The cards have been read, the presents have been opened, and the Christmas tree has is starting to wilt. So now what? Throw it all into the trash? No way! Considering that most of the items can be recycled, reused, or upcycled, there’s good reason to be mindful when it comes to dealing with what’s left behind from the holidays.

  Your Real Christmas Tree

If you bought a real Christmas tree this year, check with your city to see when the Christmas tree pick-up will take place (usually the first week of January). Be sure that your tree is free from all decorations and that you do not place it in a bag. Most cities recycle the trees by chipping them into mulch or wood chips and some use them to create compost. If you are curious, check with your city to see what programs they have in place for your recycled tree.

  Your Holiday Cards

Many cards are not recyclable due to the materials they were made with (plastic, metal fibres, glitter etc.) , so this is a great idea for cards of this type. I’ll admit though, I have never used this tip. Why? Because I am a card hoarder. I have a hard time parting with thoughtful cards that were written to me. If I were to get over this, I LOVE this creative project that will turn your unwanted cards into pretty gift tags.

Image Source: squidoo via naylanatural on Pinterest

  Your Unwanted Gifts

Did you receive something you don’t love? Or maybe you received the same gift twice? Donate it! Depending on what the item is, consider donating it to a shelter, a school, or a local charity.

If you are into re-gifting, there’s that too...

  Your Wrapping Paper

Like cards, most wrapping paper cannot be recycled. If your wrapping paper is still in large pieces and is not too wrinkled or ripped, these pieces can be reused to wrap future gifts. If you don't want to reuse the wrapping paper, save the large, undamaged pieces and check to see if the kindergarten classes at your child's school will accept them. Kindergarteners are constantly making crafts, so large pieces of pretty paper would be a great addition to their craft supplies.

  Your Boxes

If they are still in good condition, go ahead and re-use them. A lot of boxes ARE recyclable though (check to see if it has a recycle logo on it to be 100% sure), so if they aren’t in good conditions, throw them in the recycle bin.

  Bonus: Your Wine Corks

Many of us opened a few wine bottles over the holidays; don’t throw away the corks, save them! There are so many cute craft ideas to keep the kids busy, like this one:

Image Source: katelesterinteriors.blogspot.ca via naylanatural on Pinterest

Do you have any other ideas of how to recycle or upcycle what’s left from the holidays?

Looking for holiday inspiration? Visit the YMC Holiday Guide to find everything from sweet treats and delicious dishes to DIY décor and favourite family movies. If it’s holiday related, you’ll find it there.