kickin’ it old school with holiday decorations n’at

I’m not a big seasonal decorator. I tend to keep things simple. I typically like white Christmas lights (though we’re using red this year because my aunt gave them to us for free!) and minimal Christmas tree ornaments.

That’s just my style.

And this is the first year I won’t be living at my parents house for Christmas.

Mike and I decided to do holiday decorations a little bit differently this year. We wanted to keep a zero waste mindset while not quenching the Christmas spirit.

Here’s how we’re keeping our holiday decorations low waste this year:


We went to Lowe’s and bought a Norfolk Island Pine tree that already came in a planter.

It’s like a miniature pine tree but instead of throwing it away after Christmas, we can keep it as a potted plant in our home!

We’re thrilled with it! It’s small and fits perfectly in our studio apartment.

Lots of stores carry these plants, including Walmart and some grocery stores. They’re typically less than $20 and will live way longer than a traditional Christmas tree.

Other options for a tree….

If you’re using a fake tree currently, keep using it! You’re better off getting good use out of it than throwing it away too early.

But if you’re in the market to buy a real tree, you’ve got some options if avoiding unnecessary waste is on your mind.

There are several pine trees that come in planters, similar to the Norfolk one we got. There are also trees that can be planted in the ground after the holiday season!

Check out what your local lawn and garden shops have — you might be surprised at the options that are available!


For ornaments, we went old school.

I cut up oranges and cooked them in the oven on 200 degrees for 6 hours. I cut them about 1/2 inch or thinner and put them on a baking sheet. I flipped the oranges over about 3 hours in. They turned out great!

Once they cooled I cut a hole in the fleshy part and tied some string around it, making a loop.

You can do this with lots of different fruits! Limes and lemons are great options, or grapefruit, or even apples! Just be sure to monitor the oven while they’re cooking to make sure they don’t burn.

We also made ornaments out of mason jar lips. I took some fabric scraps I had and covered the flat part of the lid. Before connecting the second piece of the lid, I put a piece of string in between and then connected them together. I tied a loop in the string and tied it to our tree.

Instead of having an angel or star as our tree topper, I took some extra fabric and tied a bow at the top!

Other ornament ideas….

The options are endless — truly. Pinterest has some killer ideas! You can stick to zero waste options like food and fabrics. You can also make your own ornaments by gluing or tying different sticks together or adding flowers to your tree.

You can kick it old school and string some popcorn and cranberries and dress your tree up that way! You can use cinnamon sticks or gingerbread cookies.

Get creative and have fun!

Other decorations…

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going all out when it comes to Christmas decorations! If you already have lots of decorations, maybe you don’t need to buy more this year. Or perhaps consider donating some of them to Goodwill or different consignment shops.

If you do choose to buy new decorations, check out second-hand stores. Or consider buying something locally made or that’s quality/eco friendly.

Lastly, if you do decide to buy more decorations, think sustainably. What will last the longest time? Don’t always think about the most inexpensive item — think what will last the longest and be a quality item.

Happy holidays everybody!

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