Simple Tips for Eco-Friendly Decor
by Avery Mack
Conjure a Norman Rockwellesque holiday fantasy of family members gathered around a home-cooked meal, creative gifts and decorations in place as stories of holidays past mingle with memories in the making. Cue the strolling carolers.
The reality tends to be more of a distracted and exhausting race to the finish line. Available time, energy and money all play into what’s possible to get done by the big day. Some tips can make easy eco-decorations a feel-good part of the merriment.
Low-maintenance, child- and pet-friendly colored seashells make a sustainable alternative to outdoor mulch. Choose from 22,000 Sherwin-Williams non-toxic, water-based hues to brighten any landscape. Hide a fallow flowerbed under a waterproof tarp, cover with light-colored shells as background. Then design a Christmas tree, wreath, menorah, multihued snowman or another original design with colored shells. After the holidays, the tarp can envelop the shells and be put away for easy storage. Visit ColoredShells.com.
Canadian Laura Watt, owner of the ethical seed company Cubit’s Organics, in Toronto, made a felted wool wreath for a front door from an old jacket. A worn-out blanket will also work. “It only took one long baby nap to make,” says Watt, who gave new life to the wire base from an old wreath by using bits of yarn to stitch flowers. Find instructions at Tinyurl.com/FeltWreath.
A little VOC-free paint, some repurposed mini-decorations and recycled toilet paper rolls could become an indoor wreath to be proud of. “I’m a television producer, blogger and mother of 2- and 4-year-old daughters, so it had to be easy and quick,” says Karri-Leigh Mastrangelo, in Los Angeles. “We’ll do it again this year.” See how at Tinyurl.com/TPWreath.
Spice up table décor using unexpected items. Lay a base of an organic cotton tablecloth, runner and napkins. Top with a centerpiece base comprising a pie pan, clear flower vase or Mason jar filled with bits of fresh evergreens and accented with small ornaments or beads from repurposed and recycled jewelry. Colored shells can line the bottom. Add a stable soy candle positioned in a bit of water for easy cleanup of dripped wax.
To continue the theme from the front door to the table, fashion leftover felt from the wreath into candle rings, using the same method, but on a smaller scale. Add spirals of garland made of star-shaped, dried orange peels handcrafted by Colombia’s Sapia artisans. The green, yellow and orange colors, backed with a soft white, provide a citrusy fragrance that lasts months. Learn more at Tinyurl.com/CitrusGarland.
Beeswax candle kits are kid-friendly and come with enough supplies to make 20 candles. Order red and green wax sheets for Christmas, blue and white for Hanukkah or purple and pink for Advent. The beeswax is rolled around the wick to make an eight-inch-tall, one-inch-diameter taper. The honeycomb texture creates a festive look.
Beeswax is natural and free from the petroleum-based chemicals commonly used in conventional candles. It burns brighter, hotter, cleaner and longer, while emitting negative ions that clean the air of odors, pollen, smoke, dust, dust mites and allergens. No time for a do-it-yourself project? Many ready-to-use beeswax and floating candles in the shape of poinsettias, holly leaves and snowflakes are available at ToadilyHandmade.com.
Angela Price has created hand-blown glass terrarium ornaments for her small-space garden design company and boutique, Eden Condensed, in greater Los Angeles, California. The ornaments range from two to four inches in diameter and include live succulents, dried moss and miniature, holiday-inspired repurposed items. Price says, “Decorating the tree or the table, they’re easy to maintain and can be enjoyed for many months beyond the holidays.” See Tinyurl.com/DecorativeTerrariums for inspired ideas.
Place cards add an elegant, personal touch to any holiday table. Kids can make snowflake ornaments from recycled paper. Print a holiday greeting on one side of the snowflake and inscribe a name and personal message on the other for family gatherings. Tied with a ribbon, the snowflakes can also be hung in the window or on the tree.
Preprinted snowflakes made of recycled paper with soy ink at Tinyurl.com/PlantableSnowflakes are embedded with a variety of wildflower seeds for future planting. Mail them in lieu of traditional greeting cards or as more formal place cards for a simple way to prosper green holiday wishes.
Mixing mindful shopping with creative touches embroiders a memorable day with family fun and the satisfaction that we’ve celebrated the holidays in sustainable style.
Connect with Avery Mack via AveryMack@mindspring.com.