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6 Ways to decorate green for Christmas

Corie Russell is a Midwest-born writer living in New York City. After dabbling in the office life as an editor, she joined the ranks of full-time freelancers and writes about everything from home decor to the recession.

green Christmas

With all the shopping bags and wrapping paper you'll be using this season, make up for the waste by decorating green. From LED bulbs to natural decorations to vintage items, save the planet while saving money. Here are some tips to get you started:

Buy LED holiday bulbs

Think smart when it comes to your light bulbs. LED bulbs use a fraction of the energy of conventional light bulbs -- about 90 percent with a 50,000-hour bulb life, according to The Daily Green. LED lights are available at most Home Depot, Lowe's, Target and Big Lots stores.

You can also recycle your old bulbs through HolidayLeds.com and receive a coupon for a new purchase, advises the Daily Green site.

Make ornaments

If you still have really old, large Christmas lights, they can be repurposed into Christmas ornaments for your tree.

The glass bulbs can be painted with designs or covered with glitter, suggests Ceil Petrucelli of Ceil Petrucelli Interiors in Bennington, VT.

Wrap some wire around the top and make a loop, then add some ribbon for a more finished look.

Small crochet doilies can also be stiffened with starch and made into lacy tree ornaments that look like snowflakes, she says.

Gather items from the yard

Instead of buying a tacky Santa for your Christmas decor, just gather items from your front yard.

'You can create beautiful, inexpensive, memorable and eco-friendly and green holiday decorations from a variety of natural materials such as fruits, nuts, berries, pinecones, evergreens, bark, tree branches and twigs, cinnamon sticks, leaves and more,' Petrucelli says.

For your front door, a simple spray of evergreens, birch branches, berries and pinecones is easy to make. Gather the items, wrap the end with floral wire, add a loop hanger, wrap with a ribbon and make a large bow, she says.

Real or fake?

There are environmental pros and cons of purchasing both real and fake trees. Most artificial Christmas trees are made in China, typically from oil-derived, pollution-releasing polyvinyl chloride, according to the Daily Green. Artificial trees will also last for centuries in landfills. On the other hand, the one-time purchase of a fake tree can save gas to the tree farm, as well as for cross-country shipping. If you choose the fake tree option, try to find a tree made in the U.S., Daily Green suggests.

If you want a real Christmas tree, buy from a local sustainable or organic farm. By buying locally, you'll cut down on CO2 emissions. Convert your tree to mulch or compost at when Christmas is over, the site advises. Many communities offer a special pick-up day for Christmas trees in early January. Call your city and find out more about this green initiative.

Use fruit

For your holiday table, a simple centerpiece can be made by filling a large glass bowl with seasonal fruits such as apples, oranges, pears or pomegranates. Add some walnuts, pecans or Brazil nuts in their shells, Petrucelli says. Add a few cinnamon sticks and sprigs of greenery, and you have a festive Christmas centerpiece. You can use either one fruit or a combination of two, such as red and green apples or red and green pears.

Think vintage

Reuse items around the house or from antique stores and thrift shops to give your home a vintage feel.

Old pins and brooches can be refashioned into ornaments for your tree or can also be given as gifts, Petrucelli says.

Fill an old glass bowl with vintage ornaments for some extra glitter and sparkle.

Old sleds, snowshoes, wooden skis, sap buckets and vintage toys can all be used for holiday decorating and displays.

More Christmas tips on SheKnows:

Fun holiday ideas
Recycling Christmas trees
Christmas ideas & tips from your holiday helpers at SheKnows

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