Holiday Decor Ideas That Save Your Wallet and The Planet

by Rosa Colucci


November 17, 2023

Not everything that glitters is gold, especially when it comes to holiday decorating and gifting. The average American will spend $269 on decorations and wrap each year — almost 20 percent of their total holiday budget. 

Social media is flooded with perfect holiday rooms that influencers start creating months before by the time they hit your feed (complete with shopping links). The temptation to throw out the old and begin anew is just clicks away. Theme decorating, by style, color and personal collections are popular as enthusiasts take their dreamy creations online.

There are ways to refresh and reset your space while saving your wallet and the planet. If you are looking to do a theme this year, first, take a look at the items you have that you’re not using and get what you need to fill the gaps — in an eco-friendly manner of course. 

Here are some ideas: 

Have a Decoration Swap: Invite friends for a quick visit and refreshments, ask them to bring their “swap” items. Sort by color or themes (think Santa, kids, Nutcrackers, etc.) “Sell” all items to each other for $1 and put the money in a bowl. Gather up what’s left, take it, and the cash to Goodwill and donate it.

Second-hand shopping: A quick online search will find a list of places where stores are loaded with fun. An afternoon of resale will net you vintage holiday tableware, mantel decor, ornaments, and more. If you are doing a theme you can easily find items to reset your look for less. You might want to consign some of your own items or just drop off for charity while you are out.


Shop outside: Nature has the best decor of all. Use branches, twigs, berry sprays, and more to create a woodland theme. Fill glass jars and vases with pretty branches mixed in with ornaments you already own. Layer your table with pieces of wood, greenery and in the center, a bowl of pine cones with a sticks of cinnamon, dried apple, and orange slices for an aromatic display. You can also take a few larger branches, place them in a vase on your buffet, and hang some woodland ornaments for a truly natural tree display.

Sustainable Paper: Make memories that last forever, not waste. Every year, more than 2.3 million pounds of gift wrap hits the landfills. Shiny and glittery paper cannot be recycled so instead, save money and buy a large, commercial-size roll of Kraft paper. Dress it up with tags created from last year’s Christmas Cards. If you need something dressier, there are lots of eco-friendly ink papers to purchase online.

Give the give of time: Go the extra mile, and volunteer time to decorate a Senior Care facility. Other small ways to help are holiday decor items that can be hung with a Command strip for patient rooms. Holiday stockings that you fill with lip balm, lotions, socks, and candy. Also, if your budget allows, purchase a simple gift for staff to distribute to a resident. A warm nightgown, slippers, shawls, small throws, and button-up sweaters are always appreciated. Bring the item in a gift bag so the staff see what’s inside. Add a little candy and a card. Your efforts will go a long way to making someone’s day so much more bright.

Enjoy the season.


Rosa Colucci is a regular contributor to The Green Voice