Have you ever considered eco friendly Christmas decorations? It’s easier than you may think, and fun too!
With the festive season fast approaching, we can all get a little caught up in the chaos and forget about the environmental impact of our actions. However, with most of us spending more time at home due to a certain pandemic, we have more time to get crafty. In fact, Google Trends Australia shows a spike in searches for crafts around the time of COVID-19 restrictions.
If you’re looking for your next DIY project, you’re in the right place with our guide to eco friendly Christmas decorations.
Photo by Steps to making dried fruit:
- Cut fruit into small slices, about 5mm thick. Discard the ends.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Place the fruit onto lined baking trays, ensuring there is no overlap.
- Cook the fruit for 3.5 hours before turning and placing back in for another 3.5 hours or until dry.
- Once the fruits have cooled, poke a hole for the string and hang on your Christmas tree.
2. Eco friendly wrapping paper.
We all know wasting paper is bad and there is no greater time for paper waste than Christmas; in fact most wrapping paper is not even recycled on the big day. The most eco friendly wrapping paper option is recycled brown paper. While brown paper at first may seem boring and plain, there are so many simple ways to decorate it.
Some of my favourite ways to decorate brown paper are:
- Painting designs on the paper.
- Adding twine and ribbon.
While brown paper is a step up from the shiny Disney-fied Christmas paper found in your local dollar store, it’s not the most eco friendly option. The most eco friendly gift wrapping option is material, as it can be easily reused.
3. Cookie Christmas tree ornaments.
One of the best parts of Christmas is the baking – well for me at least. However, there are only so many gingerbread men a girl can eat.
The best cookies to make are Christmas decoration cookies! You can be super creative with the shapes, colouring and overall design. My personal favourite Christmas cookies ornament recipe is salt dough, it’s cheap and easy to make — plus it’s environmentally friendly.
How to make salt dough Christmas decorations:
- Salt (1 cup)
- Flour (2 cups)
- Water (1 cup)
- Cookie Cutters
- Baking paper
- Drinking straw
Steps to baking salt dough:
- Preheat the oven to 120 degrees celsius and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix the salt, flour and water until it forms a dough.
- Roll the dough out between two sheets of baking paper, until about 75mm thick.
- Using your cutters, cut out your desired shapes. Ensure to add a hole for the twine before baking.
- Bake for around 3 hours, or until the dough is hard.
- Thread the twine through the hole and decorate to your liking.
4. Solar Christmas lights.
Who doesn’t love Christmas lights? For many Australians, driving around the neighbourhood in the family car to see houses decked out in fairy lights, inflatable Santas and glowing reindeers is a fond childhood memory.
Those looking to light up their home this festive season, opt for solar lights where possible. They’ve improved plenty in the last 10 years and are now almost undetectable against their electrical counterparts, plus they keep the electricity bill down.
Where solar is not possible, go for LED lights. LED lights are more environmentally friendly as they require much less wattage than traditional incandescent lighting.
5. Christmas Trees.
Is it more eco friendly to buy an artificial Christmas tree, or cut down a healthy living tree each December? After much office debate and Googling, we’ve found the answer!
In order for a standard artificial tree (one found in Kmart, Myer etc.) to be the more environmentally friendly option, it would have to be used for at least 20 years. While cutting down a tree is never ideal, it’s better for the environment than buying a new fake tree annually. Those worried about the environmental effects of chopping down a christmas tree may find benefit in replanting a new tree each year ready for next Christmas.
It’s 2020; the world has adopted many alternatives to the classic Christmas tree. Many families now opt for wooden trees made out of recycled timber, lights or other repurposed materials.
6. Reusable Bon Bons.
There is nothing better than winning a bon bon prize against your siblings on Christmas day. Then wearing the tissue paper crown with pride around the dinner table — just to flaunt your win for the remainder of the day. However, while this tradition is at the heart of many Australian Christmases, it’s extremely wasteful and bad for the environment.
Alas, we aren’t suggesting you give up the tradition forever. Reusable Christmas crackers have hit the market in the last few years and are quickly becoming a popular choice. They’re not only great for the environment, but they also allow you to add your own prizes each year.
Where getting your hands on reusable bon bons proves difficult, opt for crackers made from recycled material, and, as always, ensure to place the rubbish in your recycling bin.
7. Get a reusable advent calendar.
Advent calendars are the perfect excuse to eat chocolate every day in December, without the guilt. However these calendars are often full of plastics, rendering them non-recyclable.
For those looking to be more eco friendly this holiday season, or to simply have creative control over their advent calendars, it may be worth investing reusable advent calendars.
You can hide all sorts of delightful treats in them including food and small toys, you could even make one up for your pets!
Eco Friendly Christmas Ideas
1. Swap the Christmas card for an email.
While there is nothing more wholesome than writing personalised Christmas cards, they aren’t good for the environment. Where possible, switch out your physical cards for emails. There are plenty of great online tools available which can help you jazz up your emails.
Where stopping Christmas cards altogether is not an option, opt for saving those for special or hard to reach family and friends. Use emails for work colleagues, old friends and distant family members.
2. Avoid throw-away tableware.
Let’s be honest, Christmas is a lot of effort and it’s tempting to use plastic plates, cutlery and dishes to serve meals. While easier than a mountain of washing up, it’s very bad for the environment. Where possible, opt for reusable tableware, including tablecloths and glasses.
If you have to use throw-away tableware, opt for biodegradable products.
3. Give eco friendly gifts.
We all love to give gifts at Christmas time. However, some gifts are simply bad for the environment.
When shopping this year, be conscious of the use, production methods and longevity of your gifts. For children, opt for wooden toys over plastic. For the adults, give gifts like plants, keep-cups and reusable items.
4. Reduce your food waste.
Food is one of the best parts of Christmas, there is no doubt about it. However, we have a tendency to over cook, inevitably causing lots of waste.
This Christmas, try to only cook for the amount of guests you have. When you do over cook, ensure you use or donate the leftovers.
5. Gather decorations from op shops or local small businesses.
Leading up to Christmas, you’ll find your local op shops littered with Christmas decorations, all at a very discounted price. Getting second-hand decorations is the best way to remain eco friendly and have a beautiful Christmas tree in 2020.
BONUS: Party hire companies will often have Christmas decorations and goods. Even if you do need new decorations, see if you can hire them instead. Find your local party hire company on localsearch.com.au.