Deck the Halls

Why a Rented Holiday Is the Greenest Holiday

A local startup serves yuletide sustainability through short-term decorations.

By Karin Vandraiss December 2, 2020

Sofia Drogomiretskiy and Stan Mykhaylenko think of their company as a part of the sharing economy, like Airbnb or Rent the Runway.

Like many in their Ukranian community, Sofia Drogomiretskiy and Stan Mykhaylenko are infatuated with Christmas—we’re talking year-round visions of sugarplums. On their first holiday as a married couple, they transformed their Bothell townhome into a winter wonderland with an all-white palette. But come January, after filling half their garage with storage boxes (and adding up how much they’d spent) the couple wished they could have just rented it all.

“We’d run out our holiday budget for the next five years on decorations, and realized we were going to be stuck with a “white Christmas” theme for the foreseeable future,” says Drogomiretskiy.

But apart from a handful of private decorators and the odd 25-foot inflatable Santa, holiday rentals in the greater Seattle area are scarce. Entrepreneurial by nature, Drogomiretskiy and Mykhaylenko founded Decorent, a centralized online shop for high-quality rental decorations backed by an ethos of sustainability. The service is now in its second season, but the couple spent years developing their great idea.

Decorent rentals project a modern European look—not American kitsch.

For the couple, who walk wherever possible and bring refillable jars to the grocery store, buying new decorations every time they had a new aesthetic inclination didn’t sit well, even if budget did allow. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, household waste in the U.S. increases more than 25 percent—single-season decorations are among the major culprits. “We have so much more information and capability to do better. And if we can, we should,” says Drogomiretskiy.

The couple spent 2016 to 2019 traveling, from China to Germany to Peru, in search of ethically and sustainably made handcrafted decorations, the kind you might pass down from one generation to the next. By 2018 they still hadn’t found the right suppliers and weren't sure they could. Then they discovered Christmasworld, a weeklong international trade fair in Frankfurt where the pair hopped shuttles between sprawling exhibits with themes like Ribbons and Wrapping, Ornaments, etc.—they were the first to arrive and last to leave each day.

The company's glass ornaments are handmade.

They spent the next year figuring out the logistics of eco-friendly storage, packaging, and delivery. Decorent’s system is green in many ways, from fuel-efficient, pre-planned delivery routes (much better than a million trips to a personal storage unit), to burlap and cloth bags as packaging, and high-quality decorations that last for years, rather than a single season.

Today, customers can rent decorations for a full tree, partial to complement sentimental pieces, or enough stand-alone decor to fill an entire home, if this is the year to indulge a full-fledged Pinterest vision. The best part? After the holiday, the couple whisk the tchotchkes away, wiping your design slate clean for next year.

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