recycle Christmas trees

Post-Christmas Recycling

Don’t let anything go to waste after the holidays.
As the holidays come rolling around, many people wish the Christmas celebrations would never end. And it’s not just because of the joy the holidays bring, the long vacations from work, or the time spent with relatives, either. For some people, it’s because after the parties and the unwrapping of presents comes the inevitable cleanup.
Many people are left clueless as to how and when to put away their Christmas decorations, and feel exhausted from just thinking about cleaning up after their big parties. Once January 5th comes rolling along (which says is the day to remove your decorations, as per the 12 Days of Christmas), the Christmas lights need to come off and the ornaments need to be packed away. But what do you do with the rest of your decorations?
If you have an artificial Christmas tree, then simply packing it back into its box and stuffing it back into the attic will suffice, but things can be a bit more complicated if you have a real tree. Before throwing out your tree, Martha Stewart recommends snapping off as many branches as you can to use in your garden as mulch, or better yet, take the tree to a local recycling center. There are various tree farms that offer deals to those who recycle their trees, and Michigan State University has reported that Christmas trees can be upcycled into soil erosion barriers and even habitats for fish!
Those Christmas cards also don’t need to be cluttering up your home. You could recycle them too, and rest assured knowing that you’ve helped the environment. Efforts by M&S and the Woodland Trust have established an annual Christmas card recycling program that plants a tree for every 1000 cards recycled. Just make sure that you cut out the messages and signatures from the cards before you send them over to the recycling center.
Early Childhood Ireland also notes that one ton of recycled Christmas trees has the potential to save 15 trees, and that 1,100 tons of wrapping paper is used annually. Wrapping paper can be reused in future presents, or even in arts and crafts.

Keep an eye out when you’re cleaning up after the holidays. You’ll never know what you can reuse or recycle!


Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

Check out our Books!