Christmas…. It’s the ‘most magical time of the year’, but not for the bank balance! Whether it’s buying gifts for friends and family, or finding decorations to make the home a little more festive, this time of year can really be a financial drain. But it doesn’t have to be! Up-cycling is a growing trend, not only helping us to save money, but also helping us to reduce waste and become more environmentally friendly. So what are the best ways to up-cycle and reuse waste, turning it into something great?

Pringle Christmas Cookie Jars

Have you been busy making up batches of delicious gingerbread cookies? Then you need somewhere festive to store them! If you’ve got any old crisp tubes lying around – Pringle tubes are ideal – you can easily transform them into Christmassy cookie jars simply by covering them in wrapping paper and ribbons. You could also use plain white paper, and get the kids to draw their own snowman onto the container. It’s great getting the little ones involved in the crafts!

Image Credit: A Bakers House

Jam Jar Festive Candles

Empty jam jars and mason jars make for great candle holders over the festive season. Simply clean them out, allow them to dry, and decorate however you wish. Pop a tealight into the bottom of the jar, place on a heatproof mat, and you’ve got yourself a great centrepiece for the Christmas dinner table. Or, if you’re feeling a little more creative and adventurous, place some decorative stones at the bottom of the jar, fill with water, and put a floating candle right on top.

Image Credit: Planet Penny

Wine Bottle Vases

Many of us find ourselves with a few old wine bottles lying around in the run up to Christmas – it is the party season, after all! But did you know you don’t need to put these in the recycling bin? Instead, you could make them into beautiful, decorative vases for your festive poinsettias. Leave them ‘naked’ for a raw, back-to-basics feel, or decorate with paints, glitters, feathers, or any other craft products. Blackboard paint also works well, allowing you to change your designs.

Light Bulb Decorations

Got some old lightbulbs that you haven’t gotten round to disposing of yet? Transform them into hanging Christmas tree decorations, with whatever designs you want! All you need is some paint. It’s a good idea to put a coat of white paint all over the bulb before drawing up your designs, to provide a good base. Anything is possible – penguins, reindeer, snowmen, and so on. Once dried, simply attach a piece of string to the base of the bulb to allow it to hang easily.

Image Credit: Lady With The Red Rocker

Candy Cane Coffee Syrup

There’s few things more festive than a candy cane for decorating the Christmas tree. Bought too many? Don’t panic! There’s no need to throw the spare canes out – they can be used to make a mouthwatering, festive syrup for coffees that rival the big brands! Using a ratio of 8 candy canes to 1 cup of water, gently melt the canes over a low heat (you don’t want the sugar to burn) until completely dissolved. Allow to cool, bottle it up, and give it to a friend as a tasty festive treat.

Seasonal Shaving Cream

Rosemary is an essential Christmas herb – it’s great on a roast chicken, or even in a white sangria! If you’ve got a small sprig leftover that you’d normally just throw out, why not use it to make up some homemade seasonal shaving cream – it makes a fantastic gift. Simply melt ⅓ cup each of shea butter and coconut oil in a pan, remove from the heat, and add a ¼ cup of jojoba oil and a sprig of rosemary. Cool in the fridge, remove rosemary, and whip up with a hand mixer.