If your grandparents were typical of those who grew up during the Great Depression, then you learned it's important to carefully unwrap your presents so you can reuse the expensive wrapping at another time. Nowadays however, the paper is very inexpensive and considered disposable but, don't expect to recycle it.
Tom Martin with San Luis Garbage says, "The dyes they use and the fire-proofing chemicals that they put on it, render it non-recyclable, so it's garbage." If you want to be "green" this Christmas, Martin suggests using newspaper instead.
Styrofoam is another common waste product that accompanies many gifts. Unfortunately, it too is non-recyclable. San Luis Garbage encourages you to bring any packing peanuts to local shipping stores. He says they may take them, if they need more.
Martin says new this year, "Ridged plastic toys are now recyclable. The playschool benches and little trikes and things like that, throw those in the recycling bin. As long as they go in the bin, you can recycle them. You don't have to throw them away."
Christmas trees can be thrown in with the green waste, as long as they haven't been flocked.
Also, used batteries should be taken to the white collection bins, found in every California store that sells batteries. Rechargeable batteries need to be taken to hazardous waste collection sites.