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If there's one thing you can count on each Christmas, it's that you'll be up to your neck in...stuff! Santa hats. Christmas cards. Tree lights. The urge to purge can be overwhelming. So we racked our brains to come up with innovate ways to reuse items from Christmases past.

Christmas lights, string lightsString lights are great for illuminating outdoor spaces year-round. Photo: visual.dichotomy, Flickr

We all have strings of bum lights lying around. Maybe a few of the bulbs have burnt out; maybe more than a few. Instead of tossing that old string of lights this year, use them to illuminate things other than the tree.

-- Holiday decor:
Wrap a string of lights around a candle holder for festive tabletop decor, fill a basket with Christmas balls or pine cones and wind the light up through it for a pretty soft glow, or thread them around a wreath (you won't be able to notice a few unlit bulbs when they're all bunched together).

-- Year-round lighting: After Christmas, of course, you can use strings of lights to illuminate everything from a window sill to a deck, wrap them around an otherwise unsightly structural beam, or use them to illuminate dark spaces like the basement, attic or even a book case?

-- Jack-o-Lantern illumination: Those lights are also a nice way to light a jack-o-lantern at Halloween time – line the bottom of the pumpkin with foil and lay the lights on it. String the plug through the back of the pumpkin and plug it into the wall – no open flames!

-- TV backlight: Another great use: run a string of white Christmas lights along a TV console provide just the right amount of soft backlighting for TV watching.

Santa hat, Christmas decorationsGive your Santa hat some new uses. Photo: Getty Images


Santa hats are good for more than just plopping on your head (or your baby's or pet's head, although they do look very cute there!).

-- Impromptu stockings: If you're short on stockings to hang by the chimney with care, flip a Santa hat upside down and thumbtack it from the mantel instead (use a small nail, like a brad, if a thumbtack won't keep it in place). There's plenty of room inside a Santa for all of those gifts and goodies.

-- DIY tree skirt: Or if you've decided on a miniature Christmas tree this year, cut off the pom pom and make a hole in the top of a Santa hat, then use it as a tree skirt.

-- Christmas light storage: After Christmas, use Santa hats to keep your Christmas tree lights wrangled and untangled. First wrap the string of lights around a piece of cardboard (cut up an unwanted gift box) so it won't end up in knots, then tuck it inside the hat.

Christmas ballsIngenius idea: Use Christmas balls as vases year-round. Photo: CasaSugar

After your Christmas tree is packed away, you can still use glass and metal Christmas balls for a variety of things throughout the year.

-- Festive vase: Our friends over at CasaSugar inspired us to use Christmas ball and use it as a vase! Just remove the metal hook at the top and glue the ball to flat base; CasaSugar recommends a small mirror, which you can find at any craft store.

-- Unexpected candle holder: Using the same method as you did for the vase, use a Christmas ball as a candle holder, providing you can find taper . They add a great splash of color and sparkle on a tabletop or buffet. If the Christmas ball colors don't match your current scheme, use can easily use glass paint or glitter plus spray adhesive to revamp them.

-- Critter deterrent:
If you just don't like the balls anymore, save them for summertime. And here's a great summertime use for metal Christmas balls: hang them on your fruit trees; the clanging sound of the metal in the wind will keep hungry birds at bay.

tree skirt, Christmas treeGive an old tree skirt a second chance this Christmas. Photo:


If you bought a new tree skirt this year, don't toss the old one; reuse it!

-- Christmas wreath:
Wrap the skirt around a piece of doughnut-shaped craft foam. Use hot glue to hold the skirt in place: instant wreath!

-- Throw pillow: Got two tree skirts you don't want? Turn them into a throw pillow by sewing them together and stuffing your new pillow cover with a round pillow insert (score inexpensive pillow inserts at any craft store).

-- Ornaments and coasters:
Don't be afraid to snip up an old tree skirt. You can use pieces of the festive fabric as Christmas tree ornaments or festive coasters.

Christmas cards, holiday cardsUse old Christmas cards for a variety of craft projects. Photo: julep67, Flickr

Despite the popularity of digital greeting cards, paper Christmas cards are a tradition that probably won't vanish any time soon. So what should you do with all those Christmas cards you receive once the holidays have come and gone (other than recycle them, of course)? Take advantage of the beautiful, festive art by snipping the covers off of all your Christmas cards at the end of the season and making holiday decorations out of them for next year.

-- Paper holiday decorations: Try punching holes in the card covers and using ribbon to string them around your windows.

-- Tabletop decor: Decoupage Christmas card covers into serving trays or coasters, or laminate them in groups and use them as placemats at the holiday table.

-- Bits and pieces: If you're feeling extra crafty, cut them up to use as gift tags, into fancy shapes to use as tree decorations, or into bits to create a cool holiday wreath.

What new uses can you think of for popular Christmas items?

  • Mary

    I always burn a pine candle in the summer, cuz I love the smell of pine and it reminds me that Christmas is coming soon.

  • Sparkina

    Use MINI ball ornaments to make pretty earrings (attach to earring hook) or ponytail fasteners (attach to hair elastic). Also, use tinsel as a sparkly border for a mirror or a picture frame, or tie a piece of tinsel to a plain hair elastic for a fancy ponytail fastener/bracelet.

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