Winter Holiday Eco-Decorating

Spending time with loved ones creatively decorating your home can be a fun holiday project that focuses on togetherness and thoughtfulness rather than consumption and spending.

Here are four categories of suggestions for easily crafted holiday decorations.


Organic Twinklers

Holiday candles nested in fruits or vegetables are a creative way to light up a room, and an excellent reason to forgo traditional holiday candleholders for a more “natural” alternative. To avoid harmful environmental and health-related problems associated with conventional candles, consider beeswax or soy oil candles. (They smell better, too !)

Orange Clove Twinkler

Knife, whole cloves, beeswax candle, whole orange

1. Cut the bottom of the orange so it can sit flat.
2. Cut a hole in the center.
3. Scoop out the insides enough to fit a candle.
4. Decorate the rim of hole by pressing cloves into the orange skin.
5. Insert beeswax candle in the center hole.

Variation: Make an artichoke twinkler by cutting out and scooping the center of a choke for a candle.

Bamboo, Cinnamon Stick, or Magnolia Leaf Twinklers

Bamboo, cinnamon sticks, magnolia leaves, twine, braided rope, or raffia, or other rustic looking string, glass jar, cranberries or ribbon, glue, rubber band, candle large enough to stick out of the jar.
(You can also use these twinklers as vases).

1. Chose a jar that is about 2 inches shorter than your candle, and just the same length as your bamboo, cinnamon, or magnolia leaves.
2. Place rubber band around the middle of your jar.
3. Apply glue along the side of the bamboo, cinnamon stick, or leaf and fit the item inside the rubber band, with glue against the jar.

Repeat until the entire jar is covered with bamboo, cinnamon sticks, or leaves.
4. Wrap braided rope over the rubber band and tie it attractively.
5. Tie a festive bow over the knotted rope.
6. Insert candle.

Cranberry Holiday “Beads”
Though you can purchase plastic or glass beads at the store, handmade cranberry bead strands are elegant, traditional alternatives, and easy to make. These are truly all-purpose. You can decorate lamps, chandeliers, balconies, and even windows with these festive and colorful “organic” beads.

Strong thread, whole cranberries (amount depends on length of desired strand), needle, at least 1.5 inches long.

1. Thread needle
2. Tie large knot at the end of your thread.
3. Begin threading cranberries onto the thread– make sure the knot holds at the end.
4. Continue until your strand reaches a desired length.
5. Tie a large knot at the other end.

Variations: Thread pinecones, dried apricots or cranberries, or bay leaves into the mix.
Make a popcorn chain, which can be fed to the birds after you’re done.

Holiday Snowflakes

Large and small, holiday snowflakes made from recycled paper can be beautiful just about anywhere. They look especially nice in festive bowls, on table tops, or hanging from windows. For directions click here!

Instead of plastic or store-bought trim, use excess Christmas tree trim for your mantle, centerpieces, or tables. You can often collect trim when selecting your Christmas tree, especially if buying from a Christmas tree farm. You will decrease consumption and enjoy the festive scent of real tree trim!

Tree Trim Decorating Suggestions

1. Place trim along the mantle and nestle poinsettia flowers, pinecones, pomegranates, and ornaments within it.
Hang pomegranates ornaments from the mantle to complement the trim.
Attach trim to balconies and banisters with wire and hang pomegranates like ornaments in between bars.

2. Intertwine cranberry beads into Christmas tree trim.

3. Tie cinnamon sticks with festive ribbons onto trim.


Bowls of festive natural objects

  • Place a festive cloth or tree trim in a pretty bowl.
  • Gather pinecones, pomegranates, ornaments, and apples and place them in the bowl.
  • Sprinkle tiny handmade paper snowflakes in the bowl.

Pinecone Place Holders

1. Make name cards on the backs of used greeting card pictures. You can do this by cutting pictures from old greeting cards and writing a name on the non-picture blank side of the paper.

2. Fit name cards in pinecones

3. Attach a festive ribbon or strip of festive fabric.

4. Match the fabric with a color from the rag napkin rings (see below).

Colorful Rag Napkin Rings

Using cloth napkins is a great way to cut down on holiday waste. In addition, cloth napkins look far prettier than disposable paper ones. While working as well as conventional rings, colorful rag napkin rings look delightful and demonstrate your creativity and environmental conscience.

1. Cut festively colored fabric into 5-by-5-inch strips.

2. Tie strips in single knots around old napkin rings for a festive feel.

3. Thread dried cranberries onto thick thread with a needle.

4. Attach these strands to the rag rings.

5. Change colors for new holidays.

Gingerbread House Centerpiece

You can eat this edible centerpiece before it hits the landfill, or someone else can do it for you. Even if nobody wants to eat your sugary treat, you can compost it! Regardless, gingerbread houses are a creative and fun method to decorate your house.
For directions, click here!


  • Hang memorabilia from the tree like a baby’s first shoe, or a husband’s first Christmas card.
  • Hang cookie cutters with festive ribbons attached.
  • Hang pomagranates instead of buying new christmas balls or bulbs.
  • Get outdoor light strands that are wired in parallel. These have separate circuitry so that if one bulb blows out the rest will keep shining; all you have to do is replace the bulb rather than the entire strand of lights.
    Strands sold with series wiring stand or fall together, making it almost impossible to find and replace a single blown-out bulb.
By Hilary Stamper, Care2 Staff

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Nimue Pendragon
Nimue Pendragon2 years ago

Cheers, Annie :)

Sonia Minwer-Barakat Requ

Great ideas.Thanks for sharing

LMj Sunshine

Thank you for ideas and info.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you for ideas and info.

Christina B.
Christina B.2 years ago

Thanks for the directions about the snowflakes. I'm considering making hand-made decorations this year and this seems so easy to do.

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton2 years ago


Zana Zatanique
Jan Alexanian3 years ago

I'm going to try quite a few of these. Thanks for the ideas.

Robert O.
Robert O.4 years ago

Those are very clever ideas! Thanks Annie.

Monique D.
Monique D.4 years ago

Thanks for ideas

Natalie J.
Natalie Away J.4 years ago

I like the napkins idea.