It wasn’t long ago when your grandparents, great grandparents and generations before them decorated without any tinsel, foil or inflatable yard decorations. This year, why not turn back the hands of time and treat Mother Earth to a green Christmas?
Decorating your home in old-fashioned way is not only charming but can be a lot of family fun. There are so many projects you can work together. For instance, you can use old paper towel or toilet paper rolls to make crackers, a favorite holiday table gift. Fill yours with wooden ornaments or trinkets, and wrap with colorful paper.
Another fun activity is collecting pinecones. You can fill a bowl with them or add them to a swag or wreath, and when you’re done, you can smear on some peanut butter for a winter treat for the birds.
A lovely natural treat are dried orange slices. String them into a garland and let them dry naturally or speed things up in a low oven or a food dehydrator. Another tasty stringable treat are fresh cranberries, which will also be devoured by wintering birds.
And that’s just a start. Sandy Freeman of the Colts Neck Green Team has even more great advice for a green Christmas.
“Let’s start with the most central part of our decorating: the tree,” Freeman said. “Real or fake? Real is more sustainable, provided they are composted at the end of their life. Real trees grow all year, and all the through their growing phase, they are absorbing carbon dioxide from our air and releasing oxygen in exchange. Another option is using potted trees, but you must be willing to plant them when done. Plan ahead. Select and prepare your planting location as the ground can freeze in winter. Consider a fake tree that you can reuse year after year. Artificial trees are quite lovely and great for people with pets or anyone who wants a low-maintenance tree. They’re also a good choice for people who travel during the holiday season.
“Next, you can decorate your tree with household items like cinnamon sticks, pinecones, holly and the old-time favorite, popcorn strands. Some clever and crafty people have even made a garland out of wine corks – the bonus here is the need to empty the bottle so you can harvest those corks!
If you prefer to buy your decorations, choose décor made of recycled materials or Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood and materials.
“For a fun activity for friends, how about throwing an ornament party and exchanging décor? It’s a great way to get ‘new’ decorations and give your old ones a new home. You can even use some solar-powered Christmas lights. They will not only save on your electric bill but use less power than standard electric lights.
“Keeping Christmas green also has that family time bonus. When you spend creative time together crafting decorations or planning décor, you are slowing down and truly enjoying the spirit of the season and making items that will bring joy and memories year after year.”
While you are dreaming of a white Christmas, keep the “green” in mind.