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Fun Ideas for Recycling Holiday Wrapping Paper

Updated on September 8, 2014

Our Christmas Tree

I love our tree's eclectic mix of hand-made ornaments, old family heirlooms, mini musical instruments and eccentric collectibles. See the Yellow Submarine?
I love our tree's eclectic mix of hand-made ornaments, old family heirlooms, mini musical instruments and eccentric collectibles. See the Yellow Submarine?

Creative Christmas Recycling

Christmas Day ends in a glorious mess of paper, ribbons, bows and debris. What do you do with all of this junk? Well, my family has a few holiday traditions to save the environment as well as our living room floor.

You'll need a couple of cardboard boxes and an old flat box like a holiday card box, plus enough room for storage, but you'll be grateful for the declutter. Plus, when that package doesn't arrive until the day before Christmas, you'll always have paper and bows on hand for an emergency "wrap session."

P.S. Speaking of decluttering, a tip: use a small wastebasket to stand rolls of wrapping paper vertically in the back corner of a closet.

1. Bows That Can't Be Crushed

Holiday cards: cut the front off and save in a flat box. Next year, tape them to the front/top of gifts you're mailing, to provide pretty decorations. No more squashed bows!

I started doing this when I moved away to college, as a simple way to decorate presents gift-wrapped inside the boring shipping box. Throughout the year, I also keep an eye out for decorative tags or other flat ornaments.

2. Creative Gift Tags

Holiday cards: my family has a fun tradition. We cut the blank parts of holiday cards and fold them to make tags for packages.

For the tags, instead of just writing things like "To Dad from Ellen," we choose imaginary sendersto match each gift. For example, "To Dad from Doctor Who" might be for a clock, since that show is about time travel. I've gotten necklaces from Galadriel and astronomy books from Galileo and DVDs about ancient Egypt frm Ramses the Great.

Christmas gift unwrapping is an all-day affair for us, because we have to try to guess what's inside each package according to the tag's clues!

3-4: Reusing Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper: cut the edges off where the tape has marred the paper. Fold and store flat to re-wrap smaller packages like stocking stuffers.

Wrapping paper: used wrapping paper is more eco-friendly than bubble wrap or styrofoam peanuts to use as padding for fragile objects being shipped through the mail.

5: Save Bows and Ribbons

5. Ribbons and bows: we keep a box to store them. They can often be reused for several years. Or, if you have a cat, tie ribbons together with a bow on the end for a cat toy.

6. Wrapping paper, holiday cards and ribbons also make great raw materials for scrapbooking.

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