NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If you noticed that your Christmas lights just aren't twinkling anymore or there is no longer yule in your tree, you might be tempted to tear it all down and kick it to the curb.
Throwing your old Christmas trimmings away may sound appealing, but adding junk to the landfill isn't ideal when you can recycle.
MainStreet has compiled a list of how you can discard your old holiday décor sustainably:
1. Dealing with the tree. One of the biggest chores is taking down the ultimate symbol of Christmas, the tree. "The best way to get rid of a real tree is to find a local landscaper or recycle center and offer it up as mulch," says Sharon McRill, president of The Betty Brigade. "It'll help fertilize the soil and won't be a fire hazard any longer."
2. The fake tree. "If you've got a fake tree that you're looking to get rid of, think about holding onto it until next season," says McRill. "Unfortunately almost every donation center is full of old fake trees and can't spare the room for any more. The best time to donate a fake tree is before Christmas." Can't wait? McRill advises to contact your local recycle center, which may have the means to break the tree down.
3. "Your little lights aren't twinkling, Clark!" If you've found that your lights no longer work or you're just tired of them, McRill says that your local Best Buy store or a scrap metal center may take them. HolidayLeds.com will also take your lights. "They'll even get you a discount of 15% for the purchase of new lights on their site," says Jon Lal, founder of BeFrugal.com.
4. Wrapping paper. Most people use the same wrapping paper year after year, but if you're a person who wants fresh paper next year, donate your scraps to your local craft store such as The Scrap Box, says McRill.
5. Gifting holiday cards. Many people don't send them anymore, but if you received holiday cards in the mail this year, you can donate them to a great cause. Kids at the St. Jude's Ranch for Children recycle the front of the used cards by attaching a new back creating new green greeting cards for sale. "Children receive payment from the proceeds of the sale as well as a wonderful lesson in the importance of recycling," says Debbie Andersen of pineapplesandpalmtrees.com. "In addition, sale proceeds further support St. Jude's services and programs." Mail to:
St. Jude's Ranch for Children Recycled Card Program 100 St. Jude's Street Boulder City, NV 89005
6. Swap with friends: Love your neighbor or friend's ornaments that she's tired of? Lal advises to have an ornament swap. If you have sentimental ornaments your kids made that you may not want any longer, put those back for them, or if they're already grown, give them to them as a gift for their own tree.
7. Create a new look. You don't necessarily have to purchase a whole new look, you can create one at home. "My fake green tree worked for me for several years, but eventually it bored me," says Julie Gallagher of learnyourchristmascarols.com. "Inspired by Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra and their performance of 'A Marshmallow World,' I went for candy land fantasy. I spray-painted the tree hot pink, spray-painted the fake garland white and used my giant collection of shiny bright ornaments."
--Written by Kerri Fivecoat Campbell for MainStreet