Zero Waste Holiday Decorating Ideas

Zero Waste Holiday Decorating Ideas

Spread the Sustainable Gospel!

Zero Waste Holiday Decorating Ideas | One year for Christmas, when I was younger, my mom decided that we were going to have a completely handmade, natural Christmas. We cut down a cedar from the woods behind our house and only decorated it with things we could make.

I’ll never forget stringing popcorn and cranberry garlands while watching Pocahontas in our small home in the country. And the smell of orange slices drying in the oven filled the house for days. It was probably one of my most memorable Christmases.

I guess it really struck me that year that the holidays truly weren’t about commercialism and meant so much more when you eliminated that.

We never had very much money growing up. My mother was a teacher and my father worked for the electric company who both worked very hard as young parents. We had always lived in the country a few miles from the itty-bitty town I was born in. Trenton, Mo.

My grandparents and great-grandparents helped provide in areas that my parents could not. They would offer to watch me and my little brother while they worked and would deliver fresh produce from their gardens since we couldn’t afford it from the store. We never had all of the fancy things and we never cared.

We didn’t want for anything and I think that lack of consumerism and yearning for more made us happier.

Related: How I Avoid Getting More Stuff During the Holidays

I continue to think about that Christmas and now that I have my own child, I want him to experience that too. And you know what that means…

Zero Waste Holiday Decorating Ideas

Zero Waste Holiday Decorating Ideas

We’re going to fill the house with only handmade and natural decorations. Just like we did that special Christmas so many years ago. And yes, all of these decorating ideas are zero waste – and pretty inexpensive. No need to go shell out hundreds of dollars on trendy, plastic nonsense from Target – even though you so desperately want to. Stop your, voodoo spells, Target!

Citrus Garlands

I just love it when low waste ideas become popular. Aside from looking really festive, these garlands will make your house smell amazing when you dry out the oranges in the oven.

Related: DIY Citrus Garland

Pine Cones

Because anything from a pine tree is synonymous with the Holidays. Simply leave them in a bowl, tie a ribbon to them and hang as ornaments, add them to a holiday wreath, or even string them as a garland.


Find native pine trees in your area and give them a trim. Take the excess limbs and tie them together to make a garland, table centerpiece, or wreath. And when the season is over, use those fragrant clippings to make some all-purpose cleaner!

Related: DIY Pine Scented All-Purpose Cleaner

Popcorn and Cranberries

Zero Waste Holiday Decorating Ideas

Just make a double batch of popcorn when you make this garland because you’ll find it hard to stop eating it. With a needle and thread, string popcorn and cranberries until you get your desired length. Use the garland to decorate the Christmas tree or hang on windows. At the end of the season, hang the garland outside for birds and critters to eat.

Paper Garlands

An easy way to add a festive touch to your walls or tree. Use old junk mail, cut it into strips, and make paper chains as long as the eye can see. The newspaper also makes pretty and unique garlands. Sometimes we even cut the garlands into stars, snowflakes, or snowmen.


Adorn your tree with gingerbread people or decorate your tables in festive gingerbread houses. It’s not only a beautiful, low waste way to decorate but a great way to make some holiday memories with your loved ones.

Secondhand Decor

Scoping out secondhand and vintage holiday decor is also a way to get that Christmas spirit all over your home without buying new and contributing to the excess and overconsumption we participate in during the holidays. My thrift stores are overflowing with holiday decor this time of year. It’s nearly overwhelming.

There are many ways to decorate without really buying much. You can make your home so festive without needing to buy a storage unit for all of the holiday decor after the fact. Collect memories, not things this holiday season.

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