‘Tis the season to buy tinsel and garland, and decorate your home or office in a festive style. The only problem is that many of the conventional holiday decorations are made from non-renewable resources, and some can even be downright toxic to your guests as well as the environment.
If you want to deck the halls, but don't want to have a negative impact on the planet, there are many different eco-friendly alternatives that will demonstrate your holiday spirit without creating more landfill fodder.
Cranberry Bead Rope
Garland is great because it can be draped over, under, or around anything that you want to spruce up for the holidays. Instead of conventional garland, that loses sparkly bits all over your living room, try stringing up some festive red cranberries instead. You can even add stale popcorn, pinecones, dried apricots or bay leaves into the mix. After the holidays, the whole thing can be added to your compost pile for simple, eco-friendly clean-up!
Who says that shiny glass balls, or eye-catching icicles are the only things that can be suspended from your tree? The Geekware blog has a great DIY project for creating "Keyword" ornaments from the remnants of old computer keyboards (check your local thrift store), a tree topper star made from old CDs and computer motherboards, and diskette "present" ornament. Pinecones, cinnamon sticks, tiny framed photographs, and old magazine or newspaper snowflakes suspended with brightly colored yarn or ribbon are also festive ornament ideas.
If you're the kind of person that likes to go a little crazy with the indoor/outdoor holiday lights, it's important to realize you could be wasting a lot of energy (and money!) in the process. Replacing your traditional lights with a string of brightly colored LEDs could reduce your energy usage by up to 90 percent, and will help prevent the infamous holiday tree fire because they burn much cooler than incandescent bulbs. Depending on your utility rates, this could save you up to $10 bucks every 300 hours! LEDs also last between 50,000 to 100,000 hours vs. incandescent bulbs which typically last for a mere 1,000 hours.
If you're having the family over for a big holiday dinner, it's important to spruce up the table with some twinkling candles. Instead of buying new candle holders, try making these Organic Orange Clove Twinklers. Your home will smell amazing, and when the dinner's over, you can either eat or compost the candleholders.
Nothing signals the arrival of the holidays in the same way as a holiday wreath on the door. Instead of paying top dollar for a store bought wreath made from discarded fir boughs, why not make your own from creatively repurposed materials? Check out these ideas for making a holiday wreath from homegrown herbs, old ornaments, discarded sweaters, or even old magazines!
What eco-friendly holiday decorations will you make or display this year? Share them in a comment!
Beth Buczynski is a freelance copy writer and environmental blogger. She holds a Master's in Public Communication and Technology with specialization in Environmental Communication from Colorado State University, and is passionate about leaving this planet in better shape than she found it.