Green Design Ideas for the Holidays

This is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the sparkling lights, the smell of fresh cut pine, the pretty packages, and of course the excitement on my kids faces. There are a lot of choices I make with sustainability in mind when it comes the holidays without sacrificing the beauty! Here are a few ideas.

Lets start with the tree:

Spruce tree. Photo courtesy

I love the idea of purchasing a living Christmas tree and replanting it after the ground has thawed! There are so many sources locally and online. All of them seem to be great about providing care instructions for use as a your Christmas tree and for planting afterward. If you cannot afford the extra expense of buying a living tree, a fresh cut tree is an excellent choice. Be sure to check out tree recycling programs after the holidays. In New York City, they have made a holiday out of it. They call it Mulchfest. Check  it out.

I also love the idea of adopting a Christmas tree!

Adopt a Christmas Tree
Adopt a Christmas Tree

For a nominal $25 you have a great gift idea! Here’s a great website. Speaking of gifts,

Let’s talk gift wrap.

I love patterned paper as much as the next guy, but consider using simple, un-printed, craft paper or plain drawing paper. Both can be found at craft stores year-round. Buy a roll of each and use it for any occasion. It makes a gorgeous display with satin ribbon (below) or if you have kids like I do, let them make drawings on the wrapped boxes for optimal placement of their work of art. It’s like two gifts in one!

Last, but not least, decorating the house:

There are all sorts of ways to decorate during the holidays. You can pick a theme, like traditional or contemporary or, coastl, etc. and carry it throughout the house. You can choose a color and and let that be the element that brings it all together. I have a few images below of both a coastal theme and a color scheme that I love for the area I live in.

Photographer Tria Giovan, Coastal Living Magazine
Photo by Monica Buck, Southern Living
Photo by Monica Buck, Southern Living

Whatever you choose as your decorating scheme, look for hand-crafted ornaments to support local and developing communities. Use LED lights to save on energy, but look for warm white if you want that traditional glow. And, re-use whatever you can. Get creative with ribbon from unwrapped packages or use elements from nature like pine cones or seashells if you’re going with a coastal look.

Try a few of these tips and you’ll be surprised at how beautiful your holidays will be and how good you’ll feel about it!

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meet shannon

Creator of coastal retreats for families to feel good in, lover of beach walks, and sustainable living.




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