You will need: glitter, left-over ribbons, old cards and limited creativity
Decorations in general around this time of year are for the majority plastic and will end up in the trash either this year or within the next five. Aim to purchase decorations that are either going to last (my family has a collection of tiny porcelain houses that we have had for as long as I can remember) or make your own decorations from materials you can recycle or compost. That’s right, compost. Trees that have been sustainably grown and harvested can be used and chipped up for your mulch in the spring or use a potted tree that you can replant in the spring. Make wreathes out of pruned branches, pinecones, etc and add some flare with ribbons (my dad enjoys throwing sumac in there) and compost them when you’re finished. I also came across an interesting blog about creating x-mass tree balls out of aluminum cans and stars out of plastic bottles, if you are feeling motivated.
Cards consume hundreds of thousands of trees during the holiday season- dig through last year’s cards and get crafty, cutting out those holiday images and pasting them on cardboard from your recycling bin. I personally prefer using thin, cereal boxes for the backing- glued together to hide the images. If you want to add extra holiday spirit, add some glitter or ribbon.
Wrapping paper, don’t even get me started on how many types of wrapping papers cannot be recycled! And unless you were one of the lucky few to get your hands on some FREE wrapping paper at the free store on Nov.30th, then you may want to try wrapping your gifts in reusable bags or even newspaper. I know what you’re thinking; that black and white print may not look so dashing under the tree- but take a walk outside (closer to gift-giving time) and prune a tree. Adding a bough or pine cone wrapped in ribbon or doused in some silver sparkles will spruce up your gift’s appearance while ensuring the wrapping is recyclable.
Energy efficiency should be kept in mind, if you have those neighbours that love making elaborate lighting displays on their front yard- glare at them. Use LED lighting and keep them on timers to prevent the accidental running-all-night-eating-energy-like-candy-canes-on-x-mass-morning incidents.
Happy x-mass decorating!