If you asked my mother, she would tell you how excited I used to get about decorating our home for Christmas when I was little. Not only would I want to help trim the tree and hang garland in the living room — I would also grab ornaments and other decor to turn my room into a Christmas wonderland. I don’t get as excited these days, but many of you do. If you are one of those people, these tips will ensure that your Christmas excitement doesn’t put a strain on the environment:
Photo courtesy of Tiny Decor
Reuse your decor from last year
I know it can be tempting to go shopping for new ornaments and stockings every year. I can relate, since we’ve been using the same silver and white ornaments and tired tree skirt for about 4 years now. But there are ways to create a new look without shopping for new decor.
- Buy craft paint and change the color of some of your ornaments.
- Try using a string of white lights instead of multi-colored.
- Wrap those candle holders in some festive ribbon.
- Personalize some of your ornaments with monograms.
- I actually saw this one on HGTV’s 24-Hour Design yesterday. If you have plain glass bulb ornaments that are either white or transparent, get a couple of small bottles of non-toxic craft paint in a variety of colors from your nearest craft store. Take the cap off the top, and squeeze a few drops of 2 colors inside the bulb. Use your finger to cover the opening and shake the bulb until the colors mix and cover the inside of the entire bulb. You have a “new” ornament, and a great, simple craft project.
Hold an ornament swap
If you’re really bored with your holiday decor, you can be sure that at least a few of your friends and family members feel the same way. A few weeks before Christmas, organize an ornament swap. Have everyone put together a box or container with all the items they no longer want. Trade amongst the group to create a whole new look without buying any new products. This can apply to ornaments as well as stockings, tree skirts, candle holders, garlands, wreaths and any other holiday decor you and think of.
Make your own decor
Your kitchen and back yard are great places to start when you want to make your own ornaments.
- String popcorn (unsalted and with no butter) to create a festive, natural garland
- Collect fallen pine cones and decorate them with paint and other items
Stick with sustainable or Fair Trade products
If you are going to buy new holiday decor, try to stick with ornaments made of recycled, natural and sustainable materials. Recycled glass ornaments are easy to come by if you take the time to look at the packaging. There are also ornaments made of recycled cardboard or metals, organic cotton, bamboo, reclaimed wood, and more. Here are some options:
- Handmade Copper Wire Star Ornament from The Hunger Site. Handmade of recycled copper wire and gold balls and and fair trade imported from Mali, West Africa. The Hunger Site will fund 25 cups of food for each ornament purchased. Price: $2
- Hemp/Organic Cotton Blend Ornaments from Amenity Home. Made in Los Angeles with a hemp/organic cotton blend fabric that is printed with non-toxic, water-based inks. The fill is made of recycled plastic bottles. Price: $9
- Method holiday line includes a Bamboo Aroma Ring and Potpourri ornaments. Made of bamboo and a reusable tin containing compostable wood beads. They are infused with naturally-derived fragrances to make your home look and smell beautiful. Price: $8-10. They are also available at Target.
- Elephant Poo Paper Ornaments from Uncommon Goods. Handmade of paper made from 100% recycled elephant poop. Price: $10 for a set of 2 (aff)
- Recycled Blown Glass Ornaments by One World Projects. Handmade by Guatemalen artisans with reclaimed and recycled post-consumer glass bottles. Profits are shared among all artisans and partners and the aim of the business is to better their community. The heat generated in glass-making is also used to produce electricity, and some of the crushed glass is added to the raw materials for sandstone paving. Price: $8.25-18
Go with eco-friendly textiles
Hanging stockings on the mantel is a holiday tradition that most families love, and a Christmas tree just isn’t complete without a beautiful skirt. While it may be tempting to pick up those inexpensive polyester or plastic options in the aisles of every big box store, they aren’t exactly easy on the Earth. There are much greener ways to dress your home:
- Make your own. Stockings can be made from old t-shirts, sheets or towels. Let the kids decorate them with non-toxic paints and glitter glue. And in a tip from reader Rebecca of the Little House on Northwood, use a bunch of cloth napkins in festive colors to create a unique tree skirt. Simply overlap them going all the way around the tree. Not pictured.
- Handmade Organic Christmas Stockings from Tiny Decor. Handmade in the U.S. of organic cotton and organic cotton/hemp blend fabrics. Price: $24/ea.
- Organic Stockings and Tree Skirts by Amenity. Made in the U.S. of an organic cotton/hemp blend fabric and printed by hand with non-toxic, water-based inks. Price: $55-130
- Homespun Wool Stockings from Gaiam. Handmade by Nepalese artisans of 100% wool with natural dyes. Price: $29 (aff)
- TerraCycle Eco-Friendly Fused Wrapper Tree Skirt and Juice Pouch Tree Skirt from Home Depot. Made of recycled food wrappers and juice pouches. Price: $14.9/ea.
Have your own eco-friendly Christmas decor ideas? Leave them in the comments below and share them with all of us.
Like what you’ve read today? Throughout this week, Green Your Decor will focus on key aspects of the Christmas season, including ornaments and decor, gifting and gift wrap, and entertaining guests. Other posts:
- The Great Christmas Tree Debate: Is real or fake more eco-friendly?
- Light up your holidays in energy-efficient, eco-friendly style
- Don’t compromise your green lifestyle when entertaining for the season
- Since you’re giving green gifts, be sure to wrap them in eco-friendly ways
- Dreaming of a Green Christmas Prize Package Giveaway!
As the series continues, Green Your Decor will feature products and books that can help you have a greener holiday season. On Friday, the series will culminate with a huge giveaway in which two lucky readers will walk away with prize packages that include many of these products. So if you’re not yet a subscriber, sign up for the GYD email updates or get your content via your favorite RSS reader — it doesn’t matter which. Just make sure you don’t miss out on what’s to come.