Zero Waste Christmas Decorations

Reader Contribution by Ariana Palmieri

If you want to decorate your home for Christmas, you don’t have to create waste to do it. Lots of Christmas décor on sale right now are made from plastic. And, even worse, most of it gets tossed in the trash at the end of the season. In fact, Americans alone produce 25 percent more waste in the months between Thanksgiving and New Years. Yikes! Considering the average American already produces approximately 4.4 pounds of trash per day, we don’t need to be adding to that. Thankfully, it’s pretty simple to avoid this. Here are some zero waste Christmas decorations you can get behind. 

Zero waste Christmas decorations are simple, beautiful and budget-friendly!

Tree Decorations

First and foremost, there’s two times of Christmas décor: Decorations you put on the tree and decorations you leave around the home. We’ll look at what to put on a tree first. 

  • Reuse old ornaments –this is probably the simplest, cheapest thing you can do. If you have boxes of ornaments from last year, or from years prior, just reuse those. You’re keeping them out of the landfill, and if you keep them in good condition, they can be passed down to your own children in time. 
  • Dried citrus –There’s such a rustic charm in dried fruit. All you need to do is cut the citrus of your choice into thin slices (not too thin or they’ll burn), put them in a dehydrator or oven, and let them bake for 2 hours. If using an oven, put it on 200 degrees F. Then you can just string through some twine and hang them on your tree! 
  • Popcorn, cranberry or dried citrus garland –To make a popcorn and cranberry garland, just lay out the popcorn and cranberries in the pattern you would like to make. Then, push a needle through the first piece of popcorn, wrap it around, and tie loose but secure knot. Repeat this for each piece. At the end of the garland, thread it through again and then tie the string back around and into a double knot. You can do the same if you prefer to use just dried citrus. 
  • Salt dough ornaments –using salt, flour and water you can easily make your own salt dough ornaments. Once you make your dough you can cut them into fun shapes using Christmas cookie cutters. You can also paint them using natural DIY plant dyes! For more detailed instructions, check out how I made and decorated salt dough ornaments in my zero waste Christmas ornaments 
  • Pine cones and twigs – These are easy to find if you forage for them. Use twine to hang them as is from your tree. You can make some really beautiful rustic twig ornaments in the shape of stars or Christmas tree Just get creative!
  • Crocheted ornaments –If you’ve got a love for sewing and knitting, this could be for you! You can make some cute crocheted angels, Christmas trees, etc. 
  • Locally bought or thrifted ornaments –You can always opt for purchasing your ornaments instead. But if you do that, be sure to get them thrifted, or handmade by a local artist! Thrifting will help keep décor items out of the landfill. Shopping locally will help support your local economy and also lower your carbon footprint since that item won’t be mass produced or shipped overseas to get to you. 

House Decorations

If you want to decorate your home for Christmas, sometimes less is so totally more.

  • Old decorations –Again, can’t stress this enough – reuse whatever you already have! It’s the most ecofriendly thing you can possibly do. And the most economic too. 
  • Tree trimmings – These look super cute around the home – if you have any clippings from your real Christmas tree, you can put them in jars and use them as a centerpiece. You can also tie them together to create a kind of garland to hand around door frames or fireplaces. 
  • Real wreaths -Nothing beats a wreath made from real pine. You can make one yourself by bending an old metal old hanger into a ring, using some twine and a little creativity. Maybe add some dried citrus to it or pine cones for decoration! 
  • Candles –If you want to make your house look all warm and fuzzy, you can’t go wrong with candles. Try using soy or beeswax candles though, and avoid any candles with artificial fragrance (bad for the planet and your health). 
  • Plants –Some poinsettias and a little greenery never hurt! Check and see what your local farmers market are selling plant wise right now. Or, hit up your local plant nursery. Any plants with festive colors works wonders for warming up the home! 

How are you planning to decorate this holiday season? Be sure to check out my blog for even more zero waste Christmas decorations