Guest Author - Meredith Ball
Decorating for the holidays often means an added expense and a lot of waste and trash. Look around and you will see all of the beautiful decor just waiting to be put together and hung up to bring holiday cheer to your home.
Many of us live in areas where there is a plethora of pinecones. Yes, pinecones. Instead of buying those pinecones at the craft store, pick them up out of your backyard or while out on a hike. Tuck those little pinecones into a basket, wrap some red ribbon around that basket, and you have a lovely centerpiece for a dining room or coffee table. If you have children most likely they will want to dip the pinecone in glue and add glitter to make this display even fancier.
For those of you in more tropical climates, pinecones are difficult to come by. Palm leaves are a plenty though. If you are celebrating Christmas, fold a thin strip of palm in half, wrap another around that strip toward the top and secure in the middle with a pin to make a cross. You can make several of these to hang on your Christmas tree, or make a garland out of them for a doorway.
Garland for the tree can also be made of pop corn and cranberries. Not only is this a fun family activity, it is a tasty treat. Other variations on natural garland include wiring spruce or evergreen branches together with some cranberries and ribbons added for detail.
For Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, a candleholder is an important part of tradition. For those bold and daring this season, carve a Menorah or Kinara out of wood to create a family heirloom of beauty and wonder. Create your own beeswax candles to add to this wooden candleholder and your celebration will be a delight.
Several people celebrate in a variety of ways. A wish tree may be the start of a new family tradition and requires only natural decor. Bring an indoor tree into your home, or use one you may already have. Then, ask each family member and friend who visits to write a wish on a piece of paper and then fold or cut that piece of paper into any shape they would like, such as a crane, heart, or star. Poke a little hole in the top of the shape and tie a string to it to secure to a branch on the tree. You can also do this on an outdoor tree if your climate is welcoming of a such a tradition. During the holidays, or throughout the rest of the year, you can choose to have a family member and friends read their wishes out loud to keep the spirit of the season going.
One of the most natural ways to get your house smelling delicious is to bake cookies, bread and other sweet treats. If you want your house smelling like cinnamon, simply place cinnamon sticks into a gauze bag and tuck these little bags wherever you want that scent in your home.
Lastly, more and more adopt-a-tree farms are popping up throughout the country. Consider adopting your holiday tree this year and then returning it to the farm where it can continue to fill our air and lungs with oxygen. Or, recycle your tree as firewood.
Holiday decorating this year can be as simple as looking out the window and using your creativity.