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Green Christmas Decor

Christmas decorations can have many negative environmental impacts.

Producing decorations and their packaging uses non-renewable resources and creates pollution. In addition, shipping materials to factories and finished products to stores (and driving them home from stores) contributes to global warming.

However, it is easy to switch to more eco-friendly Christmas décor by following the three environmental principles: reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Reduce
There are a number of ways to reduce both the amount of material used in decorating and its environmental impacts. Use natural decorations, such as a bough cut from a tree, a bowl of pinecones, dried flowers, strings of popcorn, or painted walnut shells.  Skipping the Christmas lighting or switching to energy-efficient lights is also beneficial.

Reuse
It’s obviously a good idea to keep reusing the same Christmas decorations year after year, but there are plenty of other things that can be reused as well. It’s easy to save wrapping paper, gift boxes, gift bags, ribbons, and bows to wrap next year’s batch of gifts if you remove them carefully. Gifts can also be wrapped in pieces of fabric (those who have a talent for crafts can take this a step further by sewing old fabrics into beautiful gift bags).

Recycle
There are lots of decorations that can be made using recycled paper, cardboard, and other environmentally friendly materials. Just repurpose household objects, toys, and leftover craft supplies and incorporate last year’s ribbons, bows, and wrapping paper into this year’s craft projects.

Christmas cards, calendars, and other items from the prior year can be used to make cards and gift boxes. Wrapping paper can be made from used paper bags or office paper that has only been printed on one side. Decorate the homemade wrap with painted stencils or felt pen drawings (this is a great project for kids).

More ambitious crafters can make wrapping paper from scratch, embellishing it with decorative items such as dried flowers and leaves (there are plenty of websites and videos online that provide paper-making instructions).

By reducing, reusing, and recycling, you can significantly reduce your Christmas-related ecological footprint without sacrificing any of the fun associated with the holiday.

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