Old Holiday Decorations
What if I were to tell you that this year it’s not necessary to pull out even one solitary dollar to deck your halls? There is already so much stuff cluttering our homes; all we really have to do is view things in a fresh, new light. Ready to take the plunge?

Dive into your recycling bin for unexpected decorating inspiration!

Ever consider creating an entire theme around “trash-to-treasure” holiday decorations? Think about all of the materials ripe for the picking in your recycling bins — plastic containers can be easily cut into all sorts of shapes and sizes, tin cans can be transformed into mini holiday-themed dioramas, light bulbs can be converted into painted ornaments, magazines into beaded garlands and old clothing into decorative frippery. Make it a holiday tradition in your family and bestow a special gift to the most original creation each year. Here are a few inspirational ideas:

Organize swap parties with friends, family and relatives

No matter how many times we repurpose holiday decorations, it’s still entirely possible to feel hopelessly uninspired. In that case, organize a friends-and-family swap meet so your goods can be redistributed into happy new adoptive homes. Tie it into your annual cookie swap party for a genuinely festive, green event or just ask participants to contribute one potluck entrée for a different twist. Food and free swapped goodies — who could resist?

View last year’s decorations with a unique perspective

If you’re suffering from a serious case of the ho-hums, step away from the garbage can and give part of your holiday stash a year-long vacation. Then, use the remainder of your decorations in unconventional ways, such as stringing ornaments across your windows on pieces of fishing line, draping garland around the backs of chairs, etc. By all means, give yourself permission to break from convention — you just might find that your newly embraced left-of-center perspective is precisely what your household holiday environment needs!

Breathe new life into old ornaments that have seen better days

Decoupage them. Cover them in glitter. Stud them with sequins. Repaint them. The ideas are endless. Use them as a canvas for whatever creative inspiration materializes in your noggin. Who says they have to look like what you might buy from a store?

Search Craigslist and Freecycle ads

On a daily basis, people constantly downsize or decide that they’d like to lead simpler lifestyle. Search the advertisements posted in your community (or place your own ad detailing your green holiday desires) and wait for the enthusiastic respondents who will trip over themselves to unload their perceived trash into your hot little treasure-transforming hands.

Take a walk through the forest to access a decorating wonderland

Think back to what we all did in kindergarten class — Mother Nature’s bounty was our greatest artistic resource. If you can’t recall what wondrous things can be created with acorns, pinecones, fallen branches, feathers and leaves, do a little research on the Internet and you’ll hit a jackpot of ideas guaranteed to spruce up your home with absolutely no out-of-pocket financial investment. If you’re locked in a concrete jungle, hand-strung popcorn and cranberry garlands and dried apple/orange slice ornaments will offer festively organic beauty to your homestead décor, as will recycling the boughs that many Christmas tree retailers trim off at the base of their stock (in fact, they’ll often part with those clippings for free).