It is that time of year again and I’m starting to add little touches to our home to get it ready for the holidays. There are a few things I love about holiday decorating, and a whole host I’m on the fence about. Whenever I walk past a display of Christmas decorations I feel a little bit sad. Most are made of cheap plastics and will remain on this planet, eventually finding their way to landfills, forever. I don’t mean to be a dark cloud over the holiday season but I have a hard time believing this is the way Christmas was meant to be. Most people behave as if this is the way it has always been but that is not true and it is a dangerous lie to tell ourselves. Our consumer society is only a few generations old and it is dangerous. We can not carry on like this. How many plastic trees, how many pieces of tinsel can our planet and our wildlife handle? Is it really worth it? There are so many simple ways to enjoy the holiday season and brighten up your home without buying anything harmful to the environment.
The original purpose for the holidays at this time of year was to bring nature inside, out of the harsh elements. To light up the dark night and make the short days feel a little bit brighter. This is the spirit I try to keep when I plan my holiday decor. I’m not talking about elaborate pinterest crafts, I promise you I am one of the least crafty people alive and I wouldn’t subject you to that. My inspirations are simple. I will admit I am not ready to throw out every strand of twinkle lights. I am not perfect by a long shot and I have a soft spot for them, but I want to do better. I want to visit my local florist and nursery instead of the dollar store. I want to smell cinnamon and cloves and eucalyptus simmering from a pot on the stove instead of from chemicals plugged into the wall. I want to see my daughter hanging salt dough ornaments and dried orange slices instead of plastic balls.
I have found such a beautiful community of like minded people online, but perhaps none greater than Erin Boyle of Reading my Tea Leaves. Her lifestyle blog is devoted to simple living and she has great advice on everything from living in a small space with a toddler, growing a minimalist wardrobe, to simple gifting and decor. This year for the holidays her family made a peace and justice advent calendar. She is truly a woman after my own heart.
Just in case you were about to misunderstand and take me for a Scrooge, I will post some of my inspiration for the holidays here. I promise, these images will bring all the warm fuzzy holiday feelings that a plastic Santa Clause ever could, without the guilt that we are harming the very planet this holiday is supposed to celebrate.
Some of these photos are linked to nifty tutorials so you can see just how easy this back to nature holiday stuff can be. Easier than a trip to Wal Mart, I guarantee it.
Top image, author’s own.