Surprising ways you can use your Christmas leftover food, presents, and odds and ends

Surprising ways you can use your Christmas leftover food, presents, and odds and ends

Before you reach for a dustbin, check out the YP team's tips on how to re-use all the Christmas stuff thats taken over every inch of your home

Christmas is over. The presents are all unwrapped. You can hardly move because of all the food you've eaten. But there's loads of STUFF all over the place: food, Christmas cards, joke gifts …

You could just throw it all away, but we know that there's a huge landfill problem in Hong Kong. While there are hundreds of recipes online for leftover turkey curry, it's not as easy to know what to do with excesses of other festive fare. Here are our top tips.

Wrapping paper

We all just want to rip apart the wrapping paper, but if we unwrap it carefully, we can reuse the paper to:

  • line food trays
  • line cupboards and drawers
  • wrap novels and textbooks
  • create bows to decorate birthday presents
  • cut it into thin strips to fold into origami stars (can be used instead of bubble wrap)
  • if it's heavy duty, you can even iron it and use it to wrap a gift next year!


Take a photo of the message from your friend, then cut off the back side and recycle. You can use the front as:

  • postcards - put your friend's name and address on the back on the right, and write your message on the left, stick a stamp on it and mail it and make someone's day!
  • gift tags - cut out the picture on the front, pierce a small hole, and tie a ribbon through it
  • coasters - stick your favourites onto strong card and get them laminated, then use them to protect your table from mug rings


You get so much excess packaging with gifts, but the boxes are great to use instead of wrapping paper throughout the year. Spray (in an open, well-ventilated area) with gold or silver spray paint, and use to make any birthday gifts look fancy.


No one likes to talk about it, but sometimes you just get crummy gifts. If they're not returnable, consider donating them. Someone out there won't mind that hideous Christmas jumper if it means they'll stay warm.


When all the other decorations get put away or thrown out, keep the fairy lights handy to decorate your room. Whether they're plain white or multicoloured, they really add a nice touch to the room when you hang them from the curtains or around your bed.


Roughly chop up all your random chocolate treats and add them to the mix as you bake a batch of brownies. We call these "bonus brownies".

  • For all your other leftovers (let's face it, we all make insane amounts of food during Christmas), why not give back to society by visiting an elderly home with Christmas food? Not only is it environmentally friendly, it's also very rewarding.
  • St James Settlement's Christmas food drive runs until New Year's Eve. Make life easier for a family in need by delivering the extra bag of rice your dad bought "just in case", and other basics. Visit People's Food Bank for details.
This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Waste not, want not


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