You’ve been decking your halls and trimming your tree for years, and each season you wonder how you’ve accumulated so much holiday stuff. If you’re tired of sorting through stacks of greeting cards, old ornaments and wrapping-paper scraps, keep reading. Instead of tossing out those decorations or searching for a few more feet of storage space, try some of these creative ideas for giving new life to your old holiday items.

Ornament Clusters

As versatile as ornaments are, it’s hard to picture new uses for them when they’re surrounded by lights and tinsel on your tree. Try grouping your ornaments by color and hanging them from a piece of ribbon to create an colorful cluster of ornaments, said Lindsay Woge, owner of Fresh Heirlooms, a store that sells reused furniture and furnishings.

“A dozen mismatched blue ornaments hanging in a window can be eye-catching and elegant,” she said.

For another “upcycling” project, Woge used wire to attach transparent ornaments to a pendant-lamp frame, creating an elegant, one-of-a-kind light fixture.

Year-Round Wreath

When it’s finally time to take down the holiday wreath, don’t store it or throw it away just yet. Try stripping the wreath down to its base, whether it’s made of plain greenery, foam or natural vine. Decorate the bare base with general winter ornaments, Valentine’s Day décor, spring flowers or Thanksgiving embellishments. With a little imagination (plus pins, tacks and floral wire), you can turn your holiday wreath into a year-round door decoration.


“An old standby is to try origami techniques out on your old holiday cards or wrapping paper,” Woge said.

She uses holiday paper to make peace cranes, paper flowers, snowflakes and other folded decorations for certain holidays or year-round home accents.

If you’re looking for something more functional than decorative, fold your old cards into miniature boxes to design the perfect containers for small gifts. Worried that your creations will look too holiday-themed? The great thing about gift wrap—and many holiday cards—is that there’s usually a decorative side and a plain side, so you can choose whichever one is best for your project.

Storage Containers

Most people automatically throw out their wrapping-paper rolls without realizing that they can come in handy for storing various items. For instance, these cardboard tubes can protect your holiday lights. Put strands of lights inside the tubes and seal the ends with tape. If you’re more concerned about tangled strings than broken lights, wrap your light strands around each tube to eliminate the need for a detangling session next season.

Wrapping-Paper Coverings

Look around your home for small spaces that could benefit from a pop of color or an appealing pattern. If you have scraps of wrapping paper that you love, consider framing them and positioning them on a wall or mantle. This approach can be especially attractive if you mix and match paper from different rolls. You also can try lining the bottom of a tray or a drawer with a measured piece of paper and double-stick tape.

Even certain home furnishings can be repurposed with wrapping paper. Carrie Spalding, who runs the repurposing and upcycling blog Lovely Etc., tried her hand at using paper to make over a lampshade.

“The wrapping
 paper is printed to look like birch bark, and I simply taped it to the 
lampshade to give it a whole new look,” Spalding said.

And if you think this project works only with high-end paper, think again. Spalding used a $3 roll of wrapping paper to create the sophisticated new finish.