The. Holidays. Are. Here.
While I may seem like a cool cucumber, the fact is that I get super geeky over the holidays. I just love everything about them! Below is a live-action GIF of me apologizing to my friends and family for mentioning Christmas before Thanksgiving (they don’t share my enthusiasm…le sigh):
So with that said, the holiday season is finally here and it’s time to get things in full swing, starting with decorating your home. In our quest to make our homes hollier and jollier than ever before, it can be easy to forget that many of our decorating traditions can take a toll on the planet.
Let’s face it: with all the fun comes a lot more waste. The average American produces 25 percent more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s as trash bins are filled to the brim with packaging, used gift wrap and festive food that goes bad before it can be consumed.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the season while treading more lightly on the earth. Check out these tips for green holiday décor for an eco-friendly celebration this year:
The best eco-friendly decorations are ones that come directly from Mother Nature. If you have evergreen hedges or a holly bush on your property, get more out of your late-autumn pruning sessions by using some of that greenery to decorate your home. You can deck your mantle with freshly scented evergreen branches or fill vases with holly and winterberries.
So many holiday decorations are made of plastic, so they’ll be hanging around the landfill for the next thousand years if you decide to toss them. If you already own lots of plastic ornaments or an artificial tree, it’s better to keep using and enjoying them than to toss them.
If you’re just starting out in your first apartment, you have a golden opportunity to avoid all that plastic altogether. Opt for a potted tree that you can replant in the spring, or find out how you can compost a cut tree so that it keeps giving back to the earth when you’re done celebrating.
The best ornaments for your tree are ones that you can toss in the compost pile come January. Try making old-fashioned paper chains for decking your halls and doorways. You can also use a simple needle and thread to make garlands of air-popped popcorn and cranberries for your tree.
You can also make beautiful sugared pinecones and hang them from your tree with some decorative ribbon. Each of these ornaments will break down naturally in your compost pile, though you can hang the cranberry garlands outside for the birds or recycle the paper chains as well.
To make your tree shine, choose strings of lights that use LED bulbs instead of traditional incandescents. These use way less electricity, and they last a lot longer — that’s a win-win from an environmental standpoint.
You can also cut down your electricity use by putting your lights on a simple timer so they shut off when you go to bed. If you’ve ever accidentally left your tree lights on all night, this can be a lifesaver for your electric bill, and it will help reduce your carbon footprint this holiday season.
With a little imagination, you can turn your holiday décor into an eco-friendly masterpiece. These projects are great for kids, too, and you can celebrate the season knowing that your decorations aren’t harming the planet for future generations. What could be better than that?