When Do I Have To Take My Christmas Decorations Down and What Do I Do With Them?

By Anna Roberts

Published 1 month ago

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The '12th night' is looming which means we are in for a wild first Friday night in 2024, with the 12th night falling on 5th January 2024.


I don't know about you but I can't help feeling a twang of anxiety when an early November stroll around the aisles of any respectable discount store has me wondering... What happens to all this incomprehensibly cheap (albeit rather lovely tat) after the festive season is done?

I am told that many people change the theme of their decorations each year. Which is understandably very tempting when aisles teaming with festive trinkets are staged and arranged by category and colour - all so very lovely and inviting. 


2023's trend seemed to be the Nordic style which is actually a personal favourite of mine this time of year...Although ironically some of its fundamental principles such as using naturally found materials and styling handmade treasures have been lost in the abundance of affordable on demand products. I am in no way innocent in this having been drawn in by a rather lovely traditional father Christmas for all of £3. 


But now what? With the '12th night' upon us tomorrow, it is reportedly bad luck to take the decorations down after.


So how do we deal with all this stuff in a sustainable way that leaves our conscience clear? We dug up a few suggestions with our favourite being to host a decoration swap...Maybe this Friday evening won't be so dull after all!


Recycling Christmas decorations is not only an environmentally friendly practice but it also offers a chance to get creative and save money. With the festive season leaving behind a trail of decorations that may no longer be needed or have seen better days it's important to consider eco-friendly disposal methods. Here are some tips on how to best recycle your Christmas decorations.


Understand What Can Be Recycled

Not all Christmas decorations are created equal in terms of recyclability. For example; natural decorations like real Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands can often be composted. Unlike their decorative plastic ornament counterparts which may not be recyclable. It's essential to separate your decorations based on their materials and check with your local recycling centre about what can be accepted.


Repurpose and Reuse

Before tossing anything out consider if it can be repurposed or reused. Old Christmas lights for example can be transformed into decorative lighting for other occasions. Broken ornaments can be turned into mosaic art projects. Think creatively and give your old decorations a new life.


Many charities and thrift stores welcome donations of gently used Christmas decorations. This not only helps the environment by keeping items out of landfills but also supports good causes and can bring joy to others who might not be able to afford new decorations.


DIY Natural Decorations

If you have natural decorations like pinecones, dried fruit slices or wood pieces you could consider turning them into new ornaments. With a bit of creativity these can be painted, glittered or combined to create beautiful and most importantly eco-friendly decorations for next year.


Recycle Electronics Properly

Electronic decorations such as string lights need special attention. Many communities have specific recycling programs for electronics. These programs ensure that hazardous materials are properly handled and valuable resources in the electronics are recovered.


Host a Decoration Swap

Organise a decoration swap event with friends, family, or neighbours. This is a fun way to exchange decorations you might be tired of to gain something new-to-you with the added benefit of no waste.


Store Decorations Properly

Proper storage can extend the life of your decorations. Store them in a cool and dry place to prevent damage. Reusing original packaging or investing in durable storage containers can keep decorations safe and usable for many years. If you don't have space in your home, self-storage can be a flexible and affordable option for putting away and bringing away seasonal items. Never considered self-storage or not sure where to start?


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Opt for Eco-Friendly Decorations

When purchasing new decorations, look for eco-friendly options. These are often made from sustainable materials and are designed to be easily recycled or composted at the end of their lifespan.


Recycle Cardboard and Paper

Many decorations come in cardboard boxes or involve paper components. These materials are typically easy to recycle. Flatten cardboard boxes and ensure paper is free of non-recyclable elements like glitter or plastic before recycling.


Educate and Encourage Others

Share your recycling efforts with friends and family. Encouraging others to adopt similar practices can have a ripple effect, leading to more sustainable holiday celebrations community-wide.


Recycling Christmas decorations is a small but significant step towards a more sustainable lifestyle. By being mindful of what you buy, how you dispose of old decorations and finding creative ways to reuse, store and recycle you can enjoy the festive season while being kind to the planet. Remember; every little bit helps and your efforts contribute to a larger movement towards environmental responsibility.


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