The presents have been unwrapped. Stockings unstuffed. The holiday feasts have been digested. This year’s holiday season is coming to a bittersweet end, as we move onto the next stage of life and a new year of growth. But what are we going to do with all the junk leftover? There’s the endless amount of bows and ribbons, the towering pile of wrapping and paper, and, of course, the beautiful Christmas tree. (We’re going to assume you all followed our advice and got a real one!)
Most people turn to just dumping out all the leftover wrapping supplies and simply throwing out the tree. To them, what can you honestly do with some ripped up paper and an old, dead tree? Well, more than you think.
First off, if you don’t have the time or energy to actually reuse the wrapping paper, RECYCLE IT! Any cardboard gift box can be easily broken down and recycled as well. Unfortunately, only the plainer of wrapping papers can actually be recycled with your mixed paper. Paper that is dyed, laminated, or contains glitter cannot be recycled. Don’t let their pretty exterior fool you.
So if you fell for the wrapping paper covered in purple glitter (I don’t blame you), there are still tons of ways you can re use it and stay green.
Here is a small amount of the many uses of left over wrapping paper:
- Line your drawers with the paper. (Saves your clothes and cash!)
- Use the paper to wrap around fragile ornaments when going back to storage.
- Make cute holiday coasters with some stiff cardboard, glue, and the paper of your choice.
- Use the paper to decorate your own handmade holiday cards instead of wasting your money. – Shred the paper and use it instead of packing peanuts for packages
- Wrap the paper around tin cans and use to store pens, pencils, & scissors.
- Make a bookmark
- Protect your books.
When it comes to the leftover tree, you can easily recycle it as well! In Fairfax County, all Christmas trees less than 8 feet tall can be recycled at the curb in Fairfax County during the first two weeks in January at no additional cost. If your tree is larger, you must contact your trash collector for more details.
However if you want to use the tree for your own personal benefits, cut it up and chip into mulch for your garden, or use it as firewood to keep you warm all year round.
A more creative route would be to set it up in the yard and hang it with bird feeders to use both decoratively and environmentally.
The holidays can be stressful, but don’t let the ‘leftovers’ overwhelm you. Stay green even after the holidays and for the rest of the year because, who knows, it might keep you off the naughty list.