Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Eco-friendly Holiday Decoratin' and Entertainin'

Now that we've got buying and wrapping gifts out of the way, let's talk holiday decorations and entertaining!

Whatever style decor you love, you can adapt to be eco-friendly. From modern to rustic to minimalist, deck your halls with sustainable holly!


Decorating

  • For your interior and exterior lights, go LED. They use less energy, helping to lessen the impact on your utility bill when you're already spending extra money on food and gifts. LEDs also keep their cool better than conventional lights, making your tree less of a fire hazard. You can also find decorative solar-powered outdoor lights, which are great if you don't have an exterior outlet.


  • Use natural elements instead of glitter, styrofoam and other shiny stuffs to decorate. Send the kids out to pick up small sticks and twigs in the yard, and use them in vases. They pull off a glamorous rustic feel with a simple coat of metallic spray paint.

    If you have a real Christmas tree, use the trimmed branches (or trim your own out of the back - no one will know!) and add them to floral arrangements or table centerpieces.

    Wine corks can be used for making your own ornaments, garland or miniature trees!
    • Choose soy wax candles in holiday smells for a cleaner, paraffin-free burn.
    • Better Homes and Gardens has 13 ideas for mason jar holiday crafts, from decorations to gifts. But instead of buying mason jars, simply use clean, empty food jars. Soak the jars to loosen the glue, then scrub the label off. Good as new-ish!
    • A really fun craft for children, and okay, adults too, is making paper snowflakes. Make them greener by using scrap printer paper, newspaper, paper shopping bags or even junk mail.
    • Vintage Christmas decorations are seriously some of my favorites. I've already laid claim to some of my parents', including my father's set of vintage ornaments from the late 70s or early 80s. They've already given me a musical house that is just about as old as I am. By keeping decorations for many years, or scoring vintage decorations, you're keeping unique items out of landfills.
    • Use natural or recycled fabrics for your tree skirt. Burlap adds that rustic touch. Solid-colored old flat bed sheets work great and give an organic, bunched-up look. When I had smaller Christmas trees in my old apartments, I used a large piece of scrap red fabric for a skirt.


    Even more decorating ideas, because I couldn't possibly list them all:

    Entertaining

    If you're having a holiday gathering, the most eco-friendly dinnerware is the kind you use normally. Make sure your dishwasher is empty before the party starts! Alternatively, you can go a little more casual by using melamine plates and bowls and acrylic drink glasses, even though the materials are not the greatest. They are at least reusable and work well in a party setting. And there are BPA-free options, which makes them better for children especially.

    But if you're having a large gathering and choose the disposable route, look for plates and bowls made of recycled or compostable material instead of styrofoam, which cannot be recycled and is not biodegradable. Wheat straw, plant-based, and bagasse are all sustainable and functional options.

    Susty Party's line of compostable products can be found on their website or at Whole Foods. You can also find (less festive) biodegradeable plates and bowls at Drug Emporium.


    Eco Cajun friend Kari kicked off her holiday season by camping with friends and family for Thanksgiving. For their dinner, she picked up Susty Party plates and bowls at Whole Foods, chose bamboo utensils and used brown kraft paper to cover the table. The cups are also recyclable. I love her commitment to choosing a more sustainable option, especially to go out and enjoy nature.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/-juRB4y2IAWpz2EqrSHpYXod7bpNwdh15fTgc0/?taken-by=karishepwalker
    Photo by Kari Walker


    When you're prepping for your holiday get-together, remember to recycle as much as you can. And before the guests arrive, set out your trash can and add a recycling bin next to it. If you have more than one trash can set out, place a recycling bin next to each one, so no matter what, your guests have a convenient alternative. You can even pull other items for double duty as a recycling bin, from a lined basket to a plastic storage bin.

    To make the distinction easy for guests, place a sign on the recycling bin labeling what can go in it. Since I'm in the giving spirit, I made a festive printable PDF that you can tape onto or above your recycling bin! Click on the image below to download.

    Download a PDF of this recycling bin sign and print it for your own holiday party!

    How will you green your decorations this year?

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