1) Decorate with nature.
If you need to trim back any bushes or trees in your yard, freshly cut evergreen boughs are always a beautiful and fragrant addition to your holiday decorating scheme. Also, berries (make sure they’re not poisonous in order to protect kids and pets!), pinecones, nuts and fresh fruit can be displayed throughout your house in festive ways.
2) Re-use last year’s ornaments.
Don’t go out and buy new decorations each year — see if you can use what you already have in creative ways. For example, rather than putting the same swag in the same spot on the mantle every year, try hanging it over your door or tucking it in with some sparkling decorations in the space above your kitchen cabinets. Be creative! Move the kitchen decorations into the livingroom and vice versa.
3) Use LED lights and timers.
Believe it or not, the new LED light strings use approximately 90% less energy than their incandescent counterparts. They’re more expensive to purchase initially, but they last much longer and the energy cost to run them is much less. If you use a timer with your holiday lights and other electrical decorations, you can easily cut the energy used for those decorations in half (if not more) by not running them 24 hours a day.
4) Trim your tree with edible decorations.
Fruit, nuts and strings of popcorn and cranberries are always festive on the tree or tabletop. Also, before baking cookies, you can use a drinking straw to punch a hole in the dough. After the cookies are baked and cooled, simply string them with colorful ribbon and hang them on the tree.
5) Recycle gift tags and wrapping materials.
We probably all know someone who almost religiously saves and irons each scrap of wrapping paper from under the tree. While you don’t need to be quite that obsessive, definitely grab leftover gift bags, ribbons, bows, and those larger pieces of undamaged wrapping paper to save for future gift exchanges. You can also wrap gifts in sponge-painted brown paper grocery bags.
6) Make your own recycled Christmas cards.
You can cut the backs off old Christmas cards to make your own recycled holiday postcards, or try making collages out of old magazine pictures glued to cards that you or your kids make from cut up empty cereal boxes.