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Eco Chic (Posted On: Tuesday, December 05, 2006)

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The holidays can represent a warm, magical time of year in which we show our appreciation of each other through celebrations and gift giving. Take the opportunity to create new holiday traditions that help protect the environment, by having an eco-friendly holiday season. Shown are examples of eco-friendly decorating for your holiday season.

Items for an eco-chic holiday season:
Dogwood, birch, curly willow, sumac, evergreens, artichokes, juniper, euonymus, cedar, blue spruce, boxwood, magnolia, winterberry, kale, pinecones (large and small), fruit (pomegranates, limes, apples, grapefruit, lemons and cranberries), birds nests, ceramic birds or eggs, grape vine balls or cones, Christmas ornaments, spices & herbs, moss & bark, clear strand of lights (LED lights are a great way to be energy efficient), antique wooden skis or snowshoes, antique wagons, wheelbarrows, or sleighs.

Holiday decorating tip:
Always adorn your door. Use a wreath, bough of a Christmas tree, a sprig of green foliage or some pinecones tied with a ribbon. This creates warmth and a festive welcome to passers by or guests entering your home. Pick a colour palette, look to nature for inspiration. Be kind to the environment, have an eco-chic holiday season

Grapevine and pinecone wreath
Grapevine is easy to bend and shape, you can also soak it, which allows it to be more flexible. Once you have your wreath formed you need to allow it to dry overnight. (Dollar stores sell pre made wreaths) Collect pinecones of different shapes, sizes and variety. All you need is a glue gun to put it together. Once you have attached all the pinecones to the wreath you will need to decide how to hang it. You can use an old scarf, which adds some colour for the display, ribbon or even twine. If you want to try something different you could use walnuts and chestnuts in your mixture or only cover a portion of the wreath to create a whimsical pattern. You could also purchase a magnolia leaf or boxwood wreath, which over time will dry out and you can continue to enjoy it each year. Check out Changing with the Seasons on Campbell Street, Sharon Smith carries a variety of eco-chic holiday decor.

Creating eco friendly outdoor holiday decor:
Nature provides us with a wonderful array of options. Remember that when pruning a plant that it needs to survive the winter, clip from the stem or base of the plant and be sensitive to the tree. Mixing greenery in your display gives it variety and creates fullness. Cedar, blue spruce, boxwood, magnolia and winterberry are all wonderful greenery to add to your container.

The arrangement and container should be in proportion, if you have a large tall design use a tall container. Dogwood, sumac, curly willow, birch, all add height, colour and contrast to your decorations. If you used kale in the fall you can continue it over to the winter in your new arrangement. Grey pine and sugar pine are large sized cones; the different sizes and shapes add texture to your decorations. Place them in your container display or attach them to garland; there are so many options for their creative use.

Pick a colour scheme for your decorations; it doesn’t have to be traditional red and green. If you use a theme and colour palette you can coordinate your materials to create a polished look. Fruit is a wonderful way to add colour to your display, you can use wooden skewers to hold them in place, try pomegranates or limes for a dramatic look. Birch tree branches look wonderful poking out of all the lush greenery, and you could tie a bow on the end of one as a finishing touch. Cranberries can be strung and wrap them on garland or drape them in your container.

Greenery can be taken to the local dump and will be used for compost or wood chips. Contact your municipality to find out if there is a tree collection program. You can put the fruit and berry sprigs in your backyard compost. Store your reusable decorations in plastic bins with a lock lids to keep critters out. Pinecones are a wonderful household decor item, place them in a basket near your fireplace or fill a glass vase on your table. If you used faux items like berries, branches with glitter, ornaments, store them till next season. Try to cut back on the holiday waste.

6 Helpful Holiday Tips

  1. Get a live, re-plantable tree.
  2. Minimize waste when packaging and wrapping gifts. Recycle your gift-wrap, ribbons and boxes and bags for the next year.
  3. Be creative when decorating, discover what nature has to offer.
  4. Think green when giving, support companies and products that are better for the environment.
  5. Entertain green- try to avoid disposables when entertaining, use your best china, silverware, glasses and cloth napkins. Recycle all cans, glass, cardboard, paper and plastic.
  6. Use LED holiday lights (Light Emitting Diode)- they use up to 90 % less energy, are more durable and they last seven times longer than conventional lights.

I hope these simple ideas will become part of your holiday traditions, making this season a little greener.

For more information on Eco-Chic Holiday decorating or for a consultation contact Ellen Oelbaum 445-8102

Thank you to the local residents who allowed me to adorn their homes in eco-friendly fashion for the holiday season.



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