Retailers seem to bring out the holiday décor earlier each year, with aisles of pricey, plastic trees, faux garlands, and trendy tchotchkes leaving some feeling like the Grinch.
Sustainable DIY darling Cassandra Evans, known as Sunny (@northwoodsfolk), offers a refreshing, low-waste, affordable alternative to holiday decorating to keep spirits bright. Instead of spending money on new décor, she makes it herself.
In a cozy Instagram Reel, Sunny demonstrates how to transform simple items into festive, easy-to-make décor.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans discard 5 million tons of garbage between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, a 25% increase from the rest of the year.
Disillusioned by the excessive waste surrounding the holiday season piling up in landfills and on thrift store shelves, Sunny shares low-waste alternatives like her beautiful citrus garland. “I still like things sparkly and festive, after all!” she says.
To prepare the dried fruit, thinly slice citrus such as oranges, limes, and grapefruit, then dry them in a dehydrator or an oven at a low temperature for several hours. The fruit is ready when it is no longer soft and flexible. Be sure to dry the citrus thoroughly to prevent mold.
For the garland, Sunny strings twine through a small hole in the citrus, then alternates with sprigs of fresh pine. “It’s so pretty and I bet it smells good too!” one commenter noted. The dried citrus can also be used as natural ornaments, embellishments for gift wrap, and edible décor for festive desserts and cocktails. Once the season ends, they can be easily repurposed, stored for reuse, or composted.
How it’s helping
Switching to low-waste holiday decorations like Sunny’s natural garland saves money and storage space while providing opportunities to slow down and enjoy the season. Spend time with loved ones by hosting a DIY party to craft festive and fragrant décor and gifts.
Using up those extra lemons and limes that would otherwise rot in the fridge transforms would-be food waste into stunning décor.
This gorgeous garland is one of many creative ways to eliminate excess waste from holiday happenings, saving money and the planet. Learn to wrap pretty packages without tape, explore reusable gift wrap solutions, and shop zero-waste gift ideas.
What everyone’s saying
“Beautiful and I love this idea! So tired of the fake stuff everywhere,” one commenter replied to Sunny’s Reel. “So over plastic crap taking over the planet,” another agreed.
Dozens of Instagrammers inspired by Sunny’s décor suggested their own ideas for the holiday season.
“Dried apple rounds are beautiful too,” one commenter recommended. “I use the peel and cut with a cookie cutter into stars,” another replied.
Instead of saving or composting, another Instagram user suggested, “citrus and conifer could get chopped up later and put in tea or pretty aromatic bath salts,” while another proposed making potpourri.
Easy and affordable DIY décor like Sunny’s sustainable garland inspires creativity while bringing a charming, personal touch to the holiday season.
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