The holiday season has officially begun! In a few short weeks, many of us will be thinking about decorating our homes, accenting our parties, shopping for gifts and considering the best food to serve to our friends and family. All this traditional holiday preparation sets the scene for our ideal holiday celebration. While our intentions are good, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the volume of household waste increases by 25% each holiday season. That’s close to one million tons being sent to landfills across the country each year. Take a look these Earth-friendly and up-cycled ideas and projects that will help eliminate extra waste this holiday season. After all, going green can be stylish and a great way to impress your family and friends with your resourcefulness.
Look In Your Kitchen
Start with the kitchen–you can make decorations with marshmallows,oranges and other citrus fruits, popcorn, cinnamon sticks, candy canes, and cranberries. Use pumpkins and gourds as vases by simply cutting off the top, removing seeds, and filling with seasonal flowers. Or try carving into fun shapes and flowers, sure to leave your guests chattering. Using kitchen items are the easiest DIY crafts, even for the non-crafty. Food decorations look great on dinning room table settings, and everyone loves the playfulness of food as decorations!
10 Christmas Crafts Made with Food
Instead of buying new decorations, improve on what you already have. Plastic water bottles and empty soda cans can be re-vamped into ornaments for trees, or windowsills. Paint coffee cans for a unique advent calendar, fill with your family’s favorite homemade treats. An old wreath wire that never made it to fruition has a funky and rustic look simply with LED lights strung around it. Give old ornaments a makeover with updated glue and glitter, hang from trees, or place in large vases as a centerpiece.
Take a walk outside and gather pinecones, leaves, and twigs. These make great rustic (and free!) decorations. Simply spray paint, and if desired, glitter, and place around your home for a naturally whimsical touch. For party favors, give your guests miniature fir trees wrapped in burlap and tied with a festive ribbon. They can plant their trees after the holiday season!
A few more holiday eco-friendly facts and tips:
Approximately 33 million live Christmas trees are sold in North America every year. Look for ways to recycle your tree instead of sending it to a landfill.
Turn off or unplug holiday lights during the day. Doing so will not only save energy, but will also help your lights last longer.
Try to buy LED lights. LEDs won the durability test, failing to burn out over 4,000 hours, with standards burning one or two out per strand before half that time.
Wrap gifts in recycled or reused wrapping paper or funny papers. Also remember to save or recycle used wrapping paper.
About 40 percent of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Buy rechargeable batteries to accompany your electronic gifts, and consider giving a battery charger as well. Rechargeable batteries reduce the amount of potentially harmful materials thrown away, and can save money!
After holiday festivities, put leftovers in recyclable containers, and share them with family, friends, or others. Donate whole, untouched leftovers from parties to a local food bank or homeless shelter.