Wednesday, December 3, 2008

an Environmental Christmas

I love decorating. We're "that" house that has decorations, vintage yard signs, and banners for nearly every holiday. Christmas is a very important season for my family, so I always make sure to decorate the house and yard.

This year, like many other years, I have decorated the trees in our front yard. Only this year, I've become even more environmentally friendly with my decorations, and you can too. Instead of placing lights on all of the trees, I opted for beautiful red velvet ribbon that I wrapped up the trunks of the two large trees. I've also put a half dozen large red ribbons, and probably 4-5 dozen small red ribbons throughout the branches of the three biggest trees in the yard (all of these ribbons, mind you, were reused from years past). I then hung 2-3 dozen shatter proof silver and gold ornaments throughout the tree canopy as well. When the sun hits the ornaments, they instantly shine - brighter than any electrical lights could!

Don't get me wrong - I'll still be using some electricity - and am definitely putting lights on the main tree in the front yard, just like every year. Only this year, I'm using a timer to limit when the lights are actually powered on.

Here are some other great tips for keeping your holiday spirit low cost and environmentally friendly.
  • reuse when you can. if you care for your decorations, they will last for years and save you a bundle on buying the same things year after year.
  • upgrade your holiday lights. I'm all for saving decorations to use in the future, but when advancements in technology, newer LED type lights are incredibly more efficient and durable. While initially more expensive, the lights will save you more over time.
  • don't buy a "cut" Christmas tree. Many Christmas tree farms and retailers are offering "potted" trees that can be planted after the holiday season. Artificial trees are also great options for those with allergies, and can be quite economical and durable as well. If you do buy a "cut" Christmas tree, make sure the retailer has a tree recycling program for after the holiday is over.
  • get creative with wrapping. Why buy paper and gift bags that will simply be thrown away immediately? Look for gifts and accessories that can be used as wrapping. For example, last year we gave our neighbours a "movie night" - complete with a large popcorn bowl that was filled with unpopped corn, candies, other various snacks, and a gift card to a local video store. Everything fit in the large bowl - no need to wrap! I also love the "vintage" appeal of packages wrapped in newspaper.
  • buy cards made with recycled materials and consider sending electronic cards as well.

Being "green" at the holidays doesn't mean you have to sacrifice beauty, elegance, or pizazz. You can create the most beautiful holiday scene, and still be sensible to both your economic and environmental situations! Happy Decorating!

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