The holiday season has officially arrived, and it's time to get festive with delicious meals, lots of shopping and presents, and beautifully decorated gatherings with friends and family. No holiday season is complete without cheerful decorations inside and outside homes. The festivities would be quite monotonous without the ornamental lights and the jovial air of holiday scents.
While it is important to share the joys of the season with loved ones and it is fun to wrap ourselves in layers upon layers of tinsel and garland, holiday decorations do not come without their environmental impact. Each ornament that goes up during this season costs resources and energy. The good news though, is that there are plenty of energy-efficient methods that can be used to celebrate holidays that are cleaner, greener, and healthier.
One of the most popular ways of decoration is light strands strung up both indoors and outdoors to create luminescent holiday scenes. It is easier to save energy when lighting up the inside of one's home as there's only a few hundred square feet to decorate indoors, as opposed to the thousands in a yard and the outside of a house.
These days, LEDs are being used to create all sorts of holiday lights, from icicle garlands to multi-color strings that blink. Investment in LEDs helps save money in the end, since they won't need replacing over short periods of time. In addition, they're more energy-efficient – using less energy for longer periods when compared to their more traditional incandescent counterparts.
Strand upon strand of light strings around the house, inside it and upon the Christmas tree, is an expected norm around the world. There are, however, more creative ways to go about making a holiday home brighter and cheerier. Bright ornaments, reflective objects and strategically placed tinsels can be used to enhance the existing light, rather than adding new light sources.
The use of traditional candles, often more beautiful than accent lighting, can lend a certain ambience to the festivities. Whether lined up alongside the walkway, or on the mantle, candles are energy-efficient ways of adding an extra glow to one's holiday season.
The Christmas tree tradition dates back to antiquity, and beyond. The ancient Egyptians, Romans, and even the British druids had trees as an integral part of their winter solstice celebrations and rituals. Christmas trees are usually evergreen conifers, such as pine or fir. There are more energy-efficient choices available though.
One way is to use artificial trees that can be stored away after the holidays, and used repetitively for years to come. Another is to buy living trees that can be planted in the garden afterwards or used as a houseplant.
Food can become art, when done creatively, to be used as decoration. There are many fun activities possible that get the kids involved, and provide plenty of cool, tasty and artistic pieces that serve to please both the eyes, and the stomach.
Gingerbread houses are a popular and traditional example of such art. Popcorn garlands and oranges with hundreds of whole cloves pricked into them are also aesthetically pleasing. Candy canes around the living room, festive gingerbread man plates, and cranberry strings on the tree are among other examples of edible décor for the holiday season.
Garage sales are great places to look for bargains as people try to get rid of their hoarded treasures. Old possessions can be used with great effect to add a personal touch to the festive decorations. Pieces of cloth, especially if red and furry, can be made into Father Christmas costumes and used to dress-up old action figures. Cut out snowflakes, cotton ball snowmen and construction paper chains can all bring a greater sense of family, while helping save energy, resources, and money at the same time.
Although it is important to consider the financial and energy costs of holiday decorations during the festive period, it is even more critical to think about how to manage them, or dispose of them once the holiday season is over. Plastic is especially troublesome to recycle, and as such, more durable ornaments made from wood, metal and cloth should be chosen.
There are plenty of things to be found in and around the house that can be used creatively and effectively as décor. Using old and/or recycled products not only help save money, they don't require any new resources or energy to make, and help the environment with a cleaner, energy-efficient holiday season that loses none of its festive cheer.
Want more information on what kind of Christmas tree is best for you? Check out our Christmas Tree Buying Guide on our sister site Great Green Idea.com.