Explore some ideas for holiday decorations that are friendly to wildlife to help ensure your holiday decor is considerate of nature and the animals we share our environment with.

Click here to download a printable PDF version of these outdoor decorating tips.

Wildlife-friendly decoration ideas

conifer1Decorate potted conifers, cut trees, or ornamental planters rather than trees in the forest.

conifer1Use natural or biodegradable materials like wood, twine, cork, fabric, stone, and paper.

reuseRecycle and upcycle! Reimagine existing items to reduce waste.

fabricUse scrap fabric to create unique and fun ornaments to hang on the tree.

Additional ideas
  • Create biodegradable garland from untreated wooden beads or dried flowers and leaves.
  • Make a simple dough out of flour, water, and salt. Cut out fun shapes and bake.
  • Utilize seashells and twine to create fun snowmen.
  • Use twigs, driftwood, and paint to create unique shapes and designs.

Best management practices for outdoor decorating on your property

Find answers to common questions about outdoor holiday decorating.
Is the holiday décor edible by humans or pets? 

Consuming human food can make wildlife and dogs sick. Food attractants can also lead to human-wildlife conflicts.

Best practice: Avoid using any food products, including nuts, seeds, dried fruits, dog treats, and wrapped candies.
Could the holiday décor entangle wildlife?

Ribbon, nets, fake snow, and strings of lights may entangle wildlife. This can cause wildlife injury or trap them, so they are unable to escape prey.

Best practice: Avoid using fake snow that could trap birds or bats. Hang strings of light more than 10ft above the ground to avoid trapping deer antlers. Hang single strings of ribbon or lights to avoid entangling wildlife.
Does the holiday décor include invasive species? 

English holly and English ivy are beautiful plants, but when they escape our gardens they can establish in and take over natural areas.

Best practice: Avoid using any invasive species, such as holly, in your outdoor holiday décor.
Does the material fragment or shed microplastics?

Plastic materials, particularly balloons, tinsel, Styrofoam, and glitter can deposit tiny pieces of plastic into the environment that persist for long periods of time and enter soils and streams. Plastic baubles can also shatter during freezing temperatures and fragment into sharp pieces that can injure wildlife. Wildlife may also mistake microplastics as food.

Best practice: Avoid using materials that fragment or shed microplastics. Instead, opt for sturdier materials like wood, stone, or thick plastic.
Does the décor produce light or noise? 

Bright lights and sounds in natural areas at night may disturb feeding, sleeping, and other behavioural wildlife patterns.

Best practice: Avoid installing bright lights or playing loud sounds near natural areas that are otherwise dark and quiet at nighttime. Instead, install lights and sound displays in areas already lit by streetlights.
Does the holiday décor occupy a sensitive habitat? 

Plugging up cavities or holes in trees with decorations may restrict wildlife from sleeping or finding shelter here.

Best practice: Install holiday décor away from bird nests, animal dens, or holes or cavities in trees that may otherwise be used by wildlife.