18 December 2013

A Very Merry Recyclable and Low-Waste Christmas































Searching for ways to keep Christmas more simple and green? Perhaps you've been so busy shopping you haven't had a chance to put up any decorations and you're looking for some last minute affordable ideas? Maybe you're a minimalist and you're ready to start storing less decor and recycling and reusing more? Here are some of my tips, goals, and ideas on how to look to nature for inspiration and have a very merry low-waste and recyclable Christmas.

1. Make your own garland using burlap or pine cones.
2. Make paper snowflakes.
3. Make walnut ornaments.
4. Use berries, cinnamon, and/or pine cones instead of bows.
5. Use twigs to enhance your candles.
5. Make a twig star for your tree topper.
6. Make a grapevine wreath.
7. Wrap your gifts in used newspaper.

Got any more ideas for us? I would love to hear them.

45 comments :

  1. have you ever made a cranberry and popcorn garland?? I would love to do this and so would my kiddo but I'm a little leery of putting real food items on the tree cuz of what if tiny critters that may be lurking in the tree might be attracted to the food. Or am I just paranoid?? (the answer to that is always yes) :)

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    1. I haven't yet but I am SO doing it next year when Baby Whimsy can help and knows better not to try to eat the garland. ;) Ironically she adores both cranberries and popcorn.

      I've seen a few people who recommend spraying the garland with a spray adhesive but I'm not sure how biodegradable that is. I'll do a little more research, try it next year, and get back to you. Great question! Especially for those of us that like real trees.

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    2. I actually did that when we were first married (1979) and had no problems with critters.

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    3. Oh good. I'm so glad to hear that. Thank you B for sharing.

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  2. If you have somewhere to plant it, there is always the option of buying a potted tree and planting it after the holiday rather than a cut tree. If you have to buy a cut tree, look into tree recycling programs that turn them into wood chips and compost.

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    1. That is an excellent point. We bought ours from a local farm and our city has a great tree recycling program.

      We seriously debated an uncut but they can only be indoors for a little over a week I think. From what I read the indoor heat confuses them if it's kept inside too long. Maybe one year we'll do a live one one on our deck and then plant it.

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  3. I love making cranberry and popcorn garland! This is the first year in a while that we didn't, since we didn't go for a real tree this year. I love the idea of drying orange slice to hang on the branches, too. We had some rather poor Christmases in the past, but we made them so lovely, with popcorn garland, paper chains, paper snowflakes (junk mail and old newspaper!), pine cones and twigs...

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    1. Ooooo have you ever had buggy issues with them (as Melissa was asking)? Do you spray yours with anything? I can't wait to make some next year.

      Yes! I look forward to making paper chains too!

      LOVE your idea of using junk mail! Bright and brilliant.

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  4. These are such great ideas! Personally I have always loved making a garland and those paper snowflakes!

    Lauren,
    http://www.atouchofsoutherngrace.com/

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  5. I am totally behind this. Love!

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  6. Burlap is awesome for certain themes. Right now we have a country theme and it goes really well with what we're doing; it's not hand made but we found a spool of ribbon that is burlap and it looks great on gifts and the like. :)

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    1. Burlap is great stuff. I love the look, it's reusable, sustainable, and biodegradable and you're right it's adorable on presents.

      You should post a pic of your tree!

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  7. This is an awesome idea! I was thinking about doing this next year! Great inspiration doll!
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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  8. Wonderful! We tend to make/design our own decorations too, it's makes for a fun time spent together. /Madison
    Happy Holidays!

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  9. All wonderful ideas...I really need to find a compromise with hubby and have a simpler Christmas!

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  10. I absolutely love the twig star tree topper and the grapevine wreath- such a beautiful home-like feeling!
    I'm definitely going to follow your lead for next year and take Christmas slower and enjoy the beauty of the season!

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    1. Yay! *hug* I love hearing that. I bet you and your mom will make amazing stuff too.

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  11. I like the nature inspired decorations. I have seen a craft on Pinterest where you use old light bulbs and paint them like snowmen to make snowmen ornaments.

    http://www.kelseybang.com/2011/11/snowman-lightbulb-ornament-and-giveaway.html

    I also pinned this one on making paper ornaments with book pages:

    http://flaxmanchronicles.blogspot.com/2012/12/diy-book-paper-ornament_4.html?m=1

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    1. What a creative use for old bulbs! I love it.

      I do adore paper ornaments made from old book pages too.

      Great shares. Thank you!

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  12. We used to do the popcorn garland and that was so fun :)

    Recently we haven't made stuff because of everyone being scattered about but I am hoping next year to have the pups trained up enough to have a tree :)

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    1. Fun! Did you spray your popcorn garland with anything?

      Awww good luck with those big puppies. I bet you hook them up with great gifts.

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  13. Ooh I love these ideas! The twig star and the walnut ornaments are actually really lovely and rustic looking. I also love the idea of wrapping presents in newspaper. It kind of has a vintage, cutesy feel, while also being good for the environment. Thanks for sharing these amazing tips! :-)

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    1. Yes! The vintagey feel is such a cool added bonus. :)

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  14. I love some of these, especially decorating with pine cones. That is something I usually do except in the past I bought them, which I probably shouldn't have done. This year I tried something different and I used pinecones and acorns from the tree in our backyard since our backyard was littered with them….I couldn't resist and they look great. Thanks for sharing these awesome ideas!

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    1. Yes! I loved collecting them too. I wanted to collect acorns and walnuts but the squirrels in my yard are hard-workers. ;)

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  15. Even if I wasn't concerned about being green, these ideas are lovely for the pure simplicity and naturalness. I quickly tire of the elaborate and overdone, but these decorations warm my soul. They are, ultimately, from Him after all. xo

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    1. I'm like that too. I'm not overly green but I do love living simply, not wasting, and the beauty I find in simplicity and nature. Amen! It's another way to focus on our blessings and I always feel closer to God in nature or when surrounded by elements of it.

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  16. I do like the look. Have a Merry Christmas. I'm going offline to spend time with my family for the next couple of weeks.

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    1. Thank you. A very very Merry Christmas to you too sweetheart. Thank you for stopping by to say that. Enjoy your family time. So precious.

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  17. Such wonderful tips! I will try some of those.

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  18. Happy Holidays to you and your family, Beautiful!

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  19. I love simple/natural decorations.

    Great ideas!

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  20. Those decorations look(and sound) so simple and refreshing! You're always such an encouragement to go minimalist. ;)

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  21. Loving this list, as you probably knew I would! :)

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  22. These are great ideas! I think I'll have a very simple Christmas next year, and I may come back and check out your suggestions then...

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  23. All awesome and creative ideas...love email! I'm also a fan of the paper chain garland...you can use almost any odds and ends from newspapers to bits of wrapping paper to ...the limits of your imagination. ^-^

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