You’ve likely already decked the halls and trimmed the tree, but have you ever stopped to wonder about the impact of all those decorations? Most modern ornaments are made of plastic and aluminum — not the most environmentally-friendly products. So if you’d like to opt for more personal and Earth-friendly decorations this Christmas, consider some of these eco-alternatives.
Edible Ornaments: Victorian-era century Christmas trees weren’t adorned with the bright plastic trinkets that we yearly hang upon the tree. Their decorations were of a far more practical, and edible, sort. Gingerbread men, dried fruits, bundles of spices and sugar plums were common decorations found on these early Christmas trees. Not only are these quaint ornaments extremely simple to make, they also give you a little something to snack on as you bide the time between opening presents and gorging on turkey later in the day.
Recycled Ornaments: As the old saying goes, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. So spare a few extra bits of junk from making their way into a landfill this year by getting ornaments made from recycled materials. The Living Christmas Co. has a number of attractive ornaments made from recycled glass and plastic, and some that are even made of repurposed food wrappers, so you can celebrate the season this year secure in the knowledge that you’ve turned trash into treasure.
Succulent Wreath: Most wreaths are either made from plastic and wire, or fashioned from the snipped, dead branches of evergreens. Either way, these wreaths eventually make their way to the trash. But the succulent wreath from VivaTerra is a living, growing plant that you can hang in your house. When Christmas is done, break down these hardy plants and transplant them into your garden or in pots around the home.
DIY Ornaments: Rather than shell out a bunch of money for some mass-produced plastic baubles, why not take an afternoon to make some of your own ornaments? A needle, thread and bowl of popcorn is all you need to make the classic popcorn garland, a decoration that’s compostable at the end of the holiday season, unlike plastic tinsel. If you’re looking for a more ambitious DIY project, check out Apartment Therapy’s great list of Christmas ornament how-to guides.
Fair-Trade Ornaments: Christmas is a time for caring, so what better way to celebrate the holiday season than to decorate your tree with ornaments that show you care? Fair-trade goods ensure that workers in far-off lands are getting a fair share for their work. In addition to the moral boost from buying one of these ornaments, you also get a hand-crafted keepsake that’s made in a far more sustainable manner than the factory-fashioned decorations we usually put on the tree. Fair-trade ornaments, like the ones from Fair Indigo or Pristine Planet, put money in the pockets of workers, not big corporations looking to make a quick buck off of the holiday season.