Now that Christmas is over, you’re probably wondering what to do with all the leftover wrapping paper, cardboard boxes, tissue paper, and even Christmas cards you’ve got lying around the house. I thought I’d pass along a few helpful ideas on how I deal with the aftermath of Christmas. The prepper in me likes to utilize everything I possibly can and believe it or not, there are quite a few ways to use all the paper products associated with Christmas gift giving… other than simply turning them into starters for the wood stove.
Garden Compost and Mulch
Shredded paper is a perfect addition to the compost bin. The bits of paper add a great deal of fiber to any composting unit. If you don’t have a shredder, you can always tear or cut tissue or wrapping paper into small pieces. (This is fun for kids, who just love to cut and destroy stuff) As for cardboard boxes, you can flatten any size of box or cut it into specific sizes and lay them in the garden for mulch. They are an excellent weed barrier. I line the rows between my plants with a thin layer of cardboard in the fall to prevent spring weeds from popping up before I’m ready to set plants in the garden.
Creating New Paper
I love the look of recycled paper and it isn’t as difficult as you might think to make it. You’ll need an old blender, a window screen, water, and shredded paper. Tear the paper into small pieces and put them in the blender with about 2 times the amount of water. I generally use warm water and allow the pieces to soak for 5 minutes before blending. Once you have a slurry of paper pulp and water, pour it onto the screen and shape it. You can make the paper thinner by using your hand or a rolling pin to flatten it onto the screen. This will also help squeeze a lot of the water out and decrease drying time. The hand-made paper will take a day or two to dry completely, and then you’ll be able to peel it off the screen and store it.
Making Gift Tags for Next Year
I like to get a jump start on next season whenever possible. I use my Christmas cards from this year to make gift tags for next year. Take a regular or wide-mouth canning lid and place it over a pretty picture or interesting saying you want to save from one of your cards. Sometimes I can get a couple of tags out of a single picture. Trace around the lid and then cut out the circle. If I’m able to cut out a greeting from the card as well, sometimes I’ll paste it on the back of the picture I cut out of the same size. This enables me to have a pretty tag with a seasonal greeting on it as well.
Leftover Christmas Paper: There’s so Much you Can Do!
ave large pieces of wrapping paper to use for next year’s packages or tear off the front of Christmas cards (ones without writing on the inside of the front flap) to send out to friends and family next year – and don’t forget this cute bookmark craft! I hope some of these ideas help you out with your paper collection from this Christmas.
How have you utilized all the paper that has accumulated in your home this holiday season?