• Upcycled Christmas Ornaments...Upcycled Christmas Ornaments...The easiest way to save on your holiday budget is to use what you already have. But if your old ornaments just aren't doing it for you anymore, there are plenty of ways to give them a little update.

    Many of these crafts are simple enough for children and would make a great activity for winter break! I know I'll be looking for ways to entertain the girls this week as I finish up my own last- minute holiday projects and wrapping and I think I've found some. Check out these 7 ways to make upcycled Christmas ornaments and get crafting!

    Button WreathButton Wreath
    1. Button Wreath
    String buttons on wire create this wreath ornament. I love the look of the red and green, but I think you could create some fun ornaments with whatever leftover buttons you have around.
    Find out how to make it

    2. Cookie Cutters
    Put all those extra cookie cutters to use on the tree! I actually let the girls hang a few of ours on the tree on their own, but I love the idea of turning them into picture frames.
    Find out how to make it


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  • By Lori Bongiorno

    Wondering what to do with all the old stuff now after you get a bunch of new things for the holidays?

    Resist the urge to cram your closets with junk you'll never use again or send perfectly useful things to the landfill. Here's how you can donate, give away, recycle, sell, or trade old items.


    Most of us already have a stockpile of old electronics we don't know what to do with. Luckily, it's easier and easier to responsibly get rid of old gadgets. Don't forget to take your personal info off of cell phones and computers first.

    • Many major consumer electronics manufacturers, such as Dell and Apple, will take back their old products.
    • A growing number of retailers have extensive free recycling programs or trade-in options (where you get store credit when you bring in old electronics). Best Buy and Staples have in-store and online programs that are worth checking out.
    • Donate old cell phones and computers directly to a charity in
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  • Programmable thermostatProgrammable thermostatBy Lori Bongiorno

    Does turning your heat down when you go to sleep or leave the house for extended periods of time actually cost you money?

    The answer is a resounding "no," according to experts at the Department of Energy (DOE), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Ecos Consulting, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    However, there's still a common misconception that if you set the temperature of your thermostat back, then your furnace will have to work harder (and therefore cost you more money) to warm the space back up.

    The truth is you aren't going to spend more in terms of energy or money by setting your thermostat back, says Ed Pollock, at the DOE. In fact, you'll always save money by setting back.

    The real question is how much savings you'll get. The answer is very much dependent on several factors including where you live (how cold it gets outside), how efficient your furnace is (how long it takes to heat your house back up), and what kind of

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  • Holiday recyclingHoliday recyclingBy Lori Bongiorno

    Pretty soon, the holidays are over. It's time to get rid of your tree and figure out what to do with all the extra stuff accumulating in your home. Resist the temptation to just pile everything into big black garbage bags and send it to the dump.

    Here are suggestions for post-holiday disposal that's light on the planet.

    Recycle the Christmas tree

    If, like 30 to 35 million American households, you bought a freshly cut, real tree for the holiday, you can easily recycle this renewable resource. Go to Earth 911, type in "Christmas tree," and then enter your ZIP code to find one of the 4,000 recycling programs around the U.S. Many communities have curbside pick-up for trees after Christmas, while other towns have drop-off locations.

    Before you recycle the tree, make sure to prepare it correctly:

    • Remove lights and decorations, including all strands of tinsel.
    • Take the tree out of the stand.
    • Be sure there is no metal attached to the tree.
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  • Last-minute DIY Gifts

    Bicycle-frame lunch bagBicycle-frame lunch bag

    By Trystan L. Bass

    The holiday clock is ticking down. The malls are jammed. Your wallet is feeling light. But you still have people on your gift list. Don't despair! If you have a couple hours, you can gather a few recycled materials, make one trip to a craft store or grocery store, and whip up something unique and stylish to give as gifts.

    Handmade gifts are often more eco-friendly because they require less packaging and plastics and produce less pollution when created. You can reuse materials, which reduces garbage. And, of course, handmade gifts are more personal than mass-produced junk from big-box retailers.

    Check out these nifty projects. Most don't require special skills or tools, and many use stuff that's probably sitting around your house.

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