Sustainable Fall Holiday Decorations

It happens every year. Just as the summer cools down and the stores begin to smell of cinnamon and pumpkin spice we are forced to recognize that a new season is upon us, and that can only mean one thing: it is time to decorate for the holidays. 

In this era of global warming, pandemic shortages, and economic uncertainty, adding more to your collection of seasonal decorations can seem a folly. The good news is that with a little creativity, you can tweak some of what you hauled out for Halloween and make it work for Thanksgiving too. 

Whether you have an attic full of holiday decorations including plastic skeletons that you lovingly prop on your front lawn, or you’re the type of person who buys a faux spider web to drape over the front hedges and call it a day, we’ve got some great ideas for ways you can make the house festive for the next few months by repurposing a few key items. This will save money, time, and reduce needless waste (as well as the need for ample storage!)

Examples of Easy Holiday Decorations to Repurpose

Go for the GourdsGo for the Gourds

Halloween has always gone hand-in-hand with creepy jack o’lanterns. But if you leave a few of your pumpkins uncarved, they will last a lot longer sitting on your front porch. Convert your trick-or-treat tableaux into an autumnal cornucopia with hay bales, corn stalks, and a smattering of decorative gourds and you’re all set for Thanksgiving. The smaller pumpkins can be re-used for centerpiece decorations, or even serving pieces, although you’ll probably want to make sure those are pretty fresh.

Then there are the plastic pumpkins that are everywhere you look these days. They’re not the most eco-conscious item on our list, but if you have even a hint of artistic talent they can be redecorated to go from spooky to classy. Try spray-painting them white and adding gold elements. Another option? Cover them in burlap and add a bow. One Pinterest board suggests spray-painting them gold or silver and then hot-gluing them to the bottom of Dollar Store serving platters. Voilá! Fancy cake dish!  

Light it Up

Sustainable Holiday Decorations - HGTV - Lantern displaysLanterns may seem to have had their day as a decorating fad, but if HGTV is still celebrating them then who are we to argue? In their photo gallery of ideas, they suggest that you fill them with tiny skulls, or spiders, or those little pumpkins you’re planning on turning into a cake dish later on. Then, when you need to shift gears for Thanksgiving, fill them with those same pumpkins you’ve painted white or fill them with pinecones you scavenged from the backyard. As an added bonus if you sprinkle in some greenery, ribbon, and little twinkle lights, they can be a precious Christmas decoration as well. 

And let’s not forget the obvious: candles. If you have lanterns that are designed for their actual purpose (please make sure they’re fire-safe), you can simply switch out colored pillar candles to add just the right mood for the right time of year.

Get Crafty

Sustainable Fall Holiday DecorationsWooden signs propped up by the front door are all the rage in American suburbia. Instead of having one for every occasion, why not make one that is modifiable? Those crafty masters at HGTV repurposed an old window shutter and added wooden letters that could spell out different words for different holidays, like “Boo,” “Gather,” or “Ho Ho Ho!” There is also a trend right now with wooden signs sporting a vintage truck whose bed can be loaded with different holiday decorations.

Plan Ahead

If you decorate for Halloween while keeping Thanksgiving and other holidays in mind you can save a lot of time, money, and effort. White pumpkins for your Halloween decor are going to be much easier to repurpose than the orange ones for Thanksgiving. All it takes is a little creativity (and maybe a little artsy talent) to have fun with your holiday decorations without creating a ton of waste as well.