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Earth Friendly: Use things around house to decorate for holidays

By By Kate Garcia
Oct. 24, 2013 at 5:24 a.m.

Kate Garcia

I was sitting with a friend the other night talking about how I had never spent a holiday away from my parents. It's a wonder how we can adhere so steadfastly to traditions that we are used to. Ever hear the expression "there's more than one way to skin a cat"?

Well, with the holidays coming up, why not change that to "there's more than one way to decorate for the holidays".

Halloween is just a week away. If you're like me, you wait until the day before Halloween to carve a pumpkin so it'll be fresh and extra creepy for all the trick-or-treaters the next night. What never really crossed my mind is how I was wasting a whole pumpkin for a creepy decoration. Why not start a new tradition - a re-useful one?

Pumpkin painting isn't something new, but it's not often thought of. It can even be less messy for those of us whose paintbrush is mightier than the knife. There are lots of pluses about painting a pumpkin: it stays fresh longer, your design doesn't constantly change because you accidentally cut out the wrong part and you can make lots of great snacks and food from it when it's done being a decoration. Who can resist a scrumptious pumpkin pie made from scratch?

If you're not big into Halloween and Thanksgiving is the time that begins the holiday season for you then you're in luck. And, no, I won't go into the numerous different ways to reuse all that leftover turkey and dressing. There will be enough cooking shows addressing that issue.

I'm talking about decorations you didn't even know you had. There are two really cool things I have seen to decorate with the days before and the day of Thanksgiving; a book and a spoon.

After cruising around Pinterest for a while, I came across these great little pumpkins made from old ragged books. The old book is cut into a round shape, fanned out and then painted orange.

As for the spoon, a hammer and a little elbow grease can turn it into a quaint little napkin ring to dress up the Thanksgiving table. Food is the main theme for the day after all.

Are you looking into getting the kiddos involved in a little Turkey Day crafting, too? There are some cool activities to keep their little hands busy while the turkey finishes cooking. Just a few of the items needed are some glue, a few markers or paint, scissors and paper towel rolls.

Using some patterns that are easy to find on Pinterest or Google you'll soon have a rafter of tiny paper turkeys. (I had no clue what a group of turkeys was called. Who knew it'd be called a rafter)?

While some traditions are time-honored and warm the heart, there is always room for a little growth. There are tons of inexpensive ways to gather the things you already have around the house and turn them into fun and easy new traditions that are very earth friendly.

Kate Garcia is the programs coordinator for the city of Victoria, Environmental Services.

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