Steps Towards Sustainability – Repurposing Packaging into Christmas Gifts and Decorations

The countdown to Christmas well and truly under way, and what better time of year to get creative!


By now most of us are aware of just how wasteful Christmas time can be. According to Waste Management Company Biffa, An extra 30% of rubbish is produced and discarded throughout the festive period when compared with the rest of the year.
Whilst still in the midst of a global pandemic, Christmas is all a bit different this year. More of us are ordering gifts online, which ultimately means an even higher usage of packaging. Many of us will also be seeing fewer friends and family this festive season, likely giving us more free time sat at home.
So what can we do to make use of all that excess packaging, and better yet have fun in the process? We’ve put together a list of ideas for repurposing common packaging items, along with our own experience of trying a few of them out!

Packaging Item 1: Cardboard boxes

If you’re ordering a lot of presents online this year, you’re likely to have a mountain of cardboard boxes lying around. The great thing about cardboard is it’s both versatile and easy to work with, so let’s get crafting!

Gingerbread Houses


You will need: Brown carboard, Scissors, White marker pen or paints, String.
Difficulty Level: Easy
Time to make: Dependent on size and design choice, but can take as little as 5 minutes per house.

These adorable little gingerbread houses can be finished in different ways depending on how you would like to use them. We decided to have a go at doing some ourselves, and here is our finished piece!

Tip: If your pens are quite chunky, try to keep your design as simple as possible to give maximum impact.

Gift Tags


You will need (minimum): Brown Cardboard, Scissors, Marker pens
Difficulty Level: Easy
Time to make: Dependent on size and design choice, but can take as little as 5 minutes.

Not everyone uses gift tags at Christmas, but if you do, why not make them yourselves to save on waste and give a personal touch to your gifts. They can be as simple or intricate as desired. Here’s what we came up with!

Other Crafty Inspiration for Using up Cardboard Boxes

Gingerbread House Giftbox:

A 3D giftbox variation of cardboard gingerbread houses. Perfect for stocking filler gifts!

Creative Storage:

Repurposing shoe boxes into hanging storage using ribbons.
Vintage-style storage boxes covered in newspaper that has been “aged” with DIY methods.
Fun retro-style storage boxes made by using paint and marker pen on shoe boxes.

Packaging Item 2: Glass Bottles

Another packaging item that sees a steady increase in usage at Christmas is glass bottles. A survey commissioned by Drinkaware in 2019 found that almost two-thirds (61%) of drinkers in the UK claim they over-indulge on alcohol over the festive season. So what can we do with all those extra bottles?

Ornamental Christmas Vases

This one is best for those who already have some extra craft materials lying around, but can be executed just as beautifully with minimal materials, such as string, ribbon and paint. The final design is really up to you!
Here are a couple of images we found for inspiration:


Packaging Item 3: Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles are another everyday packaging item that we see a lot more of around Christmas. Accompanying the surge of food and alcohol consumption is the consumption of fizzy drinks. Luckily, we’ve found some ingenious ideas for repurposing packaging in the form of plastic bottles too!

Snowflake Tree Decorations


You will need: Plastic bottle, Scissors, Marker pens (preferably white, silver or blue)
Difficulty Level: Easy
Time Taken: 10-20 min

Though not hugely impactful on their own, a collection of these on a Christmas tree, backlit with twinkling lights, really are quite effective!
Here are a few we made ourselves:

Tip: We found smaller scissors easier to cut the desired shape from the base of the bottle.

Hanging Icicles


Wondering what to do with the rest of that plastic bottle you just cut up? Well look no further!

You will need: Plastic bottle (cut into strips 1-2 inches wide), Scissors, Candle
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Time Taken: 10 mins per icicle

This one took us a little longer to get to grips with, but after getting over trying to make them all perfect.. Here is our end result!

Tip: Before twisting over the flame, ensure each strip of plastic has a pointy end and a curved end with a hole in it for threading.

Packaging Item 4: Nespresso Pods

If you’re an upcycling guru you may have already seen some wonderful creations that have been made by artists using empty Nespresso pods over recent years! With that thought in mind, we have found some beautifully simple ideas for repurposing them at Christmas.

Christmas Bell Tree Decorations

These bell decorations are a lovely addition to any Christmas tree, and can be made using just some empty pods, a sharp knife and ribbon! Of course, you can make them as simple or embellished as desired. Here’s a couple of variations we have found.


Christmas Wreath

Another simple yet effective idea we have found for repurposing Nespresso Pods is a Christmas Wreath. Again, the level of detail is up to you! You can even try re-shaping the individual empty pods, as seen on an example below.


Further Examples of Repurposing Packaging into Christmas Crafts

Tin Cans repurposed as Festive pots.
Wine and Champagne corks can be made into various decorations.
And finally, this wreath made using ripped plastic shopping bags!

Thinking of trying some of these out yourself? We would love to know how you get on and see your creations! Tag us in your social media posts, pop us an email, or comment below.

Alternatively, do you have a packaging problem that needs solving? Maybe we can help! Click here to send us your enquiry.

Image Credits: Giphy [1], GlossyBox [7], Google [8]. All other numbered images from Pinterest. Unnumbered Images are our own.

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