Tip of The Week! 3 Holiday Decor Hacks

holidayGoing crazy if you haven’t yet hung all the holiday lights and decked the halls with boughs of greens? Then here are 3 simple hacks to bring some sanity back to your holiday hustle and bustle.

#1 – Remember that in the winter, less is really enough.
The winter-scape is simple and lacking in color. Unlike the summer when you may have 6 pots of petunias on the porch just to be seen, 1 or 2 containers now is enough for a standout.

#2 – Use what you already have.
Re-purpose rather than discard branches trimmed from the base of a natural Christmas tree or trim small branches from evergreens in your yard. Fill porch containers with moist soil and insert the branches. They should stay green for weeks outdoors. If brought indoors, greens will be thirsty so water vases with greens often.

If you want to dress up the greens, take advantage of more finds from your yard such as pinecones, dried berries, seed pods or plants such as yarrow, or even leafless twigs and small branches. Spray paint branches red, silver or gold. If you want more pizazz, embellish containers with ribbon and battery-operated lights. The time it takes to scavenge a few natural items from your yard, tie a bow and twirl a few lights will be less than travel time to and from a crafts store to buy manufactured items.

#3 – Use a natural tree and recycle it so it can be re-purposed into useful mulch after the holidays.
Natural trees don’t have to be assembled, disassembled and stored in space you might put to better use for 11 months. Natural trees also bring the aroma of nature indoors.

Care and safety: be sure that the tree is watered daily to keep it from drying out. Use LED lights instead of traditional ones. Bulbs on LEDs do not heat up to create a fire hazard.

Be proud you’re acting sustainably. An artificial tree must be used 20 years to have a lower carbon footprint than a natural one. Manufactured trees are of materials that are non-biodegradable and transported thousands of miles. Natural trees, on the other hand, are grown only a couple states away and create oxygen as they grow. One acre of holiday trees on a farm creates enough oxygen for 18 people.

D├ęcor reminders if you have pets

Not everything in nature is safe when ingested. If you have a new puppy, kitten or pets known to chew, avoid bringing these traditional holiday plants into your home:

  • Amaryllis plants are very toxic and the bulb more so.
  • American holly has potentially toxic compounds that can cause gastrointestinal irritation.
  • Mistletoe berries and leaves can cause mild gastritis – but the most serious threat to pets is the plastic berries often included in the package. They are the cause of many holiday vet visits when pets ingest the berries.
  • Kalanchoe, a flowering succulent, is popular at the holidays because of its showy blooms. It, too, can cause gastrointestinal problems for pets.

Safer choices:

  • Poinsettias are a safe choice because the bracts of poinsettia leaves are not seriously toxic.
  • Christmas cactus according to the ASPCA is non-toxic to both dogs and cats.

If you are worried about plant safety for children, verify the safety of each plant with information that may be on the label and with the seller.

Courtesy of ALCC Landscape Sustainable Partners

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