Whether fueled in part to a growing public awareness of the importance of environmental conservation or by the challenging economic climate which is compelling many individuals to rediscover the value of frugality and sustainable living, eco-friendly home decorating is becoming an increasingly popular trend. Eco-friendly home decorating and crafts are hardly a new development, considering that until only a few decades ago, there was a far greater societal emphasis on the individual pride and independence to be gained from making things from “scratch” such as clothes (remember when virtually all department stores had a sewing and crafts department?).
What is eco-friendly holiday décor? Eco-friendly holiday decorative accents and one-of-a-kind works of art can be made of recyclables; from both organic and inorganic materials. The assortment and range of materials is truly limitless; items such as old blankets, clothing, hosiery, linen, beads, buttons, paper, artificial fruit, hollowed gourds, pine cones, dried berries or citrus, nuts, leaves, flowers, cinnamon sticks, evergreen branches and twigs. Making handmade, unique decorative items from recyclables is exciting not only as an outlet for our creativity but it teaches us the value and purpose of every little scrap of material.
1. Save appliqués and beadwork from old sweaters, socks, (holiday themed sweaters and socks are perfect!) and shirts. Children’s dresses and coats are an invaluable resource because they can be utilized in a multitude of projects. Never throw away old costume jewelry! Old or odd pieces of costume jewelry can be used as decorative accents to embellish handmade dolls, toys, etc.
2. Crochet or knit a holiday throw from old ribbon and leftover yarn.
3. Purchase artificial fruit from thrift stores, flea markets, house sales and spray paint them in holiday gold and silver colors.
4. Everything old is new again! Old Christmas tree ball ornaments can be repainted and decorated. Do not throw away old golf balls or baseballs! Golf balls can be great recyclable Christmas ornaments.
5. Purchase a vintage artificial Christmas Tree and/or decorations. Vintage toys can sometimes be found at bargain prices and repaired.
6. A wide array of decorative accent pieces, figurines and hanging ornaments can be made from cardboard, discarded paper, doilies, twine, velour, worn out lace tablecloths, wool clothing and wood.
7. Create small strategically placed focal points of interest throughout the home with recyclable holiday or seasonal decorative pieces. It is amazing what people and stores will throw away! Refurbish old or throwaway baskets and fill them with spray-painted artificial fruit, scented pine cones and sachets of homemade potpourri.
8. Make a nature collage! Collages make tremendous use of natural materials. Kids will enjoy doing a seasonal or holiday themed collage.
9. Make small, decorative holiday accent cushions and pillows from old plaid shirts, quilts and comforters.
10. Dolls and items with a seasonal motif can be created from milk and juice cartons and tissue boxes. One can also make personalized holiday gift tags. Styrofoam and cotton balls saved from empty vitamin bottles can be used to create snowmen and snowwomen.
11. Gourd art is a field in its own right! Gourds can be used to make all sorts of things, from birdhouses to vases. A decorated gourd can make a magnificent seasonal centerpiece.
12. Old socks, mittens and winter hats are a treasure trove when it comes to creating holiday dolls, teddy bears and original “characters.”