Decorating for the holidays is without a doubt one of the best parts of the year. It’s our own official start of the season where we can eat gingerbread cookies without any guilt, we can happily belt out Elvis and Frank’s Christmas classics….even if we’re off tune, and best of all, we can spend some festive, quality decorating time with our families.
Back in the modern stone age (aka: the pre-environmentally conscious years), decorating was pretty simple — we ran out to K-mart and bought some tinsel and bulbs; either chopped down a tree or put up a not so eco-friendly PVC artificial tree; and wrapped presents to our hearts content with rolls and rolls of wrapping paper and store-bought bows. But today’s more responsible holiday revelers put a lot more thought into decorations — Are they recyclable? Are they safe for the environment? Can I reuse them for the next 20 years? Can they add something good to the environment?
To help you make these crucial holiday decisions and succeed in greening up your décor this month, we’ve put together five festive and responsible décor ideas that will make you greener than the Grinch (after his “small heart grew three sizes that day,” of course). And that’s a very good thing. Read on!
1. Discover Reusable and Recyclable Christmas Trees
Forget everything you think you know about artificial trees — forget the silver aluminum, push the PVC-plastic branches out of your mind and discover the 21st Century “artificial.” It’s so much better.
These beautiful wooden trees can last for years and years, and come in four sizes that range from a 6-foot suspended tree to a 2-foot tabletop version. They’re all handcrafted in the U.S.A. with minimally processed U.S. wood, and even strive to use wood from “naturally fallen trees” whenever possible. And aside from the small metal rod, wire and tiny bit of plastic used in the design, they’re completely biodegradable. If you opt for a real tree, remember to recycle your tree through your county’s recycling program.
Cardboard Safari makes some really cool holiday trees out of — you guessed it — recycled cardboard. You can can choose from large or giant Alpine Trees or smaller Snowflake Trees, both available in brown or white colors. Prices range from $20 to $60 per tree. Since the trees are cardboard, you need to avoid open flames or hot lights as ornamental decor, but heck, creativity only makes it more fun!
2. Decorate with Eco-Friendly Ornaments
Just say no to those unappealing non-recyclable Christmas ornaments you’ve used in past days, and try a more naturally beautiful way to decorate your tree. You can go old-school by stringing cranberries and popcorn together (that’s always a family-bonding activity), or do a DIY project and make these pretty “rustic snowflakes” or these cute “pine cone reindeer” ornaments! There are also plenty of pre-made options that will fill your heart with glee, such as these whimsical, colorful pinecones or handmade wooden Rudolph ornaments from Etsy, or these stunning LED solar-powered Christmas ball lights available on Amazon.
3. Invest in LED Holiday Lights
Speaking of lights, when it comes to stringing up those holiday lights indoors and outdoors this season, efficiency is your official buzzword. Options like EcoSmart LED lights are definitely the smartest way to brighten up your holiday. Aside from the fact that they use less energy than traditional lights, they have a few other undeniable advantages. 1) They run cooler than incandescent lights so the risks of combustion or burnt fingers goes way down. 2) They’re sturdier than their traditional counterparts since they’re not made of glass, 3) They last many years longer than incandescents… you could still be using the same lights 40 years from now! 4) They’re easier to install since they’re less likely to overload a wall socket. 5) They’ll save you substantial money in the long run.
4. Use Plantable Holiday Paper Goods
This is just a cool concept that’s easy to full in love with this — and every — holiday season: plantable holiday paper goods. One U.S.-based company to check out is Bloomin™ out of Colorado. You can choose from an array of holiday cards, gift tags and holiday kits that your recipients can plant in the ground, water, and then enjoy as they bloom into gorgeous wildflowers. It’s such a great product line that adds some beauty to the planet (instead of waste to our waste bins). For plantable wrapping paper, check out the wildflower-seeded Blooming Wrapping Paper from Uncommon Goods (which is on sale right now!)
5. Get Creative with Gift Decorating
In addition to the plantable wrapping paper mentioned above, there are a zillion green ways to make your gifts look festive without any waste. Here are just a few ideas: 1) Use fabric to wrap your gifts, such as scarves or baby blankets. You can also purchase “Rewrappables” that come in various sizes and give you the option of including an attached bow. 2) Adorn your gifts with natural alternatives to store-bought bows, such as sprigs of berries, shells from the beach, or pinecones. 3) Avoid using petroleum-based tape to secure your wrapping. Instead use twine or yarn. 4) Present your gift in a reusable basket or a pretty bowl instead of wrapping it up. For example, if you’re buying some chef-inspired gifts for your BFF, arrange them in a nice mixing bowl with some greenery and sprigs of berries mixed in.
Are you greening up your holiday this year? Share your favorite eco-friendly décor ideas with us now!