It’s easy to get “wrapped up” in Christmas traditions without paying mind to the environment. Luckily, greening up your holiday season doesn’t mean skimping on cheer. As a matter of fact, sidestepping the crowds for some hands-on family time is probably good for everyone, and has a way of reminding us why this season is so special in the first place.
On top of getting in the holiday spirit, these recycled crafts are the perfect way to get kids engaged in recycling and talking about how the items we typically throw away can be turned into something new. Making kids aware of how our everyday actions impact the environment naturally guides them toward more sustainable habits as they begin to make choices of their own.
So round up the family, put on your creativity cap and check out these earth-friendly ways to spread Christmas cheer.
Give greener gifts with a mason jar.
Mason jars can hold just about anything, and be personalized in a number of ways. Decorate, wrap and fill with homemade cookies or a favorite holiday candy. Since a love for hot chocolate knows no age, the cocoa mix mason jars craft below is a great way to spread warm greetings.
Cocoa Mix Mason Jar
You’ll need a mason jar, cocoa mix, marshmallows, a candy cane and ribbon. Take the clean mason jar and fill all but an inch or two with cocoa mix. Pour marshmallows into the remaining space, or layer with chocolate chips, peppermint patties or candy mints. Cap on the metal lid, seal with a ribbon and slip in a candy cane. Personalize the jar with puffy paint, paper or stickers and attach a small hand-written note for the perfect finishing touch.
Looking for other mason jar crafts? Shake it up a bit by turning clear glass jars into homemade snow globes. Check out www.craftgawker.com for instructions on this adorable DIY.
Deck The Halls (or at least the tree)
Christmas ornaments are our way of celebrating memories and milestones as they happen over the years, so making your own ornaments is a great way to reflect on those moments together as a family. Make them for your own tree, or help kids create them for relatives, teachers and friends. Just about anything can be turned into an ornament (a quick web search will get the ideas flowing) but one of the cutest crafts I’ve seen makes use of expired light bulbs. You’re your very own light bulb ornament using a pattern from www.allfreecrafts.com or check out www.craftgawker.com to paint bulbs to look like a snowman, Santa and other seasonal characters.
Looking for other ornament crafts? Use family pictures, old holiday cards, cookie dough or baking clay to put a personal touch on the Christmas tree.
Green Holiday Greetings
Store-bought cards, invites and thank you notes are alright in a pinch, but their convenience comes at a cost to both our bank account and the planet. Consider substituting your seasonal mass mailing with an earth-conscious alternative, such as eCards or phone calls. For close friends and family members, consider one of these homemade options.
Take advantage of the Christmas images and ads sprinkled on every magazine page this time of year by turning them into a Christmas collage card. You can also cut and paste letters or words to spell out a personalized message.
If you’re looking for a shortcut, start with a card you already received and repurpose it for someone else. Neatly cut the front of the card from the part with the greeting or note, then get a piece of colored paper and trim it to size to make either a postcard or folding card. Paste them together with a glue stick and get creative with ribbon, stickers, cutouts and glitter. Give it a little time to dry before writing a brand new note on the back and passing on the smile.
About the author: Taylor Greely is the corporate communications assistant for Rumpke.