Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! But aside from the holiday spirit, Christmas comes with other stuff – decorations, presents, gift wrappers, greeting cards and festive food. Each of which adds an extra 25% of trash per year, amounting to about an extra million tons of waste each week!
Celebrating Christmas is both a privilege and responsibility. It’s a privilege to enjoy the festive spirit of the holidays and feel blessed this time of the year. It’s also a responsibility to clean up the aftermath of the event.
To lessen your stress of handling the after-Christmas clutter, you can start by reducing the level of waste you might create.
Here are eight ideas you can check out on how to cut your holiday mess!
Idea #1. Turn old greeting cards into gift tags
Even with the hype of social media as a means to communicate, most people still prefer to extend their greetings the old fashion way. They send out Christmas cards. If you’ve received one or a ton, you might hang on to them after the season is over.
You can ask yourself, “what can I still use it for? It’s not Christmas anymore, and I can’t send it away to anyone the next year.” But the answer is simple; you can turn them into gift tags for your presents the next Christmas. Plus, it can also be a fun activity for you and your family to do together after the holidays. Just cut out the front designs with enough room for a hole to be punched – as long as there isn’t anything written on the back of them. Then the backs can state “To” and “From” for next year’s gifts.
Idea #2. Recycle your natural Christmas tree
The most practical way to cut holiday clutter involving Christmas trees is to buy an artificial one. You can always set it up, decorate, tidy up, then put it up again the next year.
If you have a real tree, it’s a great thing to recycle. Several companies and councils can collect it for you, they even collect artificial trees! The real trees can be shredded and be used as fertilizer for other plants.
Idea #3. Reuse shopping bags
Naturally, reusing shopping bags or utilizing eco-friendly bags should be done any time of the year, but amplified during holiday seasons. It will reduce the number of plastics thrown away. It will be a big help for mother earth!
If you have plastic shopping bags, then make a wreath with them! That is a fun project for the kids too.
Idea #4. Donate your holiday decorations
Just in case you want a whole new Christmas look for your home the next year, don’t throw your old decors that easy. Assess first if they can be of use and appreciation to other people. If they are in excellent condition, you can donate them to charities or a thrift store.
LED Christmas lights can also be accepted for recycling and trade-in for more efficient lights.
Idea #5. Ponder on giving out handmade/personalized holiday presents
Do not keep your creativity and imagination only in your head. Translate those ideas into gifts you can personalize to express your spirit of giving. You can bake goodies and cookies, make arts and crafts, build a gift, sew, crochet or knit something for the people you love. It’s inexpensive, personalized and a keepsake – the best gift!
Idea #6. Useless wrapping accessories
Imagine the amount we spend on gift wrapping accessories like bows, gift tags and boxes that they are appreciated for just a brief moment. Consider using gift bags that can be used another time instead of wrapping paper. Save the bows and use them on other presents. Gift boxes are always needed so you can save those for next year’s gifts, too.
Idea #7. Recycle wrapping paper
The majority of wrappers are not recyclable, especially if they are foil and metallic paper-made. For wrapping papers that can be used the next year again, you can save the nice paper from large presents to use again on smaller size ones. You can also save it for your child’s art projects.
Idea #8. Consider giving out gift certificates
Gift certificates are good for those who don’t seem to need anything. Consider a gift certificate for dining out, the movies, or even an activity like bowling or snow skiing. If you know someone who loves to shop at a particular store, you could get a gift certificate for that store. If you have a college student, you might consider giving them a gift certificate for gas so they can come home more often, or for their favorite restaurant.
Give Mother Earth the gift she deserves without the excess waste added during the holidays! We need to step up and be responsible for our (environmental) footprint, as it is called. Minimize your holiday clutter and celebrate Christmas with a cleaner planet! If you need a hand in tidying up your home afterward, you can search for trusted professional cleaning services to help you out!