Twelfth Night is upon us, and whether that’s January 5 or 6 seems to be a matter of opinion. It depends on when you believe the 12 days of Christmas start.
Hundreds of years ago, the consensus was that Christmas started at sunset on December 24, and therefore the 12th night after that was January 5. However, if you count from December 25 itself, Twelfth Night falls on January 6. So perhaps it’s safest to take down your decorations on the 5th, because if you leave them up beyond Twelfth Night then, according to tradition, you’ll have to leave them up until next Christms to avoid bad luck!
Whichever date you choose, we’re faced with the guilt-inducing problem of what to do with all those Christmas cards. If you want to keep them – and you have the space – problem solved. But if you like to make a clean sweep, here are some green ideas to hep keep you clutter-free, and do your bit for the environment.
If you’ve got an open fire or a stove, colour-printed cards burn pretty well.
Turn them into gift tags
Simply cut out an attractive part of the design, with blank space on the back. (It could get confusing if it’s on a gift to Uncle Fred from you, but says ‘all at no25’ on the reverse.) Using pinking shears gives a truly handmade, retro feel. Add a hole using a hole punch, and add a loop of ribbon or butcher’s twine.
Turn them into baubles
Make them now and keep them until next Christmas, or keep the cards and the instructions and do it nearer the time. Here’s how to make Christmas baubles from old Christmas cards.
Use them as bookmarks
Simply cut strips from areas that aren’t too Christmassy, and place between the pages to keep your place.
Make dinner-table place settings
Cut small rectangles from the cards on the fold, so they stand up, and write on your guests’ names. If they’re cut from a Christmassy part of the card, keep them for Christmas. If not, use them all year round.
Help environmental charities
Drop your cards into special boxes in Marks & Spencer stores until January 31 to help the Woodland Trust. Last year over six million cards were recycled this way, enabling the Trust to plant 6,256 trees.
Or take them to Sainsbury’s (in over 1,000 stores until January 13) to help the Forest Stewardship Council.