Greener Christmas Decorations

Everyone loves to make their home cosy and cute for Christmas but it's important to make sure that it's environmentally friendly as well. In this third post on Greener Christmas Ideas we're looking at how to make your home capture the magic of the season without harming the planet.

Less is still more. Don't overdo it. Often simple and less has more impact. Cluttered decorations just end up making more mess and stress!

Decorate With Nature: Avoid plastic and made in China and opt for wood, burlap, or organic cotton. Bring in elements from the outdoors to incorporate into your home, such as a wreath of pine boughs or an abandoned nest to place a candle within.

Research Green Christmas Tree Options: The debate rages whether artifical trees or live trees are better. Personally I feel that an artificial tree used for a few years is less sustainable than a live tree that can be mulched and supports a small business. However, artificial trees used for 10-15+ years may use less energy in the long-run. Probably best of all is to choose a real tree from a small local business and make sure that it has been organically grown. Get it potted and use it for several years in the post before then planting outdoors.

Choose Handmade and Homemade: Whether made by yourself or a local crafter, handmade items will bring a simple, beautiful energy into your home. Create your own ornaments or help your kids cut and hang snowflakes from scrap paper saved throughout the year. Make salt dough ornaments and spend an afternoon decorating them - it's a wonderful antidote to all the rushing about and if wrapped carefully they can last for years.

Energy-efficient LED Lighting: If your strands of lights are older than 10 years it will be more efficient to replace them with newer, LED bulbs. They can also save you up to 90% or more on power costs and will last longer than traditional bulbs. Also use timers so that the lights aren't running unnecessarily. Look for solar powered lights or (where safety permits) use candles instead.

Replace Burnt Out Bulbs: Too many perfectly good lights are thrown away when a single bulb bursts. Spend the time to find and replace the culprit or invest in a bulb tester (that can be shared between multiple families).

Ornaments: Choose durable and meaningful ornaments. Wood, metal, or cloth will all last longer than plastic or thin glass. And an ornament that symbolizes an important event from the year will mean it is kept and treasured for a lifetime.