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Christmas is “the season to be jolly”, but it’s also often the season to be wildly extravagant, indulgent and excessive; the planet suffers at the expense of our fairy lights, chopped trees and mounds of hastily discarded wrapping paper.
But Christmas and ‘green living’ aren’t mutually exclusive and you may in fact be surprised at the variety of eco-friendly, yet festive, ways you can decorate.
1) Succulent Wreath
If you’ve got green fingers and don’t mind a spot of winter gardening, then how about creating a beautiful succulent wreath to hang on your front door?
Most people associate winter plants with evergreen trees, but from the picture above you can see just what a large variety of colours it’s possible to have.
Make your own succulent wreath by following this simple tutorial.
Rather than heading out to the shops for a cheap plastic imitation, if you’re lucky enough to live in a country where mistletoe grows naturally then why not pop out and cut off a small piece for your home.
Always make sure to only take as much as you need and wear protective gloves too, as European mistletoe is poisonous and can cause severe stomach pain and diarrhoea.
Create your very own expensive Christmas ornaments by simply heading to your local park. Go on a stroll and search the ground for some beautiful fallen pinecones to take home. Then purchase a couple of metallic spray paints and spray the pinecones silver, bronze or gold. When they’re dry you can either arrange them in a pretty bowl or hang them as baubles from your tree.
These decorations are extremely simple to make and the natural materials will break down much faster than plastic.
4) Recycled Paper Chains
This one is perfect to make with the kids. Simply buy some recycled paper (or newspaper) and get snipping! Bright colours are best for Christmas, but you can always get the kids to decorate the chains afterwards.
5) Edible Decorations
Food decorations are guaranteed not to go to waste. The only problem is that your beautiful Christmas tree may soon look rather bare!
Gingerbread men are perfect for hanging on trees. Simply create a small hole when they’re first removed from the oven. Normal gingerbread men will stay tasty for about three days, so if you want them to last longer then cover them in an acrylic varnish. This makes them inedible, but it will ensure that they stay up throughout the season and they also won’t fall prey to any little (or large) hungry tummies.
6) Holly & Ivy
As with mistletoe it’s always important to only take what you need, but decorating with authentic holly and ivy is sure to give you bonus points for effort.
Make sure to take thick gloves with you on your foliage hunting mission, as holly is extremely prickly and ivy can cause some people to develop a rash.
7) Energy Efficient LEDs
Nobody wants to spend Christmas in the dark, but the level of flashing icicles and giant inflatable Santas can sometimes border on excessive. If you want to make a few festive changes within your home, then the easiest way to do so is by switching to LEDs.
LED’s use 80% less power than traditional Christmas lights, so they’re a great example of how one little change can make a really big difference.
So, whether you’re greening up your home or ensuring that your office Christmas decorations stay eco-friendly, there are plenty of options!
What green Christmas decorations have you made?
This article originally published December, 2012.