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How to Organise Christmas Morning to Reduce the Wrapping Waste

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You can do as much as you like to wrap the presents you give in zero waste or upcycled wrapping paper and boxes, but inevitably come Christmas morning you will still end up with a heap of gift bags, torn wrapping paper, bows and ribbons that if you aren’t careful will end up in the bin!

Here are some ways I’ve found useful for organising myself on Christmas morning to make sure I reduce the waste of wrapping paper, tissue and other items. So much of it can be reused – even the ripped and torn paper and tissue!

Set up Separate Boxes

christmas morning organising tips to reduce waste

The first thing I do Christmas morning is set up some boxes of varying sizes for different types of things that are going to otherwise end up on the floor. For example I will set out either cardboard boxes or plastic storage containers and allocate them to things like gift bags, bows and ribbons, tissues, torn paper, etc. What you choose to save and how you choose to categorise them will depend on the kind of upcycler or crafter you are and what you might use the materials for throughout the year.

Here is my list:

  • Gift Bags – Christmas Themed
  • Gift Bags – Non-descript (can be used for Birthdays and other occassions – for example a sparkly silver gift bag with no images or writing)
  • Large Pieces of Wrapping Paper – Christmas Themed
  • Large Pieces of Wrapping Paper – Non-descript
  • Tissue Paper that is intact and can be reused
  • Torn Tissue Paper and Wrapping Paper – to save for Decoupage Projects
  • Bows & Ribbons
  • Gift boxes or Packaging boxes – to reuse as gift boxes, craft storage or organising cupboards.
  • Christmas Cards – I cut out the images as gift tags.

How to Store Used Wrapping Paper for Reuse

I can hear you saying gift bags are easy, they tend to look fine even after a few uses, but wrapping paper? Even if it isn’t torn its often crinkled and doesn’t look its best.

This can be true. But here is the thing – I am one of those people who carefully takes off the tape and takes my time unwrapping, especially if the paper the gift is wrapped in is especially lush. That’s half the gift for me!

Depending on the size of the paper and whether I am opening a gift at home or out with friends I will either carefully fold it (if I’m out) or roll it up and secure it with a rubber band or a ribbon (if I’m home on Christmas morning). Usually that keeps the paper in fairly good order and if it doesn’t then it gets allocated to my decoupage box instead!

Depending how much you end up with you can either store it in a magazine file, repurpose an over the door shoe rack, or use a long box, either cardboard or plastic to store it until it is needed again.

How to Reuse Torn Wrapping Paper and Tissue

I reuse torn tissue and wrapping paper for decoupage projects. Especially the wrapping paper that doesn’t have obvious Christmas patterns as you can use this for so many different things.

reuse packaging as gift box
Gift Box decoupaged with Torn Tissue

For Christmas themed paper I would suggest using decoupage to cover a cardboard box that one of your gifts came in. Even if the paper doesn’t totally match you will end up with a Christmassy gift box you can reuse year after year and tie up with a pretty bow.

gift box decoupaged with old christmas paper
Photo: Instructables

You can also make Christmas decorations for next year by cutting out cardboard shapes – stars, trees, etc and decoupaging scraps of Christmas paper on top. Punch a hole through the top and use some leftover ribbon to create a hanging loop.

Lastly you could put the paper through a shredder and save a bag of shreds for packing gift hampers and boxes throughout the year.

Give yourself the Gift of an Easy Clean Up

The other benefit of course of getting yourself organised on Christmas Morning to sort your gift bags, wrapping paper and the rest as your gifts get unwrapped, is that it gives you the gift of an easy clean up. Just take your boxes up to a suitable cupboard and you can forget about them and sit down to enjoy some mulled wine and minced pies!

How do you set yourself up on Christmas morning to reduce waste? I’d love to hear your suggestions – drop them in the comments!

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organise christmas morning to reduce waste

Looking for some upcycled gift wrapping ideas? Try our Upcycler’s Guide to Gift Wrapping and 6 Ways to Reuse Packaging as Gift Wrapping.

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