Wine Cork Wreath
Inspired by Good Housekeeping magazine online, we created this holiday wreath from old wine corks, floral wire and jingle bells. Take about 22 corks and 22 red bells, and drill a small hole 1/4 of an inch from the top of each cork and another 1/4 of an inch from the bottom. Using long, green floral wire, push the wire though all the bottom holes of the corks. Leave enough wire at both ends when finished for tying closed later. Cut another long piece of floral wire to string the tops of the corks together, alternating with the bells. Tie ends of wire at the top and bottom, twisting to close and make a wreath shape. Add a reusable bow or holly to finish it off.
If you want a cut Christmas tree, more than a dozen area farms in the Puget Sound Fresh (external) program offer traditional Christmas trees (pre-cut or "U-cut") and wreaths. Many of these farms use minimal pesticides and employ other green-growing practices, and plant one or more trees for every tree harvested. You might also consider a living tree. These potted Christmas trees, available at many nurseries, are usually smaller than cut trees. They should only be kept in the house for about a week, so they don't start sprouting new growth. You can keep the tree outside, haul it in to enjoy it at Christmastime for several years, and then eventually plant it in the yard or give it away.
Recycled T-shirt Garland
What to do with all those old t-shirts that are too threadbare to donate? Turn them into a garland for your Christmas tree. See the Never Homemaker (external) blog for instructions. Cranberries, popcorn, fruits and nuts also make fun decorations. After the holidays you can eat them, compost them or give them to the birds.
Light Up with LEDs
Energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) or solar-powered lights add a sleek look to your holiday decorations, and may save you $30 or more on your winter electric bill. Most area retailers now carry LED holiday lights, and some may offer discounts on Energy Star-rated LEDs. When you buy new LED lights, ask retailers if they will recycle your old holiday lights, or look for other holiday-light-recycling collection programs.
For Hanukkah, menorahs can be made from practically anything. Buy distinctive recycled menorahs online or make your own. The Sammamish-based Celebrate Green (external) campaign describes menorahs created from old flower pots, used water bottles and even potatoes.
Recycled Material Ornament Ideas
Perhaps you've swapped out your lighting for energy efficient bulbs – so what to do with those incandescent bulbs? Make them into these cute penguin ornaments of course! We used craft paints, old gloves and ribbon.
Have a bunch of paint swatches in a drawer? Try making these snowman ornaments that also double as gift tags. Or try this idea from the resweater blog (external) for mini wreath ornaments made from worn out sweaters.
Updated: Apr. 11, 2013