It’s that time of year. The days when you no longer say “the holidays are coming” because the holidays are full-on HERE. And you know what that means, right? It’s box season! Yep. Here come the boxes. When you think about it, boxes are as much a part of the holidays as cookies and mistletoe.
So what do you do with all these boxes once the gifts are unpacked? You could just toss them in the recycling bin. Cardboard is one of the world’s most recycled materials. But it’s also incredibly versatile. So before you toss them into the bin, why not use those boxes in creative ways? They really are the gift (boxes) that keeps on giving!
Is your holiday brain too taxed to come up with clever ideas? We got you.
1. Let your kids go nuts
Kids seem to be naturally drawn to playing around in boxes. How many times have you watched your kids ignore the toy they begged for, only to spend the day making cars, houses and forts out of the box it came in? With all the cool things you can make with your kids – including a camper and even a greengrocer – you could actually trim down Santa’s list.
2. Make your cat’s days merry and bright
What is it about cats and boxes? They go together like the holidays and overeating. And honestly? Watching a cat with a box is the wholesome break your brain needs in these crazy times.
3. Be ready for school projects
There’s nothing like that 7:15 p.m. panic when your kid “remembers” they have a project due the next day. Hang on to a few boxes and you are SET. In a pinch, you can even sub in a piece of cardboard for a sheet of poster board: the supply every project seems to need and no one ever has on hand.
4. DIY a chic and (relatively) easy storage basket
Crafty types love to take a thing and turn it into another thing. If you’ve got a glue gun and some rope or twine, you’ve also got an incredibly cute storage basket.
5. Make them part of your holiday decor
There are about a million different ways to make a Christmas tree using boxes. (Seriously. If you’re ready to go down a Pinterest rabbit hole, just google it.) But you can also use them to make snowmen, wall decorations and even a fun stand for your actual tree.
6. Turn a wine box into a cord holder
In addition to all the boxes you’ll have from ordering gifts, you may also find yourself with an empty case of wine. Or two. (This is a judgment-free zone!) You could use the boxes to haul empties to recycling. Or you could make your own cord holder, which you will definitely need for storing all the new cords that come with all the new electronics.
7. Halloween costumes? Handled.
Break down a few boxes and put them away. Trust me. Much like the dreaded “night before school project is due,” Halloween can sneak right up on you. Instead of a last-minute run to the picked-over costume section of your local big box (heh) store, you’ll have the makings of any number of cool costumes, including the timeless silver spray-painted robot. Beep beep bop.
8. Make a cardboard slide
The holidays tend to bring weather chilly enough to keep everyone inside. Which is cool and all…unless you’ve got young kids. If you can’t get to the playground, bring the playground to you. Make your own slide for hours of scream-y indoor fun. (Adult supervision required, of course.)
9. Level up your snack game
Watching holiday bowl games is a tried and true holiday tradition. Games and snacks bring people together and give them something to talk about that doesn’t involve politics or child-rearing tips. Make it even more fun with a snack stadium. Yes, you read that right. A snack stadium!
10. Make junk drawers less junky
You know those gadgets you buy every year? Those last-minute “We need something for my brother-in-law so how about this universal remote?” gifts? Well, the gift may not be a showstopper but the box it comes in? Perfect for organizing the bobby pins, rubber bands and all those other things that end up floating around a junk drawer.
11. Use them as nature intended
The original purpose of a box – moving stuff safely from one place to another – is simple. But it’s also endlessly useful.
This year, as boxes show up at your doorstep, think of all the possibilities. The miracle of the humble cardboard box is that while it’s one of the easiest materials to recycle, it’s also one of the easiest to reuse, repurpose and reimagine.