Among home gardeners, slightly more than 40% reported increased wellbeing and happiness. However, researchers at the universities of Sheffield, Westminster, and Virginia in the UK discovered an even more significant benefit: 52% of UK gardeners in the study reported elevated moods and more robust community ties resulting from their horticultural efforts. Consequently, if you seek a plastic-free holiday, look no further than the nearest plant nursery. Some of your natural holiday decorations will transplant to this spring’s garden. At the same time, other items might feed birds and animals or become compost, mulch, or soil amendments instead of filling landfills or polluting waterways.
Instead of an artificial tree, buy a live one. Even the cut trees damage the environment less than artificial ones when you discard them. In addition, most communities collect live trees after the winter holiday season, mulch them, and allow residents to take as much free mulch as they can fit into the trunks of cars or beds of pickup trucks. This is a double win for the community. Finally, coastal communities toss discarded holiday trees into local waterways to form artificial reefs for breeding fish and shrimp populations.
However, buy a tree with a root ball, and you have the satisfaction of adding a new tree to your yard or garden. Whether you buy a tabletop tree and watch it grow to maturity or purchase a mature tree that will provide homes for birds and animals and decrease your home’s heating and cooling costs, you’ve made a wise decision that shows your respect for the environment.
Although poinsettias and Christmas cacti hold center stage during the holidays, amaryllis and tulip bulbs from your local plant nursery make excellent table decorations and last-minute gifts. In addition, these plants will thrive in your garden after the holidays with the proper care, especially if when you plant them in window boxes or patio planters.
Spray twigs silver or gold to display in a clear vase filled with potpourri makes a dramatic centerpiece for your holiday table. Surround it with flocked pinecones, dried lotus heads, and bundles of cinnamon sticks tied with gingham ribbons for a rustic holiday table. Go formal: tie gold or silver bows on a pile of white birch kindling below your mantel. Fill citrus halves with peanut butter and birdseed to hang in your front yard.