How to upcycle unwanted Xmas gifts
HOME & GARDEN | December 31, 2014

How to upcycle unwanted Xmas gifts

Can't bring yourself to return, sell, re-gift or donate your unwanted gifts to charity? Maybe you appreciate the sentiment behind the gift, if not the actual gift itself?

Rather than suffer with something you hate the look of, take the initiative and upcycle your present into a fabulous new item - something you'll be pleased as punch with!



Unwanted pots, vases and kitchenware, such as this rather awkward novelty tea cup, can be transformed into quirky garden accessories in time for Spring with a bit of sensitive planting.

If the item doesn´t already have a convenient drainage hole, we recommend using these instructions to carefully make one using a drill. Consider giving the item a going over with a favourite colour of spray paint if the pattern offends your eyes!



Cheap and nasty Christmas sweaters are the bane of charity shops volunteers' lives come January, when so many of them are donated. If you've got one that you can't bear to keep for next year, don't chuck it - upcycle it!

Ideas we've seen made from old Christmas jumpers include upcycled Christmas stockings, mittens, dog jumpers, arm warmers, tea cosies and more! If there are edges of plain wool or jersey, you could cut them off and use to make yourself or one of the kids a cosy 'infinity scarf' or headband to keep the winter chills out. Can you use the leftover material as stuffing for a homemade pillow, floor cushion or new bed for your pet? 



The 'pretty' (useless) scarf - present refuge for people who have absolutely no idea what you like (unless you're well known for wearing lots of scarves!) The good news is that silk or faux silk scarves are ridiculously easy to upcycle.

If you're a fan of the print but would never wear the scarf, you could create an upcycled lampshade from it, make a pillow case from the fabric, or simply frame the scarf as wall art. What present giver could complain at such 5-star treatment?!

If you don't like the print, upcycling ideas include cutting it up to make lavender bags for drawers and wardrobes, saving it for covering your head when you do mucky jobs around the house and reusing the scarf Japanese-style as eco-friendly wrapping for someone else's present.  



Ok, so we're assuming the chocolates that came inside the tins will have been polished off one way or another! But what about the Christmas-themed tins themselves?

After you finishing whatever was contained inside, consider repurposing the tins with a stencil and a little spray paint. Hey presto... stylish storage or even reusable gift tins!



Oh no, not more Christmas socks! Cats are generally thrilled when given a sock 'mouse' to torment, especially if you add a pinch or two of catnip to the stuffing. The other sock could make a hacky sack for the kids! Really horrible socks are also great for dusting, simply put them over your hand and you're away.  



Rich fruit cakes, mince pies and other cake bits are often left piled up in the cupboards after Christmas, with no one in the mood to finish them off.

Birds love scraps of fruit cake and mince pies, so why not give them a New Year's treat and, hopefully, the energy and nutrients to help them survive the cold winter months?


>> New Year's recycling resolutions

>> How to beat wardrobe clutter - step-by-step!


How do you deal with unwanted presents? Do you regift? Upcycle? Share your thoughts with us here or on Twitter and Facebook!