Making holiday crafts from recycled materials is a fun way to cut back on waste. 

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Decorating for the holidays can be fun for the whole family. Some disposable holiday decorations, however, can create a lot of excess waste and can also be expensive. In fact, between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, people in the United States produce 25 million more tons of trash than they do during the rest of year [source: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection].

You and your family can help make this figure smaller by recycling. If you make recycling a fun activity for the family to do together, your children may be more likely to develop good recycling habits on their own as they grow older [source: Parents].

One way to start making recycling fun is to have children make some of their favorite holiday crafts out of recycled items. You don't have to wait until the end of the year to make recycled holiday crafts, either -- you can make crafts for any holiday.

Reusing old items to create holiday crafts is even something your family can turn into a tradition. Say, for example, your children like to do a particular snowman craft during the winter. Have them make their snowmen every year. Before you know it, you'll have enough for a sizable collection. You and your kids will see their crafting skills and ideas grow and evolve over time, and you'll have a great set of holiday decorations to display year after year.

Many craft projects for kids may seem to follow certain patterns and instructions, but don't feel as though you have to stick to the rules. Encourage children to experiment and develop their own ideas. Maybe they'll even think of additional household items to recycle into their projects, giving holiday decorations a whole new spin in the process.

To get started, read the next page to find ideas for recycled Christmas crafts that kids can make.