If you need a change from the glitz and glamor of lights and shiny ornaments, decorate with materials from nature this holiday season! Soft, subtle colors and textures are festive and relaxing.
When you bring the outdoors in, you will buy less and waste less. Some decorations can be used all year, but they can all be composted when you’re done with them. Decorate sustainably this year!
What You'll Need
- Turn your creativity on and go out in the wild for a day to gather materials - pinecones, berries, dried grasses, seedpods, twigs, and branches. If you can make something with it, bring it home!
- Cut your own tree on public land with a permit (some tree farms also offer this service) or plant your own living tree. These outings can become a family tradition that everyone looks forward to every year!
- Swing by the supermarket for nuts in the shell (walnuts, almonds, chestnuts, pecans), pomegranates, oranges, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, and red and green apples. Pop into a craft store for candles, burlap and muslin fabric, jute twine, and raffia ribbon.
Now let your imagination roll! Here's a bit of inspiration:
11 DIY Sustainable Holiday Decorations
- Tree wreath: Use the boughs on the bottom of your tree to make a wreath. Decorate it with pinecones, nuts, and a raffia bow.
- Burlap wreath: My daughter makes wreaths out of burlap strips, and changes the decorations with each season. Attractive and year-round wreaths can also be made of pinecones and twigs, dried grapevines, or whole leaf herbs.
- Edible ornaments: Think beyond popcorn and cranberries for the tree with ornaments of dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Beautiful and fragrant!
- Cloth-wrapped ornaments: Cover ornament forms with narrow strips of burlap or muslin, and attach a jute loop for hanging.
- Seedpod ornaments: Adorn a large seedpod with dried berries and attach a hook.
- Christmas in a vase: You don’t even need a traditional tree. When I lived in a tiny apartment, I cut a few pine sprigs off a tree outside my window. I placed them in a wine carafe and tied a red plaid ribbon around it.
- Wall tree: Tack some short branches or driftwood on the wall. Decorate with lights (or not!), dried flowers, feathers, and pine cones. Make a stand-alone driftwood tree.
- Burlap stockings: On the mantle, hang burlap stockings that are lined with muslin or sheeting. Fill to overflowing with greens.
- Green mantle display: Display different types of greens in a variety of glass vases and canisters on top of the mantle. This is not unlike my tiny-apartment tree idea, but the variety here creates visual interest. It is simple and elegant.
- Birch candles: Candles belong on a mantle, too! Cut short pieces of birch branches, and hollow out a spot for a votive candle. Put up a few or a dozen! Different sizes give your display depth. Add evergreen sprigs and pine cones for a true woodsy look! You can use these candles all year, too.
- Pinecone display: My mother had a large rustic container of pinecones in our entryway. During the holidays, she put a red bow on it. Fill a bowl with pinecones, pomegranates, red and green apples, and nuts, and top with a raffia bow to use as an accent or a centerpiece.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Think of natural decorations as The Three Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle. You do not need storage for your creations. You can eat or compost these materials. Some serve dual duty with year-round use. You will buy less and waste less, saving money and landfill space.
Bringing the outdoors in will also keep you and your family connected to nature. That’s important for good health and well-being, especially during these short and cold days.
Decorations from nature are a big win for you and the environment!
Here are 17 plant-based recipes to enjoy this holiday season.