The Christmas tree is staring me down. It's a week and a half after Christmas, and I'm feeling the guilt of not having taken down my decorations.
Each year, I'm faced with the question of now what? What can I do with the decorations I'm not in love with, the Christmas cards I'd gotten or the tons of Christmas bags my kids received?
The truth is, I can reuse or recycle most of them.
While you've likely heard of Christmas tree recycling in your neighborhood (it usually is tied with trash pickup), you can also recycle your dying Christmas lights as well. You can mail old lights to organizations such as HolidayLEDs.com or Christmas-Light-Source.com. The copper, glass and plastic can be stripped and recycled. You could also extend the usefulness of your Christmas lights by using them in your garden with a cold frame. ]
Your unwanted Christmas ornaments can be donated instead of trashed. A domestic violence organization I work with locally collects Christmas decorations in good condition to help spruce up survivors' new homes.
Have a live wreath? Toss it in your compost bin or use the needles for mulch.
You can reuse your greeting cards in a number of ways:
My husband's aunt introduced me to the idea of using previous year's cards as holiday gift tags.
You can repurpose them into new cards. You can do this yourself, have your kids do it or send them to St. Jude's Ranch.
You can use them for kid art.
Gift bags can find a second, third, fourth or fifth life by being reused as long as they remain in good condition. If you're feeling crafty, you can just add a little reinforcement to keep the life up.
Hang on to your leftover wrap. Whether it's bows or paper in good condition, you can reuse them for next year.
While gift boxes can be recycled, they can also be stored for next year (unless you're dying to buy more) or find a new life as a children's art project or diorama.
OK, now I know I have no excuse not to clean up...