Saving energy is easy when you are decorating the inside of your home for the holidays. The demand for lighting isn’t as great indoors, as you’re usually being festive and decorating a few dozen or a few hundred square feet, as opposed to the thousands of square feet in a yard and lining your house. You’re also not as limited in materials as you are when decorating outside, as the inside of your home probably isn’t open to the elements, unless you happen to live in Hawaii, in which case palm trees are the soup du jour! For the rest of us, here are a few suggestions on how to have an ecofriendly Christmas this year.
Bring nature indoors
It’s pretty, it’s green, and it’s free! Get the kids involved and make crafts out of pine cones and pine needles. Make Christmas tree ornaments from pine cones and some glitter. If you’re lucky enough to have mistletoe in your tree, bring it in and get busy smooching. You’ll stay warm regardless of how cold it is outside!
Candles for atmosphere
Candles are inexpensive decorations if purchased at the right time of the year. If you plan for the next year, you can usually get holiday candles for very cheap right after Christmas. Candles are colorful, pretty, and don’t use electricity to light up your room.
Food becomes art
Oranges pricked with hundreds of whole cloves look cool and smell great. Ever make popcorn garland? How about making a gingerbread house? There are lots of activities you can get the kids involved in to create fun, tasty decorations.
Have any old clothes lying around, particularly anything red, white, or furry? Why not cut it up and use it to dress up a doll like Santa or an elf? Darker colors make great robes for the wise men in a nativity scene. Need some snow for your display, use cotton balls, of course.
Lighting your tree
We’ve come a long way in ways to light your tree. Giant red, white, blue, and green lights, of the type that Eric Beeson shows in his Collector’s weekly guest column, used to make you have to consider refinancing your house to pay for the electric bill at the end of every season. Then, we realized smaller made for a cheaper electric bill and we shrank our bulb sizes to a fraction of their former size, and made lights available in many more colors. Now, LED lights are the way to an ecofriendly Christmas, as they produce light with a fraction of the energy usage of ordinary incandescent bulbs. The initial cost is slightly higher, but you’ll save in the long run by replacing fewer bulbs or light sets, and by having smaller electric bills.
Enjoy the holidays!
Eric Beeson. “A Guide to Christmas Antiques and Vintage Christmas Decorations”. Collectors Weekly.