Dreaming of a green Christmas
Beautiful Christmas decorations don't have to cost the earth - here are 5 great ideas for decorating your house the eco-friendly way this Christmas.
1. Make your own decorations
Not only will making your own sustainable Christmas decorations save you money and save on unnecessary plastic, it'll also be a fun memory to look back on in years to come, especially if you have children who can join in. A woodland walk is a great place to start - fallen pine cones can be dipped in gold or silver paint to make natural baubles, and foraged foliage from pine trees and holly buses can be combined to make a DIY wreath.
If you have time to learn a new skill, old paper bags, magazine pages or even maps can become cool origami stars to hang from your tree. Or, save up jars in the weeks leading up to to Christmas, pop a tea light inside and decorate it with a festive ribbon and a sprig of foraged greenery - this could also make a lovely gift.
2. Decorate your space with plants
Plants are always a good addition to any room, not least for their oxygenating properties and calming presence. Christmas is no exception. Spruce up your space with a seasonal plant such as a classic Poinsettia, pretty cyclamen or a mini potted Christmas tree. Not only are they beautiful living decorations, if properly looked after they'll last long after the festivities have ended.
Foraged foliage also looks particularly beautiful in homes at this time of year. Make a garland of pine, ivy and eucalyptus and secure it to a length of wire with string. This can be draped around mirrors, picture frames and banisters for a stunning effect.
3. Reusable dinner table settings
Christmas dinner has to be the highlight of the big day, however it can also be one of the most wasteful parts of the day, with paper napkins thrown in the bin and disposable crackers discarded once they've been pulled.
It's easy to replace these with reusable, more environmentally-friendly alternatives, and you can have fun in the process. Purchase some linen napkins that you can wash and use year after year, or if you're handy with a sewing machine you could make your own from unwanted linen clothes. If you have the same Christmas guests every year, you could even embroider them so that everyone has their own monogrammed linen napkin. Many shops also sell reusable crackers, and it's simple to make your own using festive fabric, cardboard and trinkets of your choice.
4. Zero waste décor
If you're on a budget and running out of décor ideas, look no further than your kitchen. There are plenty of things you can make with household food items, and if you already have them lying around, it means even less waste.
Dried orange slices are a popular DIY Christmas decoration, and it's easy to see why. Thinly slice the orange and bake the slices in the oven for around 45 minutes or until they are completely dried out. Once cool, you can thread them onto a string along with cinnamon sticks for a beautifully scented and colourful decoration. Salt dough is also a great low-waste and low-cost option, and great fun for children. Combine a cup of plain flour, half a cup of salt and half a cup of water. Mix, roll out the dough and then create shapes with cookie cutters or by hand. Poke a hole through for some string, bake until hard, and voilà! Fun decorations to paint however you like.
5. Wrapping paper
Amid the scramble to open Christmas presents there's usually a mounting pile of scrunched up wrapping paper - and unfortunately a lot of it isn't recyclable.
Save money on wrapping paper and spare a thought for the environment by wrapping gifts with things you have lying around at home. Brown paper bags, newspapers and old maps can be really quite stylish when used as wrapping paper, especially if you tie them up with some Christmassy string (the prettier it is, the more likely you'll be to keep and reuse it) and embellish with a foraged sprig. Or you could try the Japanese art of furoshiki - wrapping gifts using a square piece of fabric which is then tied in a knot. Beautiful and waste-free, there are plenty of online tutorials to get you started.