On Christmas morning, we wait for our friends or loved ones to wake up and enjoy a breakfast meal and then we make a huge mess of unwrapping presents. The gift-wrapping paper, bows, and ribbon are found on the floor and then thrown in the trash. We watch a Christmas movie and enjoy drinking hot cocoa in our pajamas. Christmas season is such a magical time of the year! Unfortunately, it can also be the most wasteful. The Christmas festivities are especially hard on the environment. Some negative impacts include increased greenhouse gases, water usage, and land disturbance caused by some of our holiday favorite staples and treats. For example, in the US, about 2.65 billion Christmas cards are sold each year; that's enough cards to fill a football field ten stories high! However, if we each sent just one less card, we’d save around 50,000 cubic yards of paper. Another way to do our part is by creating earth-friendly Christmas decorations. The suggested items below are inexpensive and can be made into fun quality time spent with ohana or friends to create!
First, let’s focus on the focal point of our holiday décor. The Christmas tree! Let’s end the debacle of going ‘real or fake’ and opt for one of these both eco-friendly and crafty alternatives.
A Living tree - If you can't go without a real tree, you might enjoy getting a potted, living tree. You'll have the fresh scent and can plant it in your garden or backyard afterwards and enjoy its presence year-round.
Driftwood tree - As we're blessed to live in Hawaiʻi, there are many beaches near us to gather some wood for the driftwood style tree! It'll make for a creative and nautical-themed tree.
Pallet tree - Love the driftwood look but have no wood? No problem, we’ve got you! It might be easier to get a wooden pallet by asking a local store or construction site and see if they're able to donate one to you. All it'll need is a few nails, reused decorations, and optional paint.
Herb wreath - Okay, this one’s for all the foodies out there! How fun would it be to create a delicious and fragrant wreath by using items from your herb garden or bought locally from your favorite organic grocery store (hint: Down to Earth). Weave together things such as basil, bay leaf branches, lavender, rosemary, and any other herbs of your choice. Here’s a tip: add a splash of color and texture with red chilies, garlic bulbs, or edible flowers!
Upcycled holly leaf holiday card wreath - Put your part of the 2.65 billion Christmas cards to a second use with this do-it-yourself project and create a holly-leaf shaped holiday card wreath! ;
Recycled paper wreath - This wreath could be made of newspaper, old magazines (for a pop of color), or empty cereal boxes. The best part is, if you don’t have room to store it for re-use next year, it can go straight into the recycling pile after, guilt free!
Christmas is such a magical time of the year that a lot of us spend time preparing in anticipation to celebrate with our friends and ohana. It is a time of joy and celebration, but it's also essential to be mindful of our environmental impact.
We hope you have fun spending time creating these crafts with your loved ones. By adopting sustainable practices such as reducing waste and choosing eco-friendly decorations, we can contribute to a more environmentally responsible holiday season. Together, the ways of reducing our carbon footprints are endless!
Wishing you and your ohana a Merry Christmas!