’Tis the season of gift giving. But once those sweaters, video games, and stuffed animals are unwrapped, where does all that wrapping paper go?

We discard one billion trees’ worth of paper each year in the U.S. and half of that is thanks to gift wrapping. And that’s not all: Americans generate 25 percent more trash over the holiday season than during the rest of the year. But what’s the alternative?

5 ways to reuse gift wrap

Instead of tossing used paper into your roaring fire (which can cause flames to burn dangerously high), here are 5 simple ways to make use of your leftover wrapping paper at home — from functional fixes to DIY design projects.

1. Lining shelves and drawers

Whether your wrapping paper’s clean and uncut or crumpled from gift giving, you can use it to line dresser drawers or cabinet shelves. Just iron out any wrinkles in your used paper, measure the surface you’ll be lining, and use craft glue or spray adhesive to attach the paper. If you’d like a less-permanent solution, double-stick tape works well too.

2. Creative DIY projects

Instead of buying more scrapbook paper, why not repurpose some gold or patterned wrapping paper leftover from the holidays? Here are a few other crafty ideas:

  • Use holiday paper as a mat for a framed photo. All you have to do is cut the paper to fit your frame, pin or paste the photo onto it, and pop it back into the frame.
  • Make a festive bookmark! Just cut a section of cardboard from a box in your pantry and adhere the wrapping paper.
  • Cover cans with wrapping paper to make attractive catch-all containers for your desk.

3. Book covers

Leftover wrapping paper’s a great resource when it comes to protecting your kids’ textbooks from wear and tear, but you can also use it to beautify (and protect) books on your shelf at home. Whether your favorite hardcover has lost its dust jacket or you just want to give some pizzazz to the look of your books, holiday wrapping paper’s an easy way to warm up the appearance of lackluster or aging books at home.

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4. Packing materials

Have a shredder handy? Shredded wrapping paper makes for excellent packing material for fragile items. It’s useful for shipping gifts, moving breakables, and even festively storing delicate ornaments after the holidays.

Just fold your paper to fit your shredder, feed it through, and you’ve got cheerful packing material! You can do the same with smaller scraps of leftover wrapping paper, but remember to keep your fingers far from the feeding mechanism.

5. Wrapping and decorating next year’s gifts

No one wraps gifts better than my mom. Part of her secret’s using every last scrap of paper, especially for awkwardly shaped gifts or particularly tiny presents. So if you’re left with thin, long pieces of paper at the end of a roll of wrapping paper or too-small pieces leftover from wrapping a large gift, save them for next year’s quirky little gifts. Or, break out that shredder to create confetti for gift bags.

Plus, you might even be able to make a small card from a piece of leftover paper — perfectly matched to an already-wrapped gift. It saves you from buying gift labels or, even worse, leaving gifts unlabeled altogether!

Winter home prep

Just because the gift-giving season is at an end doesn’t mean winter is too. Enjoy the rest of the season by winterizing your home.

Related links

Winterize your car

Learn what to do in case of a winter power outage

Beat the winter blues

Safe and smart | Homeowners 101

about Jiordan

Jiordan is a pizza-loving word lady transplanted to San Francisco from the wilds of New York. As an Esurance content writer, she makes all things insurance sound super awesome on the web. In her spare time, there are cupcakes baked, cartoons drawn, and books dog-eared.