My sister posted a link on her Facebook page about a small town in Andalucía that goes green for Christmas. Because anything that has to do with recycled art interests me, I decided to learn more.
El Granado is just near the border with Portugal. To say that it is a small town is quite the understatement. Last year’s census has it at less than 600 people. There may not be many, but they are certainly conscientious about our planet.
For the third year in a row, El Granado citizens have decorated their town for Christmas in a very original and eco-friendly manner. In the center square, the 30-ft tall Christmas tree was made with more than 25,000 bottle caps.
If that wasn't enough, they also created this whimsical nativity scene
This project has been a true collective effort. The citizens of El Granado helped with the gathering, drilling and installation of the caps.
In these days of global financial crisis, this town has given everyone a great example on how to save money while doing it in an environmentally and financially sustainable manner.
In 2009 the Christmas tree chosen was a dead oak. The tree was decorated with old shoes, worn out circular saw blades, empty containers wrapped in aluminum foil, painted pine cones, and many other items. Perhaps because this was the first year the town didn’t choose a conventional Christmas tree, the citizens were very divided. Some loved it, some didn’t.
The nativity scene in 2009 was created out of rebar left over from the construction of the town hall. The rebar was welded into different silhouettes, which were then wrapped with lights.
Even though opinions were very divided, that didn’t stop El Granado, and in 2010 the Christmas tree was made with 580 empty wine bottles. The tree topper was a very large whiskey bottle. It stood over 25 feet high. This tree was so popular that a neighboring town, Villanueva de los Castillejos, asked to borrow it to display in its main square this very Christmas season! A tree made of recycled materials gets recycled itself. Could this be any more perfect?
I am looking forward to seeing what they come up for Christmas 2012! I wish more towns and cities had the initiative to do something similar. With a little bit of ingenuity, it is amazing the beauty that can be created.
My sincere thanks to Maite Barroso, spokesperson for the town of El Granado, for her help and her wonderful photographs.
ps: these guys throw a mean crafts fair! Nicely done!