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Handmade holiday decorations are leaps and bounds better than purchased items for a lot of reasons. Making them is an opportunity for memory-making time with family and friends. They're completely unique. And, they're far easier on the environment.

With the ideas from this article, you can make beautiful holiday decorations with items found in the recycle bin, the kitchen or the scrap drawer. And a great highlight is that with most of them, you can put them right back in the recycle bin or the composter at the end of the holidays, increasing the amount of storage space you have during the year.

1.Plastic Water Bottles Put water bottle waste to use as faux glass ornaments. Cutting up and restructuring water bottles into different star shapes will give you beautifully reflective ornaments for trees, mantles and doorways. By using plastic that would otherwise require a lot of energy to be recycled, you're lightening the environmental load of plastic while creating one-of-a-kind decorations that will last forever. Check out these lovely ideas from Esprit Cabane for inspiration.

2.Soda Cans Viva Terra features an eco-savvy decoration idea that can be copied easily at home. You just need to save a few soda cans and bottle caps, and along with some wire, glue and sturdy scissors or metal cutters, you can craft up these cute angels in no time. Let you imagination loose, using different colored cans for wings and dresses, and try different shapes and sizes of angels. Of course, be careful about sharp edges.

3.Wheat The clever ideas presented at Gingerbread Snowflakes will have you spending part of your crafting time just narrowing down all the possibilities of what you can make with wheat weaving. Check out Wikipedia for everything you need to know about wheat weaving, then decide if you want to make an angel, star, snowflake, or anything else you can dream up.

4.Oranges The holidays don't seem complete without oranges. Their citrus smell combined with spices like cinnamon and cloves harkens up images of warm fireplaces, cider, and family laughter. You can make oranges a centerpiece of warm candlelit rooms by turning them into candle holders. All you need are oranges, cloves, a knife and candle. Simple how-to instructions can be found at Care2. To make your decoration extra green, use soy candles and organic oranges.

5.Pinecones Pinecones are the ubiquitous holiday decoration and they've been turned into everything from mini Christmas trees to reindeer to ornaments. This year, how about making them into place holders? Going on a pinecone gathering trip is great family fun, and choosing just the right size and shape pinecone for your table and party theme is a big part of the enjoyment. Using recycled paper for the name tags and a bit of ribbon from the scrap drawer, you can make simple and festive place settings.

6.Marshmallows White, fluffy, and sugary sweet, marshmallows encompass the holiday spirit. And a great feature about marshmallows is they are great for making menorahs, snowmen, polar bears, and other festive holiday decorations. With just toothpicks and some creative uses of other kitchen pantry items, you can have a whole winter wonderland of marshmallow figures that can be gobbled up at the end of the night.

7.Scrap Felt Making a (Kufi for Kwanzaa) out of scrap felt is a great activity to do with the kids. The only items needed are black, red and green felt, scissors, and a stapler or needle and thread. In as little as an hour—or as long as you'd like to draw out family time—you can create traditional headware for Kwanzaa festivities. Felt can also be used to make cute dreidels, and little gift stockings among many other ideas.

8.More Citrus Fruis Using dried citrus slices can come in handy for all sorts of compostable holiday decorations. From ornaments to gift toppers, from table decorations to wreaths, the options for creating a classic look with green thinking are limited only to your imagination. Use various fruits, including blood oranges, navel oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and other unique options to add variety and pizzazz. At the end of the holidays, you can put them right in the composter! 9.Popcorn Popcorn garlands are a traditional favorite for decorating trees, mantles, doorways and anything you can really think of. Pick up some organic popping corn and maybe a few other festive items like cranberries, nut shells, or tiny pinecones and create beautiful garland for your home. This is another decoration that is fun to make and easy to dispose of in the compost pile after the holidays are through. 10.Greeting Cards Some greeting cards you'll want to keep forever, but let's be honest—most will end up in the recycle bin. How about sorting through them as they arrive and using the not-so-special cards as fodder for making paper ornaments. By twisting and gluing strips of cards and envelopes, you can make some amazingly beautiful paper ornaments for trees, windows, wreaths and doorways. To green up your holiday decorations even further, go for solar powered LED lights, and avoid bringing new decorations into your collection that use plastics, toxic paints, or unsustainable woods.