Every year between Thanksgiving and New Years, Americans produce an EXTRA 25 million TONS of waste on top of the current waste we are already producing.

Having a truly green holiday is no easy task! Let’s face it – it’s challenging to create sustainable holiday decor that isn’t expensive, fragile, ugly or attracts critters! Remember this statistical fact – if every American family wrapped just 3 presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields...small steps DO matter.

Here are some tips and tricks on decorating sustainably (and cheaply) this holiday season....

(Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash)

Grow or Rent Your Christmas Tree

We know, we know. “Planting a Christmas tree?! But I don’t have a backyard!”

Hear us out – if your living spaces aren’t too “tree-friendly,” you can always opt to rent your Christmas tree at a local plant nursery. Tree services such as Rent-A-Christmas are in select locations, but are incredibly effective at recycling, renting, and reusing trees.

If you do have what it takes to grow a tree, why not give it a go? Use your green thumb skills by buying a potted tree and planting it in the early fall. Once successful, your real Christmas tree will be cherished by your family and friends for years to come (not to mention that amazing pine smell and carbon reducer you created!)

If you’re in a financial pickle, ask yourself – what actually defines a Christmas tree? Anything green and plant-like will honestly do! Decorate your plants or backyard tree to give the same holiday cheer this season. You won’t be missing out on anything – Mother Earth can confirm.

(Photo & Product by PonoHomeGifts)

Upcycle Plastics

Finally, something plastics can be useful for- DIY plastic ornaments! They are not only a creative alternative for your family and kiddos but also a constant reminder of why we need to reduce our plastic waste!

For ornaments, you can take a trip to the beach or park and collect microplastics. Use these materials as a way to fill a glass ornament or make a decorated mosaic. For a DIY snowglobe, cut plastic bottles in half and decorate the inside with cotton balls, printed-out images, and biodegradable glitter. You can find more creative ideas on The Ocean Blue Project for plastic decorations.

If you’re fresh out of plastics (cheers to that!), you can always buy decorations, revert to secondhand decorations sold at thrift stores or natural holiday elements like seasonal winter produce (you plan on eating!) instead.

(Photo by Alexandra Kusper on Unsplash)

Outdoor Holiday Aroma

What’s one thing you miss out on using plastic decorations? A fresh fragrance that makes your home so welcoming and festive! Decorate your household with fruits, spices, pine clippings, pine cones and more using Mother Earth’s sources.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our latest post on how to prepare orange slice ornaments for your tree. This alternative offers both an aesthetic and citrus touch to your Christmas household.

For table decorations, you can forage for pine cones (please don't buy them!) and decorate them in biodegradable glitter or use our silicone bag to soak in cinnamon for that holiday smell and festive decor. 

Lastly, for wreaths and stockings, you can make your own or buy secondhand. For wreaths, you can collect any source of greenery, then tie them together with floral wire or twine: eucalyptus, pine, baby's breath, holly all look lovely for this! For stockings, you can find a tutorial here how to make your own using old sweaters. Finish off both by placing cinnamon stick inside for winter-y smells.

(Photo by olga safronova on Unsplash)

Recycled or Package-Free Wrapping

Did you know that most wrapping paper is NON-recyclable? Those laminated, shiny materials are actually recycling contaminates, making it a nightmare for facilities to effectively recycle post-holiday waste.

To help the community and the environment, switch over to fabric, pre-recycled, and unlaminated wrapping paper. For smaller mail-friendly gifts, opt for kraft padded envelopes as an alternative. Instead of plastic ribbons and bows, use twine and compostable, natural elements as decor. Check out our last blog post on eco-friendly wrapping paper ideas.

OR you can opt for an e-gift card and skip the wrapping altogether!

With these tips in mind, you and family will be “walking in a [waste-free] winter wonderland!"

Happy sustainable decorating!

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