, or mulched for decorative use in flower beds.
Recycling is a great way to look at old items with new appreciation. After all, many Christmas decorations hold a special significance to your family. By turning your old decorations into something that you can still display around your house, the nostalgia of Christmases past lives on. Over time, you can even make ornament recycling part of your yearly Christmas family traditions by taking turns coming up with fun, creative ideas on what to do with old Christmas decorations.