Christmas is the day after tomorrow and before we get all sweet and emotional I’m going to tell you STOP!




When the gifts have been opened and the food is eaten up you’re faced with the massive clean.

It’s so easy to just chuck everything in bags for the bin. But STOP!

Did you know Australia is one of the highest waste producers in the world on a per person basis?

We produce more than 18 million tonnes of rubbish each year – that’s enough to fill three million garbage trucks full of compacted rubbish.


bin picture


Australians use enough plastic bags each year that if they were tied together they would stretch around the world 24 times.

Christmas cards, bags, boxes, paper and even those plastic bags can be re-used – saving you money and saving the planet, sagging under the weights of billions of tonnes of rubbish.




Pinterest is loaded with great ideas to recycle and re-use but to save you time and get you started I’ve listed a few ideas, and links, here.



  • Cut off the front of the card and glue onto cardboard to make a brand new card. My mother has been doing this for years. She often adds little embellishments to make the cards thoughtful and individual. She is so well known for her recycling efforts that friends no longer write on the back of the card picture and often even leave the envelope blank so she can re-use that too. It has never been about saving money for her, just about the planet.
  • Cut out the best part of the picture and punch a hole in the top – great as decorations or gift tags
  • For a really sweet little vintage card decoration project visit Petticoat Junktion
  • Cut the front of the card off and roll it into a cone and staple together. Cut angel wings out of another card and attach with staples or glue. Add a foam ball on top for the head, OR cut a face picture out of another card and attach it to the top of your angel.


These are a no-brainer. Treat them nicely and you can use them as gift bags next year, saving you money. If anyone scoffs at this they don’t deserve a gift as there is absolutely nothing wrong with reusing pretty gift bags.



  • Obviously, the beautiful gift boxes can be kept to re-give next year
  • Other boxes that contain gifts, such as electronic gifts, ornaments, shoes etc can be covered in the paper you’ve saved to make unique gift boxes OR
  • Spray paint them and add beads and jewels to make a treasure box or friendship box OR
  • Cover them in material and decorate as a lovely jewellery box OR
  • Cut out doors and windows to make a playhouse –check out my Halloween House to Make post for inspiration.


It’s not always easy to keep gift paper from being torn and wrinkled but any nice pieces, even small, should be saved.

  • Use it to make cards for next year.
  • Use it to make pretty angels – check out my 3 Angels That Are Super Sweet, Easy and Cheap to Make project and substitute the gold paper for Christmas paper.
  • Make tree ornaments. Cut triangles out of cardboard and glue the Christmas paper to them. Punch a hole in the top, add some ribbon, and you have a lovely tree ornament.
  • String a bunch of them together for a garland.
  • Cover just one side and use the other to write a message – instant gift tags.
  • Make a sweet little tree picture with mini rolls of paper


bin picture
These decorative and tins covered in children’s art could be covered in Christmas paper instead  Add a homemade flower pen to make the gift extra special
  • Make a beautiful collage from the small pieces, laminate and have special Christmas placemats for next year.





There are many crafts you can make with plastic bags. Lucky Ladybird Craft has a wonderful and easy project to make a sweet basket.

Instructables has a great how-to for making a plastic rug – it looks really cute and would be good in a garage, man cave or playroom.

You can find the most adorable pom pom lights at matsutakeblog

How about something for the kids – try this project to make a skipping rope at PBS Parents.

With all these great ideas and easy access to so much more, why not give our planet the gift of not giving this year and re-use what you can?

Now it’s time to get all sweet and emotional.

I really hope your Christmas day is beautiful – regardless of the weather, who you spend it with, how you choose to enjoy it, I wish you lots of happiness.

Happy recycling and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.




  • I agree that a lot of Christmas “garbage” can be recycled. I always save gift bags and reuse them. It seems wrong not to. I have never heard any complaints. I don’t really think anyone remembers or cares if they see the same bags the next year. The same for boxes. They fold flat which makes them easy to store.
    Thanks for all the great recycling ideas and inspiration.
    Happy Recycling!

    • My mother and I used to give each other the same bag year after a year as a joke – I think it was so well used it fell apart in the end. I think it’s fun coming up with ways to reuse things. Thanks for visiting and commenting. 🙂

  • Great ideas! There is a lot that we can recycle.

  • Agree with all of this, Tami! Yes, we are wasting so many resources in the name of “giving”, that it is important to raise the consciousness to get people to begin “thinking” in new and more earth-friendly ways. I rarely use plastic bags and am very vocal to point out to others when they forget to bring their bags to the store with them, leaving with 6 or 8 plastic ones filled with stuff. We have recycling here now of plastic bags and my hope is more of these bags get reused or repurposed rather than just thrown out.

    When I wrote my piece on Climate Change, this was a very big shock to see how many are still being thrown in landfill each year. Plastic water bottles too. I remember going to a gift show many years ago and one of the artisans that stood out, was a woman making hand-made Christmas cards from previously discarded cards…similar to the idea you shared in this post. We are very “over-consumerized” in our world and anything we can do to break the vicious cycle, is a step in the right direction. Thanks for sharing so many fabulous tips to get people to reconsider what their habits are and how they are using their resources. Happy Holidays! Enjoy the season..

    • Plastic bottles and bags are a when it comes to caring for the planet. It’s heartbreaking to see those pictures of animals, particularly sea life, caught up in bags. We live in a throwaway society and we need to be a bit inventive to make a difference.

  • What I love best about this blog is your desire to save the planet. who cares if we put a dent in Hallmarks profits. Hopefully with the popularity of Pinterest and many crafters emerging, many of your ideas will be put to good use.

    • There is so much beauty in this planet Roslyn and saving it doesn’t really require a lot of sacrifice, just a change in our thinking and throw away habits.Yes, it could be the humble crafters and their amazing ideas so freely shared on Pinterest, will lead the way.

  • I’m so glad you brought up recycling Tamuria. I’m already using some of the ideas and am going to bookmark to explore how I can use the others.

    I always recycle the gift bags unless they have been damaged because it does add beauty to the present inside and besides, these bags cost a fortune in the market and should be used not contributed to clutter in the house.

    Since I read a lot of books, I often use the cards and wrapping paper to create my own bookmarks and other little crafts items and often gift them along with books.

    One can also use wrapping paper cut into pieces to make mosaic designs on bottles – or glass for holding votives.

    • I love homemade bookmarks and they are an excellent way to recycle. Mosaic designs on bottles is another wonderful way to use up wrapping paper. I heard just the other day that Australia throws out 4 kilograms of paper each year. When you consider how light paper is, that number is quite horrifying.

  • This is a great post and I will share on my pages. I agree it is so important to do what we can to preserve our planet. I have been making gift tags for a while now, I actually bought a tag maker on Amazon, I not only reuse my cards but I reuse my calendars and make gift tags. I repurpose denim into wine bags and the gift tags are made with old cards, it really adds to the funkiness of my products and makes them one of a kind. Great post! I love all the ideas…and my gift bags are so old, every year I pull them out and reuse them, they bring back a lot of sentimental memories, great post! thanks

    • Ooh, I love the sound of the denim wine bags! You are clearly a consummate recycler and I applaud you for it. Too many people take the easy way out and just throw things away. I much prefer to receive something hand made, it means the giver has given me one of their most precious possessions – time. Have a great New Year. 🙂

  • There were some great ideas here! Some were even easily “crafted”! I love the idea of the Christmas card cut out and made into gift tags or tree ornaments! I will do that for this year’s cards! tx

    • Cheryl, I’m so glad to liked the ideas and plan to implement some of them. If we all did just a little bit it would make a huge difference. Have a wonderful New Year. 🙂

  • Terrific ideas!!!
    Thanks for doing a part to help save the Earth.

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