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Christmas Week: Using the Greenest Decorations

Decorations, especially the holiday variety, are one of those green conundrums: tradition dictates that we light up the interior and exterior of our homes, cut down a tree (though you don’t have to do that [www.sundance.tv]) and hang decorations all over the tree and all over the house. The stuff we decorate with only comes out once a year, languishing in a box for 50 weeks a year and taking up space, and the same goes for our public spaces, which tend to be adorned with more plastic garland and icicle lights than you can shake a stick at. All of this adds up to a (potentially) less-than-green experience for everybody, but it’s pretty tough to have festive holidays without some decorating, right?

Not to worry. Check out some of our tips for festive, fun, green holiday decorating and be sure to compost [www.sundance.tv] your mistletoe after New Year’s.

For many of us, it all starts with the tree. We’ve posted some other tips for green treens [www.sundance.tv], but if you’re willing to eschew tradition a bit more, TreeHugger has some other ideas for some alternatives to the prickly needles and messy cleanup.

1) Have yourself a Merry Flat-packed Christmas [www.treehugger.com] with this tree (pictured above) that substitutes sleek modernity and space-saving reusability for typical (and, let’s face it, less functional, single-use) green branches. You may never have to buy another tree…
2) Take flat-pack to a whole new level with the two-dimensional “tree” [www.treehugger.com] that isn’t as fun to decorate as the real thing, but uses less “tree” than a normal tree would.
3) Half Christmas card, half Christmas tree replacement (with tongue fully in cheek, pictured below), check out the dual-purpose card/tree [www.treehugger.com] (pictured below) that probably won’t replace your real tree, but has definite potential to make your office-mates jealous.

4) When it comes to what goes on the tree, Planet Green, TreeHugger’s sister site, has a hot tip [planetgreen.discovery.com] for maximizing the life of your Christmas lights; plus, remember, if you buy LED [www.sundance.tv] lights (pictured below) the first time, you might never have to buy new ones again.
5) For other decorations, tree-related and otherwise, we recommend that you swap shop [www.treehugger.com] and give a previously-loved decoration a second life.
6) If you’re looking for green ideas for outdoor decorations, take some inspiration from London’s Carnaby Street [www.treehugger.com], whose use of festive paper chains are an inventive alternative to energy consuming lights.