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Holiday decorating with a 'green' touch
Keep Liberty Beautiful
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Last weekend, several volunteers for Keep Liberty Beautiful decorated one of the Yellow Bluff cottages for the development’s Holiday Open House. Our mission was to decorate in an earth-friendly fashion. We had so much fun coming up with ideas that we simply could not use them all in the attractive three-bedroom charmer that we were assigned.  Several hundred people dropped by and seemed to enjoy the decorations and the organic cookies that we had available for decorating and eating. Here are some of the highlights of our “green” decorating project:

Think green — live greenery, that is
One of the easiest ways to decorate is using live greenery — evergreens, cedar, magnolia leaves, holly berries, oleander and twigs. Mother Nature has an endless supply of lovely decoration materials out there just for the taking — unless you see them on someone else’s property. Don’t be put off by the idea if you do not think you have an artistic eye or have never been particularly crafty. Garlands and wreaths are simply made by wiring or tying branches and stems together.
You can also take store-bought grapevine wreaths and sprays and add pieces of greenery or leaves, etc. Tie them off with ribbon and you have created your own one-of-a-kind decoration.
For many years, I have just gotten the trimmings from Christmas tree retailers and used these trimmed-off branches to decorate mantels and dressers and mix with potpourri in containers through out the house. Pretty and free, too.

Make it glow
Another easy decorating trick is to use candles and lights to create a festive glow — inside and out. To make it eco-friendly, use candles made of soy or beeswax and avoid traditional candles made from petroleum products.  Or use one of my new favorite things — the automatic pillar and votive candles with LED lights. They are great. Many have a little flicker, so that they look quite realistic. They are, of course, safer, too.

What’s your theme?

I am kind of theme freak for decorating and events. I can’t help it. Once I have a theme, I have my starting point. The rest comes pretty easy after that. For instance, in my own house, I have a coastal cottage theme — not too much but enough subtle reminders that this is a coastal area. So it was only natural in this house that I would create a coastal holiday look, using shells, raffia, beads and ornaments with a natural coastal feel. So pick a theme and once again use it throughout your home.

Reusable napkins and placemats
Make napkin rings out of raffia, yarn or ribbon, with greenery, berries, shells or Christmas ornaments. Instead of placemat holders, use natural items, like pinecones, or make English “poppers” out of wrapped toilet paper holders filled with candy and tied with ribbon on each end. Use a gift card to write each name on and tape to the “popper.”  Or wrap a trinket box with a trinket inside and use the “gift” as a placemat holder.

Use what you have
Take a look around because you already have many things that you can use in a different way for decorating. Children’s toys and books are a great source. Take blocks and spell out “Merry Christmas” or use the children’s Christmas books as a display. Take a look in your china cabinet. You probably have some lovely containers and trays to hold greenery and potpourri in places around your home.

Surf the Web

Check out the Internet. It is amazing what eco-friendly items and ideas that you can find online. We found recycled wrapping paper, organic toys, imprinted Christmas decorations made from the bottoms of beer bottles and angel decorations made from soda cans.
Like I said, we had so many ideas we could not use them all or even write about them all.  I can’t wait until next year!

Upcoming Keep Liberty Beautiful events:
Win-dex Business Awards: Nominate attractive businesses in our community for the Win-dex Awards. The Win-dex Awards recognize winning businesses that look so good, they have a “streak-free shine.”  We will accept nominations for this quarter’s awards through Dec. 31st. For information or for a nomination form, contact Keep Liberty County Beautiful at 368-4888 or Forms are also available at the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce office.
• Dec. 26-Jan. 3: Bring One for the Chipper, Christmas tree recycling.

Swida is the executive director of Keep Liberty County Beautiful. For more information on KLCA programs, contact her at 368-4888 or

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