Take stock of the decorations you already have on hand. Do you really need to buy anything new? Those stockings still look wonderful and that tree skirt will do its job just fine. Those antique and handmade decorations are beautiful and full of memories. By purchasing less Christmas decorations this year, you are not using up any precious resources that would be needed to create new things.
Go natural to go green. Think of traditional Christmas greenery: swags, garlands, wreaths; all of these are natural and renewable, and can be composted or chipped after the holidays and returned to nature. In addition to traditional evergreens you can add seasonal flowers: hyacinth, mimosa, narcissus and amaryllis are all in season during the holidays. Red roses are a green option if they are grown locally in greenhouses. Beautiful, natural accents for your decor can also include dried berries, twigs, and small logs. You can also incorporate fresh apples, oranges and other fruits and nuts into incredible, edible decorations.
Get a real tree. Unless you already have a fake tree that you use over and over again, real trees are the greenest choice. Real trees are grown on farms and are grown to be cut, and new trees are planted in their place. Fake trees are filled with plastic, PVC and harsh chemicals. They give off toxic gases when new and they cannot be recycled. Real trees are the greenest, most sustainable, eco-friendly choice, especially when you buy them from a local tree farm and recycle them after the holidays.
Switch out your incandescent light bulbs for energy saving LEDs. Regular light bulbs generate heat and up to 90 percent of the energy they use goes to producing that heat. LEDs burn bright and cool, using 80 percent less energy than a regular incandescent bulb and they last around 20 years. They might cost a little more than regular bulbs but in one season you can see the energy savings and that will make up for the extra expense to purchase them. For outdoor lighting go ultra green and purchase solar powered LED light strands. Check out SolarIlluminations.com for solar LEDs.
Light up soy and beeswax candles. Traditional candles are made from paraffin wax which is a petroleum based product. All natural soy and beeswax candles are made from renewable and sustainable materials; they burn cleaner and are better for you.
Go vintage. Want new decorations without actually buying new stuff? Check out consignment stores, thrift shops and antique stores for interesting, antique and vintage finds. Maybe you can choose an era and treasure hunt for old ornaments and decorations from that time period like Victorian, 50's mod or 80's retro. While you are treasure hunting for unique decorations you can also hunt for presents for those on your shopping list.
Make your own. We've all seen the classic Christmas movies where people made strings of popcorn and berry garlands, so why not give it a try? It may be fun, plus you'll be using natural, renewable resources. You can also make festive Christmas stuff from empty glass jars, tins cans and plastic bottles. Glass jars make pretty candle holders, tin cans punched with designs make pretty luminaries and plastic bottles and containers can be painted to look like fun Christmas characters such as reindeer, penguins, snowmen and Santas. You can also make ornaments from a flour dough mixture that can be painted once it dries.
Buy handmade. Not up to making your own stuff but you still want the handmade look? Check out local craft shows, art fairs and holiday bazaars or check out eBay and Etsy online to see if you can find something that suits your tastes.