Another holiday, another excuse to break the bank with expensive decorations which may or may not last us until last year. Trees that end up in the trash, broken, plastic decorations (some tacky, some not), stringed lights with blown bulbs…
The holidays are notorious for waste, but they don’t have to be! I have put together a series of ideas which will help us put on the most beautiful AND sustainable holiday decor, to help with our eco-friendly festivities, this season. Whether you’re throwing a Christmas party or saving this time for an intimate get-together with family, these tips will help save us from contributing to the most wasteful, yet wonderful time of the year.
Let’s start out with one of the largest debates when it comes to sustainability during the Christmas season. The real v.s artificial Christmas tree debate. On one hand, you have the real Christmas tree grown on a tree farm, only for the purpose to be chopped down for the holidays. On the other hand, you have the generic, artificial trees which can serve a purpose for the next 5 to 10 years if we’re lucky, before throwing it in a landfill, which also makes it near impossible to break down.
When looking at this from a perspective of the tree farms, growing these trees aren’t necessarily taking away from the natural forests we do have, and each tree grew actually absorbs 1 ton of CO2 from the atmosphere. Also, an acre of real Christmas trees is enough to provide 18 people with oxygen every day. The cons? Well depending on where you’re located, the trees may have to travel a long way in order to get to you, which can have a negative impact on the environment. Not to mention the pesticides that have to be sprayed on the trees if they’re not organic. Plus the fact that we are still getting the trees chopped down, to serve us a purpose for max. one month.
Having said this, artificial trees have to be transported overseas, as the majority of them aren’t made in North America. And, as I previously mentioned, they’re made out of materials which aren’t easily broken down. This means that once you have to throw out your broken tree, it will stay in a landfill a hundred times longer than it provided service for us in our homes.
Still having doubts about whether to get a real or artificial, traditional, Christmas tree? Check out these other alternatives below!
Potted Living Trees
All the fun of having real, live Christmas tree, without having to throw it out! Potted Christmas trees are a great option if you have room in your garden or front yard, to plant them, as they do have to go somewhere once the Christmas season is over!
Paperback Book Trees
An artistic and minimalistic take on using what you already have, in order to make cute little Christmas tree decorations. Pinterest has a TON of DIY paperback book tree ideas, which is a great craft to do with the family, for an event activity, or just on your own!
Pallet/ Driftwood/ Plank-wood Tree
Etsy and Pinterest both have great options and ideas for creating your own/ purchasing a pallet tree. If you’ve never heard of these, they’re basically Christmas trees of any size, made out of plank-wood or driftwood. They’re very creative and fun to build and decorate, PLUS a lot of the times, you can just use scraps of wood which would otherwise serve no other purpose.
The fun thing about using cardboard to decorate is how versatile it can be in order for it to adapt to the style you are going for. Modern? Cartoon-like? A “Who-Ville” look-alike? Different shapes and sizes and dimensions and patterns. Check out some styles here!
Thrift Your Ornaments
Thrifting for ornaments is a fantastic idea. Not only can you find cool, vintage decorations for your tree, home, or event, they can also make for neat little gift ideas for your guests attending Christmas parties. The thrift store is a great place for unique and sometimes even new or barely used ornaments, which will save you money, be less wasteful for the environment, and, if you need to you can also thrift some of your own ornaments, in order to rotate in your used ones!
Handmade/ Homemade Crafts
There are a TON of different designs of homemade ornament/ decorations crafts you can do this holiday season. Or, if you don’t really consider yourself the kind of artsy, creative type when it comes to making your own ornament, handmade crafts (by someone other than yourself) can still be a great choice. For starters, it isn’t as unsustainable as plastic, industrialized ornaments can be, and you can also support smaller, more local business by purchasing their handmade decorations instead!
Handmade wreaths are another fun, handmade, and eco-friendly way to decorate our spaces this holiday season. They are a lot similar to the Christmas tree ideas in this way, as there are infinite designs and options available for us to recreate. Whether it’s the modern, chic and slick ones, or full of greenery— creating your own wreaths which not only represents your style, but also saves the planet is too fun of an opportunity to pass up!
LED Tree Lights
For many, Christmas lights are a must during the holidays, and if this is part of your own traditions as well, LED lights should be a must. Not only to they save energy, but they can last up to 10 times longer than regular ones and are also more durable and incredibly cost efficient.
Fairy Light Mason Jars
Gorgeous, fun and creative ways to light up the dinner tables. Especially great if you have younger guests and are concerned about having any candle lights, these are a great option.
Less is STILL more. We don’t need to purchase new decorations every year, nor do we need all of the clutter, to make our homes look beautiful or festive. Go for natural decor and organic fibers like organic cotton, hemp, fruits, nuts, pine, and avoid plastic as much as possible. Remember that when you purchase these kinds of organic material, they’ll be able to meet our best friend, the compost, and avoid contributing to the major waste that the holidays have the potential to bring in.
Do you have some “go-to” sustainable tips you keep for yourself for the holidays? Let me know down in the comments below! If you’re looking for some holiday gift ideas for vegans, minimalists, and environmentalists, check out my blog post here!
And, if you’re still in need of some more ideas, check out my YouTube video for some more gift solutions for all of your loved ones! I wish you all the happiest of holidays, full of love, abundance and of course, delicious vegan food, and I am sending you all luck on your journey to planning and living more sustainable and minimalist, ethical lifestyles 🙂