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ornamentA Recycled Christmas

Re-used Ornaments and Decorations for the Holidays

Christmas is a holiday that everyone seems to go nuts over, and every year the fervor starts earlier. I've had my gifts ready to go before Halloween this year, but that's because I buy used and start shopping in August.

But when do you decorate the tree? While I've been known to wait til Christmas Eve, when it's my turn to host the family get-together, I start getting excited about 'decking the halls' around Thanksgiving. Any why not? Spread the cheer!

Here are a few ideas to help you decorate on a budget this year, with an earth-friendly consciousness (as opposed to "Crazy Christmas Consumer Mentality"):

  • Pull out last year's ornaments and hall-decking paraphernalia. Throw out what has been broken, or lights that are hopelessly tangled. Start fresh and plan your needs in advance.
  • Think about a theme this year - maybe just Angels on the tree, or blue-colored lights and baubles. One year my mother did an all-blue tree and it was spectacular. The all-red theme was just as nice, a year later!

  • Here's the environmental part: don't buy anything new for the tree or mantle or centerpiece this year. Eschew the Ol' Christmas Shoppe and the craft stores. Take a trip to Goodwill, Salvation Army or other thrift stores, and look at the displays they are setting up for your holiday needs. These reused goods sellers save up their holiday stuff all year and there are some really lovely offerings to pick thru - all for a song.

  • These same places also sell donated craft supplies all year. If you need candles; yarn; glues; fabrics; vases or bowls for centerpieces; wreathe templates; paint tubes or whatnot, chances are you can close the loop by using something already in the consumer system, rather than contributing to the massed-produced culture that abounds this season.

  • Maybe you like to make things with the kids every year - those popcorn garlands and cookie-cutter ornaments, et all. Consider finding items from your local woods or park as well. My forests abound with pinecones, which make dandy garlands and centerpiece beddings. I can harvest pine boughs for my door wreath and glue pine cones on as accents. If you live in grasslands, think about lovely, fragrant boughs of harvested long grasses as bedding on your mantle. Or collect interesting, leafless branches from your own trees and stand them in a vase on your coffee table. You can stand the branches as-is, for an elegant look, or decorate them with ornaments for a festive air. Be creative!