Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Greening My Holiday Decor

Every year I think about getting a Christmas tree but then...don't. Mainly because the cost of a tree plus a stand seems unnecessary for a small apartment, especially when I'm already spending left and right on gifts during the holidays, and also because we always unwrap presents from beneath my parents' tree on Christmas morn.

This year I had my heart set on a little potted fir tree, thinking I could keep it alive ever after in the yard. Thus solving the environmentalist's condundrum of whether a live tree that is chopped down and thrown out is better than a fake tree made out of plastic but used year after year. However, I was disappointed that the tree vendors at the farmers market near me are only selling cut trees. I've seen some potted trees for sale at the usual sidewalk setups, but I'd rather not support them since they probably use pesticides and probably racked up carbon miles by bringing the trees from Canada.

So no tree it is. But over the past few days I've created a warm holiday feel in the apartment through other decorations, incorporating reusable or recycled materials.

* A fake evergreen garland and ornaments bought on sale years ago. Easy to store in a small apartment and we bring them out every year. The lights were donated by my parents - I think it was an extra string they had lying around. Unfortunately I don't think they are LED lights, so I am trying to remember to turn off some of our regular lamps to plug in these lights instead during the few hours each evening I am home.

* I was excited to hang stockings from my new mantel, until I realized they would be within reach of the puppy's grasp and possibly shredded within a day. So I hung them from the window instead with the garland, which looks great.

The stockings are from etsy seller The Little Green Bean, who makes stockings out of recycled coffeebean bags and old sweaters, and I just saw she has a whole bunch of other cute holiday things for sale. I'm excited to exchange little stocking gifts the night before Christmas eve, before heading to my parents' house for the holidays! Possibly with champagne (or maybe hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps) and cookies? Can I make this a new tradition?

* Inspired by hanging stars made from kraft paper at bigBANG studio's Thanksgiving, I cut stars out of cardboard boxes leftover from a birthday gift. I jazzed them up with some gold paint I found sitting in my craft drawer and then strung them up with yarn, fishing wire, and tape .

* I have a tradition of hanging paper snowflakes and leaving them up all winter for continual cheer. I thought I saved last years's to rehang, but I couldn't find them, so I cut this year's out of repurposed white wrapping paper (as I've said before, collecting bags and gift wrap in my craft drawer is oh so handy). Click here for a basic how-to on paper snowflakes - from there I like to just use my imagination to cut out designs!

Tell me about your decorations this year. Did you get a tree? Are you making any fun crafts? Are you trying to incorporate sustainable materials? Here are a few more ideas from other bloggers to spark your decorating:

* LifeUnscripted's Old Fashioned Tree Garland
* EcoYogini's Green Holiday Decorating Complete with Eco-Recon
* Green Phone Booth's I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas


  1. joe's allergic to christmas (pine) trees. it's sad because i love the smell. we got a cheap fake tree from target years ago... one of those ones that looks pathetically fake. but, i've kind of grown to love it. christmas isn't about looking cool anyway.
    i'm thinking we need some paper snowflakes this year too.

  2. I have some similar issues- they aren't selling the rosemary bush anymore! so no tree this year for myself either. oh well.
    I LOVE your stars and stockings!! so fun and festive :)

  3. Celia - oh dear that's too bad that he's allergic, but I'm glad you can move beyond it to see the true meaning of christmas :-)

    Eco Yogini - oh no! sorry about the rosemary bush. at least you have the pine smell from your real garland. i pondered whether i could steal some branches too, but i think fallen fir branches would be a lot harder to come by in the park near me, think it's mostly deciduous trees.

    Lisa - and you get to live in the cuteness for 3 nights yay!

  4. oh i just LOVE those cardboard stars!! Simple and adorable...full of cheer :-)

  5. Oh, I just love paper snowflakes. I've been wanting to make some of those, myself.

  6. Saweet decor!
    And no potted trees in your neck of the woods? Very sad! We got one of those and will see if we can coax it into living on after Christmas.

  7. I love your holiday decor, and a peppermint schnapps and hot chocolate tradition has my vote!

    When I was a kid, we'd skip the tree most years and decorate a potted ficus tree with homemade ornaments. It wasn't quite the same as a big Christmas tree, but it worked. We had to be careful to make light ornaments, though, which makes me laugh every time I think about it. Decorating the tree was almost dangerous!

  8. It is just lovely! I'm sad you didn't get your potted fir.

  9. I have the cheap, fake Target tree too! It'll never be the same as having a real tree, but I've grown to love it too, after 4 years. I even went so ghetto as to buy pine-scented candles last year to simulate the real tree effect. I might try making those paper snowflakes though.

  10. oh, p.s., I came across your lentil soup with parmesan rinds recipe and i'm gonna try it today. i posted about it a few mins ago. thanks!
    (i also added you to my blogroll.)

  11. agirl, good luck, let me know how it goes with keeping the tree alive. i have been a failure at keeping plants alive this year, though i blame it on the puppy's teeth.

    Liz - that's so unique. nothing like some danger to bring a family together.

    Giovanna - pine scented candles sound yummy. thanks for adding me! i hope the soup helps you feel better. ahh the effects of steam.

  12. I love, love, love the stars - so cute and clever. I have all of my usual Christmas goodies up...this is my favorite time of the year.

    Thanks again for the awesome recipe for pumpkin snickerdoodles - they were amazing.

  13. I recently tried making paper snowflakes out of coffee filters at work. I was HORRIBLE at it! Why was I so much better at is as a kid?

    Great post! Thanks!

  14. what delight!

    delight in catching up on your blog only to find your marvelous golden cardboard stars! thanks for the love, sista! your snowflakes are absolutely adorable- the whole place looks magical.

    big hugs, merry christmas, xoxo!

  15. I totally had my heart set on making a Christmas tree this year from crepe myrtle branches (stolen from my neighbors yard in the wee hours). I was going to spray paint them white and hang white twinkle lights all over them. Then I had to go out of town unexpectedly, so it didn't happen. I LOVE YOUR STARS!

  16. We stopped getting trees years ago, and this year I'm pretty proud of the tree I made. It turns out that an upside down tomato cage wrapped in grape vines does the trick just fine! I'm posting it on my blog in a few days...I love your stars! And a good cheese rind can't be beat in any soup! Happy happy!