Christmas can be a time of indulgence and over-consumption but just because the shops are full of plastic tinsel, baubles and superfluous packaging, doesn’t mean that we have to lose our eco-friendly values in order to get in the Christmas spirit. Our homes, gifts and family meals can still be full of festive cheer while also remaining single-use plastic free. Read on to discover our favourite eco-friendly Christmas decorations so that you can create a conscious Christmas at home.
Dried Orange and Cinnamon Garlands
Dried orange and cinnamon garlands are a great way to fill your home with the spiced scent of Christmas, while also being an eco-friendly decoration that can be used to adorn your room or Christmas tree.
You’ll need to dry out the oranges by slicing them into 1/2cm circles and putting them in a low oven (around 60-100 degrees) until they dry out. This can take a few hours but if you put them on a wire rack – meaning they dry out evenly all round – then you can just leave them until they’re done! If you’re slow-roasting winter meals then you can do two things at once by placing the oranges at the bottom of the oven and your food up top.
If you want to hang or thread the oranges, then you’ll want to use a chopstick or skewer to put some holes in the top before drying.
Once the oranges are ready, you can use twine, string or ribbon to thread the orange slices and cinnamon sticks together, alternating each one to create an eye-catching garland. Alternatively, you can add single loops to the slices or sticks to make individual hanging decorations for the tree.
Gingerbread Houses and Hanging Decorations
Another eco-friendly Christmas decoration that you can make yourself is gingerbread. Not only do gingerbread men and houses make lovely decorations for your home but it can be a great activity to enjoy with your children or grandkids when they break up from school!
BBC Good Food has some fantastic gingerbread recipes such as gingerbread Christmas jumpers, gingerbread penguins and even a gingerbread wreath. These are perfect for hanging on the tree, using as table favours or for giving as gifts, and as they can be devoured afterwards, they are totally zero waste!
Making paper snowflakes will probably take you back to your school days when your teacher tried to keep you occupied with Christmassy activities in the lead up to the school break! This is because they are easy to make, take very little equipment and mean that everyone can use their own creative flair to make snowflakes that are different every time.
Whether you opt for standard paper snowflakes or up your game and try your hand at 3D paper snowflakes, you’re sure to end up with some fun, festive decorations that you can stick on the window or hang on the tree.
Once you’re finished with your snowflakes, they can easily be recycled meaning they are both economical and environmentally-friendly!
Wreaths are one of the most famous Christmas decorations but many that are sold in shops are artificial and therefore lack the lovely outdoor aroma that makes them so festive. Instead of purchasing a plastic wreath, why not make your own from foraged materials from around your area?
Wreaths can be made from any type of foliage but in general, greenery such as pine, cypress, holly and ivy work well. You can then add different textures and colours in the form of pine cones, berries, feathers and mistletoe, or use some of your cinnamon sticks and dried oranges from earlier!
You’ll need a metal, wooden or willow ring as a base, as well as some wire/twine, scissors and/or secateurs and perhaps a ribbon for hanging it once you’re done. There are loads of online tutorials on how to make a foraged wreath, but at the end of the day, you can let your creativity run wild and add as many or as little adornments as you wish.
Glass Or Wooden Baubles
Most of us like to add baubles to our Christmas trees, but instead of choosing plastic baubles and tinsel, why not opt for glass or wooden decorations this year instead? These decorations can be just as beautiful and ornate but without the waste.
It can be wonderful to consciously choose the theme of your Christmas tree decorations and the finished product will feel all the sweeter and more satisfying if you know it’s both sustainable and recyclable afterwards!
Reusable Napkins And Table Settings
Another part of the home that many of us like to embellish at Christmas is the table where we will enjoy a hearty, family meal together. While this is usually filled with table runners and Christmas crackers (often filled with plastic tat), it doesn’t mean that we can’t change the story of a lifetime and switch to more eco-friendly decorations instead.
Instead of buying crackers, printed paper napkins, artificial snow and plastic LED candles, choose to go green with your decorations and make simple place settings with organic cotton napkins, twine, sprigs of pine, sticks of cinnamon or wooden stars or snowflakes. You can also make mini wreaths as table centrepieces to stand around a soy or beeswax candle (better for the environment than paraffin candles). This will still give the table an impressive aesthetic appeal, but without using plastic or single-use materials.
Our last eco-friendly Christmas decoration tip is to use LED lights on your tree instead of incandescent bulbs. LEDs are thought to use up to 80% less energy than traditional Christmas lights, which, when you think about how much your lights are on over the festive period, will make a huge difference to both your energy bill and the environment!
So, there you have it, our top tips on how to make your home both festive and eco-friendly this Christmas season! Let us know if you try out these decorations yourself and which are your favourites!