The holidays are a great time for hosting family and friends and showing off your best holiday decorations. But while you may be tempted to buy new and trendy decor at your local home goods store, it’s important to take a moment to consider the environmental impact of your purchase. These tips can make your house festive and trendy while keeping your decor eco-friendly.
Purchase and recycle a real tree
There’s much debate about the sustainability of real and fake trees, but according to the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), authentic trees are far more sustainable than artificial ones. The NCTA says that, on average, fake trees are used for six to nine years before they’re thrown out and replaced. They’re also made from metal, plastic, and often polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a nonrecyclable material that contains harmful phthalates.
On the other hand, real trees release oxygen and are completely recyclable and renewable since farmers typically plant up to three trees for every one they harvest. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of recycling a real tree after the holidays, check if companies near you rent them out. They will drop off, pick up, and replant your tree, letting you enjoy it for the holidays without any of the hassle.
Rely on the beauty of nature
Nature is one of the greatest assets for holiday decorations, and the options are virtually endless when it comes to incorporating natural decor into your home. Fresh garland, which you can purchase from a local farm or garden store, will bring a wonderful holiday scent into your home. Dried citrus is another great option. You can use dried citrus in your decor since the material is recyclable and can be used to create sustainable ornaments that will add a pop of color to your tree and garland. You can also search around your yard for pine cones that you can add to your tree, mantel, or dinner-table centerpiece.
Buy secondhand decor
Shopping at antique stores and thrift stores is one of the best ways to find new-to-you items without accumulating brand-new products. When you shop secondhand, you actively reduce your carbon footprint since these are existing products to which you’re giving a new life. These stores tend to have large numbers of holiday decorations, and you never know what unique and trendy pieces you’ll find. You’re bound to see items that you can’t find anywhere else, so it’s a fun treasure hunt worth going on.
If you have a specific idea for a holiday decoration, see if you can make it yourself before you buy something new. For example, if you need new stockings, try cutting the sleeves off an old sweater and stitching one end shut. If you have old holiday decor that no longer matches your home’s aesthetic, consider freshening it up with a coat of paint. If you need new ornaments, make them yourself with photos and yarn or ribbons that you might have on hand. Homemade pieces are also great conversation starters since they give you the opportunity to tell your loved ones how you made them yourself.
Invest in LED lights
LED holiday lights are the best option for all your festive lighting needs. According to the US Department of Energy, LED lights are the most energy-efficient lighting option available, using at least 75 percent less energy while lasting up to twenty-five times longer than incandescent lights. They are also safer since they’re cooler than incandescent lights and don’t break as easily due to their epoxy-covered bulbs. If you don’t already have LED holiday lights, consider making the switch when your current lights start to go out—just be sure to properly recycle your old ones.
Don’t disregard your decor
You might be surprised by how much you already have around the house that could be used as holiday decorations. Look at your living spaces, and picture what you can do with the pieces you already own. For example, do you have a large, clear vase and a bag of holiday ball ornaments? Fill the vase with the ornaments, and sit it out on your dining room table for a beautiful centerpiece. With just a little creativity, you can find ways to mix your year-round decor with holiday decorations, giving you a new purpose for practically anything this season.
It’s always fun to get your home ready for the holidays, but it’s also your chance to show some love for the environment by making your decorating more sustainable. With these tips, you can reduce your carbon footprint while making your home festive for the holidays.