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10 Recycled Christmas Decorations & Homemade Gifts Anyone Can Make

Making DIY recycled Christmas Decorations is a fantastic opportunity to slow down, spend some time with your family and friends, and avoid the consumerist trappings of the holiday season.

Using waste materials to make these crafts (a.k.a. upcycling) is even better. It means that we aren’t producing more garbage in our celebration, nor are we spending money to buy decorations we could easily make ourselves. But still, we’re fully embracing the festive spirit of  the season.

In our opinion, making homemade Christmas decorations and gifts just feels right. It captures the essence of the holidays, our homes, and ourselves. It means more, because it comes from our hearts and minds rather than our wallets.

From an environmental perspective, making DIY Christmas decorations demonstrates our respect for the planet, rather than treating its resources as if they are disposable. Just as importantly, it’s fun, and fills our holidays with joy.

10 Recycled Christmas Decorations & Homemade Gifts Anyone Can Make @greenglobaltrvl10 Recycled Christmas Decorations - How to make sheet music Angels @ greenglobaltrvl

1. Christmas Tree Crafts
             How To Make Sheet Music Angels
2. Christmas Gifts: Mason Jars
             Peppermint Crunch Dark Chocolate Cookie Mix in a Jar
3. Christmas Collages
4. Christmas Bottle Cap Pins
            How To Make A Bottle Cap Pin
5. Memory Wreath
6. Holiday Signs
7. Christmas Paper Chains
8. DIY Advent Calendar Ideas
9. Suspended Snowflakes
10. Natural DIY Christmas Decorations

READ MORE: Eco-Friendly Ways to Decorate For Christmas

Recycled Christmas cookie cutter crafts
Cookie Cutter Tree Ornaments via Pixabay


No other holiday decoration is as common and beloved as the Christmas tree. And no Christmas tree is complete without ornaments.

The best ornaments are those that come with personal memories attached. The photo of baby’s first Christmas, the casting mold someone made in kindergarten, the project from high school art class. These traditions don’t have to stop just because the kids have grown up.

There are a host of things most of us already have around the house that you can use to make recycled Christmas Tree Crafts. Scraps of yarn or thread come in handy. Old lids from jars or bottles can be painted and transformed into ornaments.

Cookie cutters, puzzle pieces, and board game parts that probably haven’t seen the light of day in years can all make cool Christmas ornaments. And old light bulbs can be quickly converted into glass baubles.

READ MORE: Real Xmas Trees vs. Fake Xmas Trees: Which is Better?

Recycled Christmas Tree Crafts -angel made from sheet music
Angel made from sheet music via Pixabay

How To Make Sheet Music Angels

There are many different ways to make Sheet Music Angels you can hang on your Christmas tree, or give to friends and family. There are tons of instructional how-to videos on YouTube, but this is one of the easiest methods we’ve found.

  • Take one piece of sheet music (you get bonus points if it’s for a Christmas song!) and fold it back and forth in accordion-like pleats.
  • Hold the folded sheet music on its side while tying a thin, 12-inch piece of string around it  two-thirds of the way down.
  • On the larger portion of the sheet music, use scissors to cut out small diamonds or other shapes, like you would when making a paper snowflake.
  • Cut a wedge in the edge of the sheet music to make a decorative fringe-like edge for your angel’s dress.
  • Take the shorter portion of the sheet music and cut it down the middle to make two wings.
  • Pull the ends of the string through the middle of the wings. Thread it through a bead for the head and a button for the halo, then make a knot to secure it.
  • Use any remaining string to make a loop so that you can hang your angel on a Christmas Tree… or anywhere that needs a little holiday magic!

READ MORE: 60 Christmas Traditions Around the World

Gift Jars, photo by beccapie via Flickr


Those of us who have learned to avoid plastic packaging, and instead buy stuff in glass jars, inevitably build up a collection beyond anything we’ll ever need.

But instead of sending them off to be recycled, why not consider turning them into Christmas gifts? It may take a little more time than buying tiny junk gifts for acquaintances and co-workers. But old jars can easily be upcycled to make nice homespun presents they’ll actually appreciate.

With a little decorative creativity, glass jars make awesome gift containers. They can be stuffed with food, such as Christmas cookies or hot drink mixes. They can be filled with holiday snacks—nuts and dried cranberries, chocolates, or sweets—and put out on the coffee table for guests to enjoy.

They can also be used as containers for sewing or shaving kits. They can be made into candles. They can be turned into snow globes. Add a bit of ribbon and a homemade name tag, and an old jar quickly becomes a memorable Christmas gift with a personal touch.

Check out this recipe and other great mason jar christmas gift ideas from The Frugal Girls…

Mason Jars make great holders for Christmas Gifts

Peppermint Crunch Dark Chocolate Cookie Mix in a Jar


  • 1 box Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate Cake Mix {15.25 oz.}
  • 1 bag Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips {10 oz.}
  • 1 quart size jar
  • Scrap ribbon, felt, left-over wrapping paper, glue, etc. for decoration


  • Pour cake mix package into your quart-sized wide mouth Mason Jar, and gently pat down the top.
  • Next add the Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips on top of the cake mix.
  • Before you put the lid on the jar, add some festive decoration like a circle cut from leftover holiday wrapping paper, then screw on the lid.
  • For an additional holiday touch, add some scrap ribbon to the middle of the jar and attach with glue dots.


Attach a label or add these instructions to the top of the jar’s lid.

  • Beat together 2 eggs and 1/2 cup Vegetable or Canola Oil in medium bowl.
  • Pour in entire contents of jar, and stir well with spoon.
  • Chill dough for 20 minutes in the refrigerator prior to baking.
  • Drop onto un-greased, non-stick cookie sheet in rounded balls.
  • Bake for approx. 8 – 9 minutes {or until done} at 350 degrees.

READ MORE: Lebkuchen Recipe (German Gingerbread)

Recycled Christmas Collage
Christmas Collage, courtesy Lauren Manning via Flickr


The images of Christmastime are a many-splendored thing, and seemingly no decoration could contain them all. Or, so one would think.

Homemade Christmas collages are a magnificent way to combine the special symbols of the season into one thematic work of art. And when it comes to making DIY collages, most of us have a whole host of waste materials on hand we can use.

Check out this YouTube video of a Christmas Collage that recycles wrapping paper, gift tags, and magazine clippings to create artful Christmas memories your family will treasure forever:

Christmas cards are a fantastic sentiment to send to friends and family each year, but they usually just end up in the garbage. The same can be said for wrapping paper. There are also lots of Christmas ads in the newspaper and magazines.

All of these items can be upcycled for making festive DIY Christmas collages. And these collages can be more than just something to hang. Consider covering the table with one, or even decorating an entire wall or door.

READ MORE: Countries That Don’t Celebrate Christmas

Make Bottle Cap Pins into Recycled Christmas Accessories


When it comes to Christmas, sometimes even the smallest gifts can make the biggest splash. Pins (a.k.a. buttons) are a perfect case in point.

Wearing a simple festive pin on your lapel or sweater has the power to bring about a smile, spread the holiday spirit, and maybe even garner a compliment or two. Homemade holiday pins are perfect to wear yourself or give as small gifts. They’re easy to create and can be made from all sorts of stuff.

With bottle cap pins, the possibilities for DIY Christmas decorations are endless. Making them only requires a safety pin and glue, and you can put the image on the outside or inside of the cap.

It can be as easy a gluing a photo of Santa (or a snowman, or a reindeer) from wrapping paper or a magazine ad. Old ornaments and Christmas decorations are another good source for inspiration, and Pinterest is littered with free-to-download images that you can use.

Artistic folks might like to paint their own seasonally appropriate images on the inside of a bottle cap. Since bottle caps can’t be recycled, you’re giving both your friends and the earth a great gift!

Recycled Christmas Decorations

How To Make A Bottle Cap Pin


  • Bottle caps
  • Recycled Christmas images, cut to size of the cap
  • Large Safety pins
  • Hammer and a small nail (like one used for hanging pictures)
  • Glue or Mod Pod
  • Dimensional adhesive (to create a raised surface and lasting protection for your pin)


  • Put a bottle cap on a piece of scrap wood (not your kitchen table!)
  • Position your nail on the inside of the bottle cap.
  • Hammer the nail through until you get a clean hole that a safety pin will fit through.
  • Repeat for a second hole on the other side, but don’t put the nail hole directly across from the first nail hole. Move the 2nd nail hole several millimeters closer, which will make it easier to thread your safety pin through.
  • Use glue or Mod Pod to add fun Christmas images.
  • Place your recycled Christmas image on your bottle cap, making sure it’s centered correctly between the two holes that you made in the top of your bottle cap.
  • After your caps have dried, thread your safety pin through the back.
  • If using dimensional adhesive, outline your holiday image with the adhesive first and then fill in the middle. If bubbles appear, you can use a lighter to burst them. Set your pins aside to dry.

READ MORE: Bret’s Bourbon Ball Recipe

 Recycled Christmas Wreath becomes a Toy Memory Wreath (tiffany terry)

Toys Wreath, courtesy Tiffany Terry via Flickr


In the world of upcycling, any project that can take lots of small things and turn them into one striking item is a project worth doing.

When it comes to Recycled Christmas Decorations, making wreaths made from repurposed materials is easy, and the results can be amazing. These wreaths can transform a lifetime of memories into  joyous holiday decor you can hang on the door.

This is the best kind of DYI project, because the only limit is your imagination. Old toys, knickknacks, ornaments, puzzle pieces, board game pieces, cookie cutters, and all manner of Christmas-themed keepsakes can be nestled together in the form of a wreath.

By attaching all of your upcycled trinkets to a themed memory wreath, you’ll be creating something new that can be proudly displayed and appreciated in an entirely different way.

READ MORE: 30 Fascinating Facts About Santa Around The World

Recycled wood becomes a Holiday Sign full of Christmas Cheer
Christmas Cheer, photo by Emma Gallagher


For those who don’t mind a little carpentry (or have become hip to the DIY pallet projects scene), scrap wood is a Christmas craft project dream.

Pallet planks are the perfect size for your source materials. But old scraps of plywood, one-by-fours, poster board, or even cardboard can also work well. Using actual wood makes the decoration look a bit classier, but kids could work on cardboard to decorate their own rooms.

The process is simple. You take a scrap of wood (varying the sizes has a nice effect), sand it, and paint it with holiday sayings or lyrics from your favorite Christmas carols.

If lettering isn’t your specialty, try simple pictures, such as a tree, a gift, or a candy cane. Otherwise, the wood can simply be Christmas colors: red and green stripes, solid red or green or white, or an abstract blend. Dot them around the house or stake them in the yard for a splash of holiday cheer.

READ MORE: The Best of Christmas in Atlanta: 40 Can’t Miss Events

Create Christmas paper chains made out of recycled materials to decorate
Christmas Paper Chains By Lance Cpl. Courtney White  via Wikimedia Commons


Some homemade craft projects are easy to do. The materials are easy to come by. And, when they’re done to a silly extent, somehow they come off looking amazing.

Christmas paper chains are most definitely this kind of craft. One paper chain looks a bit sad and anemic. But when a dozen long, colorful chains are strung around a room, it somehow magically transforms the space into a holiday wonderland.

Paper chains can be made from all sorts of recycled stuff. Materials we’ve used include newspapers, old coloring books, comics, magazines, junk mail, paper bags, spent wrapping paper, old maps and so on.

Looking to entertain children? Have them color pictures on the paper before the chains are linked together. This is a great family activity, and it’s a Christmas craft project that’s hard to mess up.

READ MORE: The Best Christmas Light Displays in Georgia

Recycled Holiday Crafts - DIY Advent Calendar Ideas
DIY Advent Calendar Ideas, courtesy Tina D via Flickr


Advent calendars are a beloved holiday tradition in many homes, counting down to Christmas Day. But they’re typically a one-use item that just creates more waste.

Instead, why not make them at home, from garbage you already have on hand? That way, the advent calendar can be themed however you like—whether it’s Santa Claus or Frozen or the Nativity—and filled with homemade treats and prizes. For  some fun DIY Advent Calendar ideas check out these suggestions below:

  1. Recycled cardboard boxes
  2. Take-out containers
  3. Toilet paper rolls
  4. Reusable tea bags
  5. Glass jars
  6. Jar lids
  7. Paper grocery bags
  8. Scrap fabric bundles
  9. Mittens
  10. Shoe organizer
  11. Small flower pots
  12. Muffin tin

Decorate them with some holiday cheer using recycled wrapping paper, ribbon, etc. Then number the containers from one to 25.

Finally, fill your upcycled advent calendar with fun stuff like hand-written jokes, holiday treats, Bible scriptures, or whatever suits your fancy. It makes the whole project more personal.

READ MORE: Mary’s Oatmeal Fruitcake Christmas Cookies

Reuse scrap paper and make Christmas Snowflakes (Leonaora (Ellie) Enking)
Snowflakes, courtesy Leonaora (Ellie) Enking via Flickr


The idea of a snowy white Christmas still feels as heart-warming as ever. But with the world actually warming due to climate change, these days those winter snows are in increasingly short supply.

Making paper snowflakes is a wonderful pastime many of us may remember from grade school (or Buddy the Elf). Like paper chains, when a dozen or more snowflakes are hanging down from the ceiling, they look pretty amazing.

Even in an increasingly paperless world, many of us find ourselves knee deep in old paper. There are flyers, bills, newspapers, magazines, junk mail, and any number of other ways paper can worm its way into our trash heap.

So instead, why not recycle your unwanted paper and use it to make snowflakes! Check out this link for awesome 3-D snowflakes, but try using homemade glue instead of tape.

Natural Christmas Crafts & Decorations - Use pinecones and greenery
Pine Cones and Candles, courtesy annie via Flickr


As the chill of winter fills the air, a lot of natural debris tends to accumulate in the yard. There are a host of twigs, pine cones, and fallen branches and logs to contend with.

Don’t send this detritus to the dump! That’s crazy, because they’re good for both the garden and for making recycled Christmas decorations. So are pine needles, and clippings from the rosemary bush.

Going natural with homemade Christmas decorations adds a simple rustic touch around the holidays. Fasten twigs together in the shape of a tree, or bind them at the ends to make stars. Fill a wooden bowl with pine cones and tufts of pine needles. Take a cool looking piece of wood and make it into a yule log.

To create a wonderful smelling wreath, snip lengths of rosemary and fold them into a circle. These miniature wreaths can be hung around the house, or use them around candle votives for an extra touch of greenery. No waste, all natural!

Recycle wood to make Christmas decorations
Candy Canes, courtesy Emma Gallagher

Using recycled waste to make homemade Christmas decorations and gifts might be the perfect thing to help us regain a sense of youthful enthusiasm for the holidays.

It doesn’t cost us much as buying new (Charlie Brown would be so proud!). It isn’t damaging the planet (Mother Earth will be so relieved!). And it pushes us full on into the thoughtful spirit of the season (Santa will be delighted!).

We’re fortunate to be able to celebrate the holidays however we like. And these easy craft projects offer a fun, yet meaningful way to show our appreciation for that blessing. Jonathon Engels&

10 Recycled Christmas Decorations & Homemade Gifts Anyone Can Make originally appeared on Green Global Travel.

This post first appeared on Green Global Travel, please read the originial post: here

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