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The Recycled Holiday Tree Challenge: Make All Your Holiday Ornaments From Reused or Recycled Products

Posted Dec 08 2009 2:00pm
Old tablecloth turned treeskirt         Late in November I sat at the kitchen table playing games with my youngest daughter and discussing holiday plans. She said to me, “You know what? I bet we could make a few holiday ornaments this year.” This triggered a genius idea between us: what if we could decorate our tree with all reused or recycled holiday ornaments?

During this difficult economy many families cannot afford to buy new ornaments, so this effort will simultaneously teach how to reuse products and how to save money.

After some intense discussion, we came up with a plan for the Recycled Holiday Tree Challenge. While we had hundreds of holiday ornaments here at the house, we could not use them. It was important to reuse, recycle, or make the decorations ourselves so we could help educate our friends, family, and community about recycling and reusing.

To be placed on our incredible sustainable holiday tree, the decorations had to qualify by following the below rules:Our cart at the resale shop

Recycled Holiday Tree Challenge Rules -

  1. Reused, or
  2. Recycled, or
  3. Garage Sale Purchased, or
  4. From a Resale Shop, or
  5. From the Natural Environment

Any craft parts beyond glue, staples, and needle/thread also need to be from a resale shop or disassembled and reused from a previous source.

We decided on a “blue” theme – decorating the tree with blue lights and trying as much as we could to stick with blue decorations whenever possible. Then we took a trip to the local resale shop.

For $4.10 we purchased several used blue colored blankets made out of fleece, a snowman table cloth, and a few blue sweaters which had snowmen embroidery to use as crafting material on-the-cheap.

First step was to assemble the artificial tree. We then hung twenty-four blue glass ball ornaments which I bought at a garage sale two years ago and had never used. My daughter hung a plastic Cinderella ornament she had found from a pile of old toys which had gone off to the needy, and we topped the tree with a fabric angel which was also found at a garage sale years before. We put an old white sheet on the floor as “snow”, then topped that with one of the snowman tablecloths we had found at the resale shop. What a great start.

Old white sheet and snowman table cloth makes the perfect tree skirt

Over the next several weeks we shall make more ornaments for the tree and demonstrate each craft so readers can see how to make it for themselves. My daughter and I hope you will follow along and make reused and recycled ornaments for your holiday tree as well.

Please send us photos and links so we can see what you have done with holiday trees to help save the landfills. Thanks!

Shawna Coronado says Get Healthy! Get Green! Get Community!, The Green Blog -, or The Garden Blog -

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