Decorate for the Family and the Planet

As we decorate for Christmas this year, we are reminded of the joy of togetherness, the fond memories of Christmases past and the love we feel for all the friends, family and opportunities in our lives. However, we can also get carried away with the stress of hunting for presents in the overcrowded malls, scheduling and attending dinners, parties and other events and making sure the house properly reflects all of our Christmas spirit. Here are some ideas for Christmas decorating that can double as quality family time and your karma points for saving waste from the landfills.

Got old cardboard boxes laying around from a recent move or from shipping Christmas presents? Convert this thick paper into ornaments using a stencil, sharp scissors and some creativity. Cut out stars, snowmen, reindeer or even Santa shapes and decorate them with scaprs of paper, ribbon, glitter and paint. Your tree will be most creative and eco-friendly on the block! Additionally, you can make your own ornaments with odds and ends from around the house. Wrap a tennis ball with colored twine for an original family ornament or sring together old spools of thread to create a hanging Christmas tree shape. With a little imagination, there is really no end to the things you can convert into decorations.

Rather than buying the same old gift tags and place cards, cut up old greeting cards. Cut cards into small pieces and tape them to gifts as name tags. Use Hallmark's sparkle and glitter over and over again rather than buying new tags every year. Additionally, you can use them as place cards for big family dinners. No need to throw all last year’s Christmas cards away or leave them collecting dust in the garage - give them new life this year.

Christmas Trees may seem like a waste of resources. However, there are ways to make your tree an eco-statement, rather than an eco-disaster. By purchasing a real tree from a small-scale sustainable grower you are actually helping the environment offset carbon emissions. Christmas trees transform carbon into oxygen while they grow and can continue to do so if you replant the tree after Christmas. In fact, returning your Christmas tree to the Earth in your backyard could become your new post-holiday family tradition.  For an extra boost of eco-spirit this Christmas, wrap the presents under the tree in last years gift wrap or use old greeting cards, the comics from Sunday's newspaper or other scrap paper from around the house to create a collage of wrapping.

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