5 Ways to Decorate for a Green Holiday

When the holidays roll around, many people are so overwhelmed by everything that they don’t even realize how much extra waste they are producing. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, household waste in the U.S. increases between 25 percent, creating one million extra tons of waste sitting in landfills.

eco christmas decorationsFinding ethically sourced decorations, or creating your own, can reduce a tremendous amount of waste while responsibly contributing to the economy and livelihood of workers. Here are a few ideas to make your holidays a little more green…

fabric piecesUpcycled Holiday Wreath

Gather up all your old tablecloths, towels and other pieces of unwanted fabric to create a one-of-a-kind wreath that is kinder to the environment and your budget.

You’ll need a few things to get started, such as fabric scissors, fabric and a wreath frame that can easily be found at a local craft store or thrift store.

  • Begin cutting the fabric into strips about one inch wide and six inches long. You might not have to cut all the fabric you have but you’ll want to have a fair amount cut up before you start so you don’t have to stop working to cut more.
  • Tie your fabric strips into simple knots around the wired frame, alternating colors and patterns to create a unique look.
  • When you have several knots tied, begin bunching them together to cover any gaps.
  • Continue tying knots until your wreath frame is covered.

For some extra flair, add bells or baubles.

Decor Swap Party

No matter how much we originally loved our holiday decorations, they’ll start to seem a little stale to us at some point. Hosting a decor swap party is an excellent way to get new decorations without letting what you already have end up in a landfill.

Invite neighbors and friends to come and share in holiday cheer while responsibly getting new decorations. Encourage everyone to bring a homemade dish to avoid buying prepackaged food with packaging that will just be thrown away.

If you are feeling particularly ambitious, ask party attendees to either carpool or walk over to make it a truly “green” holiday. If they’re reluctant, this is understandable – in the U.S. only about 20% of all trips are made without cards.  In comparison, in Paris, about 50% of trips are made without cars. We still have a long way to go in terms of sustainability, but small steps are the most important ones!

jigsawPuzzle Piece Snowflakes

Most of us have a puzzle or two around the house that’s missing a couple pieces and now sits useless in a box on the shelf. Revive your puzzle pieces with a coat of white paint (and some glitter if you’re feeling fancy) and turn them into fun and whimsical holiday decor. The resulting snowflakes can have ribbon added if you want to turn them into ornaments or they can be glued on napkin rings to decorate the dinner table.

  • Start with a small circle of cardboard as a base and glue three puzzle pieces spaced out and pointing towards the center.
  • Add three more puzzle pieces to fill in the gaps and allow the craft to dry.

Once you’ve finished, add ribbon to help you hang your snowflakes.

Upcycled Christmas Cards

Old Christmas cards can be used in a variety of ways that save them from being tossed out or from simply taking up space around the house. For example, Christmas cards can be cut to create beautiful gift tags: You already have the cards and it’ll save you from having to purchase tags or use new paper.

Consider creating one-of-a-kind coasters or trivets using Christmas cards and tile. Cut the card to size and glue the image to the surface before covering it with Mod Podge to create a protective coating. Place them around the house for a little pop of color or give them as gifts!

article1Book Ornaments

Let’s face it, some of our ornaments have seen better days — the paint is chipping and all the glitter fell off long ago. Using ornaments and old or damaged books will create decorations that are unique to you.

  • Slice book pages into thin, small strips and use glue or another adhesive to cover the outside of the ornament until there’s no blank space.
  • When finished gluing, allow the ornament to dry before adding another layer of glue for protective coating.

We can all easily forget the impact we have on our environment when we’re caught up in the holidays, but with a little creativity and forethought you can reduce waste this holiday while saving money and consuming as ethically as possible.

By: Megan Wild is a writer who is continually focusing on living a little more green each day. You can read more of her thoughts on green living at Your Wild Home.


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