The holiday season is just around the corner, if not already here in some eager minds. Studies have shown that decorating for Christmas makes us happier, so we’re here to let you know how to keep it green while doing so, and to encourage you to get started! From the tree, to the mantel, to the outdoors, we have suggestions for decorations that are good to the planet too. No matter what tradition or holiday you celebrate, we want to wish you a very Happy Holiday and Happy New Year from Blom Contracting.
A classic Christmas tradition is having a real evergreen tree, or Christmas tree, in your house during the holidays. If you love the smell of real trees and prefer it over the plastic tree, ask the supplier if they grow their trees sustainably. This will put your mind at ease about having a live tree that you throw away after a couple weeks. There are also tree collection programs, where your tree is picked up and shredded down for mulch and chips, which can be considered recycling your tree. Most tree collection programs only collect trees 6 feet or smaller so if yours is taller than that, consider cutting it in half if you are able. It also has to be completely bare with all decorations and lights removed.
If you just can’t deal with a real tree, and have a plastic or “fake” Christmas tree, try and get the most life out of it as possible. Try not to buy a new one every year or every couple of years. Instead if you’re unhappy with the look, switch up your decorations – swap with a friend or look for plastic free options. If you are done with it, consider donating it, reselling it, or even repurposing it into new decorations. Using wire cutters, you can cut off the branches and use them for wreaths, outdoor displays or on your mantel as garland.
Who says you need a tree at all? Yes, it is a staple of Christmas time but you can be creative with it too. You can decorate a potted plant if you want – this way you’re actually choosing the most sustainable option. You can use a potted dwarf evergreen tree that you keep in your garden for the rest of the year. You can paint a tree on a palette or piece of wood, or even make one out of scrap wood and paint it green… there are endless options. Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration for DIY’s!
Ornaments and Other Décor:
Using cranberries, popcorn or pinecones as garland is a great biodegradable alternative to tinsel or plastic garland. You can dry different citrus fruits to put in your garland too for another look. You can use branches from outside, fallen leaves, or Christmas tree clippings to make displays, centrepieces and decorate mantels, for extra décor here and there.
You can make… or should I say bake… your own ornaments too. Using just applesauce and cinnamon, you can make your own ornaments that also smell amazing! Additionally, you can make your own ornaments using felt, or paper snowflakes. You can use fabrics as well, not only for ornaments but for a wreath or a Christmas display on the mantel.
It’s hard to get away from plastic when we’re talking about Christmas lights, so try and reuse lights from years before. If they still work but don’t fit with your decorations, consider donating them or reselling them. If you need new ones, consider LED lights. Some stores like Lowes also have light recycling programs depending on the kind of bulb (fluorescent only).
Another way to reduce decoration waste is to try and avoid things with the year stamped onto them, as they will automatically be vetoed for next year. Unless it’s a meaningful date ornament, like “Baby’s First Christmas 20–”, which can be hung on the tree every year, finding decorations that can last decades will help reduce waste and your Christmas budget.
If you receive Christmas cards, use these as decorations. Hang them on a string, place them on a table or put them all over the house. If there are a few you particularly like, you can even save them and hang them up next year! You can cut off the images on the front to use as future decorations like ornaments or on homemade cards. You can also go as far as cutting the back off of the card and using the front as a new card, postcard style.
For your outdoor Christmas look, a wreath is always a classic door decoration. If you have a plastic one already, try to keep using it for as long as possible. If you want a new look or changed your decoration colours, try to use the wreath and remove/add different bows, ribbon, burlap, or pinecones to change the look. You can even paint the pine cones to go with your new colour scheme. If you don’t already have a wreath, consider a fresh wreath from your local tree farm, or make your own with the clippings from a fresh Christmas tree. You can also make wreaths out of fabric, twigs, or old ornaments. Any fresh foliage you have used – including the whole Christmas tree – can be composted, leaving no waste.
You can make little bird seed ornaments to hang on trees in your yard, paint sayings and signs on some leftover or scrap wood you have laying around, and buy poinsettias from a local flower shop or Christmas market. You can make hanging decorations or garland for your trees or porch using old ornaments, material you have lying around, or even snowflakes from toilet paper and paper towel rolls! If you like outdoor string lights, try and look for solar powered so that you’re not using electricity.
No matter how you celebrate the Holiday Season, we wish you a very happy one filled with family, friends, and good spirits. Be sure to stay tuned for more posts on having an eco-friendly Christmas!