The day after Thanksgiving has always been the start of the Christmas season. With so many holiday traditions to fulfill, you need ample space to fit it all in. There’s the tree picking and decorating, hot chocolate making, movie marathons, pop-up Christmas bars, cookie making, and holiday parties all that fit into a 4-week span before we say goodbye to the Christmas season and make our slow approach back to summer, one shorter night at a time. But this list of traditions is so much more than just checking off boxes and having a photo to post on social media (seeing as I’m no longer on social, I can’t even do that part). These Christmas traditions are a tool to bring us back to the present, to slow down, and to embrace the gifts that December is here to offer.
Choosing your Christmas tree
Our Christmas tree is the center of our Christmas decorating. Yes, we have stockings over the fire, but the room that lights up and reminds us of the beauty of this season is always the one with the Christmas tree. Now that we live in a house that can sustain a full-size tree we’ve opted for a live one. Plastic trees, while less expensive in the long run, will take hundreds of years to decompose leaving a lasting imprint on the environment. They also often have lights that break and are thrown away because of that. A fresh Christmas tree however is grown for the season and creates a more sustainable practice. When you’re done you can drop it off at a recycling center that will turn it into mulch to use in gardens come spring. On top of choosing a live Christmas tree, we wanted to support a small business instead of going to the chain stores. The experience of walking through a Christmas tree lot with an expert there to help you pick and trip your tree only adds to the magic of the season.
Here are some local tree farms in Denver to Check out:
- Everett Farms Christmas Trees (Where we got ours)
- Tree Town Wonderland
- A Tree Land Christmas
- Neighborhood Christmas Tree Company
Tree trimmings for decorating
Another benefit to going to a local tree farm to get your tree are the tree trimmings. The branches they cut off the bottom of the tree to make it easier to put in a stand aren’t used for anything. So if you want to make your own garland or build a wreath, these local tree farms are more than happy to give you however much you need so you can get creative and have that fresh evergreen smell throughout your home.
Reuse your decorations
Like building your closet, collecting your decorations takes time. You don’t need a perfectly decorated house that looks like a magazine but instead have pieces that mean something to you. Like the nativity scene that sits on our credenza or the angel on top of the tree that was my grandmother’s. These decorations mean way more to me than the ones I bought in order to fulfill the look I was going for. You’re also more likely to buy quality when you only purchase one or two things a year. So remember that all things take time and that decorations that mean something to you will have more impact than buying a ton of new things every season. Plus, it feels good to not have to spend on decorations every year, the only season cost to our decorations is our Christmas tree.
One of the most wasteful parts of the holiday season are the wrappings. While I love a beautifully wrapped gift, it kills me to buy paper for the purpose of ripping it up and throwing it away. Instead, I’ve opted to save fabric scraps or even purchase fabric from the thrift stores to use as wrapping paper. I’ve also used recycled paper bags from Trader Jo’s, or reusable bags and boxes that don’t need any extra work to make look beautiful.
This holiday season is a magical time. You can feel the cheer and wonder just about everywhere you go. But the magic doesn’t come from a magazine worthy home or a million presents under the tree. The magic comes from being with the people you love, spending time together fully present, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. So let go of the Instagram worthy photos and instead decorate you home in a way that brings joy, is sustainable and doesn’t break the bank. I promise, it will bring a season filled with wonder and light.