I was shocked to hear that, according to the EPA, the volume in household waste in the United States increases 25% in the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day! There is so much waste around this time of year but there doesn’t have to be. That is why this year A and I are making a conscious effort to create a much more eco-friendly Christmas. There were so many ways for us to cut back on spending and wasting, and this is coming from a couple who is only celebrating their second Christmas together and is therefore void of a lot of essential Christmas decorations. Below are a few of the sneaky and easy ways that we chose to upcycle this holiday season.
Christmas trees are such a wonderful addition to your holiday home, but unfortunately also a very wasteful one! This year A and I did an awesome D.I.Y. “tree” like this one, but I have also seen a lot of cool tree alternatives like this one here and this one here.
There are so many ways to save on holiday decorations, but I will give you an summary of where we cut back the most. The first on that list is stockings. I love stockings but as you can imagine a lot of them go to waste or are purchased commercially. Going with a real sock you already own (like we did) or knitting you own out of recycled wool is a good way to prevent waste and continue the longevity of your decorations! Next on the list is advent trees! All we did was pop up a few tiny bags we already had onto a twine rope with some of our clothespins and each year these will be reusable. And finally top of the decorating perpetrators list is all the random Christmas stuff that people feel the need to purchase! A and I purchased one fake wreath from Goodwill (hello recycling!) and cut it apart to make our tree D.I.Y. as well as part of our tablescape (coming soon!) and our holiday corner as seen above. Our holiday corner, as we are calling it, it made up of a recycled wood palette, decorated with lights and some cute little trinkets. The pinecone banner above is made from real pinecones and parts of our recycled wreath! There is no need to purchase a ton of new, plastic decorations each year, unless you do so from a store like Goodwill where you are stimulating the economy, aiding in unemployment and recycling all at once!
Wrapping can be a toughie to save on because it is something you definitely cannot compromise on…kinda kills the surprise if you can see what your gift is! However there are things you can do that are still beneficial for the environment. This year A and I opted to just use paper that we already had on hand and that was made from recyclable materials. Even better, for a few of our gifts we wrapped them in newspaper and magazines that we already had to save even more waste!
Finally, the biggest waste of all is the gifts we give and receive! I know it sounds harsh, but we all give and get so many gifts around the holidays, there is bound to be some waste. This year Antonio and I’s big gifts to each other are a special experience instead of a thing. We celebrated together on a trip to Cincinnati and also got each other some gift certificates to each other’s favorite dinner spots around Columbus. Additionally if you want to re-gift something (no shame we have all done it before!) or look into upcycling gifts, these links might be able to help you out!
Is there anything I missed? How are you doing your part to upcycle this year?