Ditch the plastic tinsel and opt for these eco-friendly Christmas decorations this year
10 eco-friendly Christmas decorations you’ll want on your tree
Before you head out to the shops to buy bags of shiny tinsel and plastic gold bells, consider these ideas for eco-friendly Christmas decorations you can make at home.
Dried citrus wheels
When slices of lemon, lime or orange are dried in the oven they intensify in colour and adopt a ‘stained glass’ look. String them in a garland or attach loops of twine and hang them individually on the tree, they will add colour and provide a beautiful smell. Add cinnamon quills to the garland or decorations for an extra fragrant tree.
Cut your choice of citrus into thin, even slices and lay out on a baking paper covered tray.
Place in a 100-degree Celcius oven for two hours, take out and flip slices over, and place in oven for another two hours, or until the slices are entirely dried.
Remove from oven and allow them to cool before making them into decorations.
If you have a stack of Polaroid photos lying around and nowhere to put them, clip them to your Christmas tree with little wooden pegs. And if you have a spare pack of film, this is a great excuse to take a Christmas inspired photo shoot of the family to add to the tree.
Treasures from the beach or bush
Take a trip down to the nearest beach for a treasure hunting trip. Shells, feathers and bits of driftwood can be painted, glued and arranged into nautical-inspired Christmas decorations.
Create star decorations out of driftwood by hot-gluing them into the desired shape. Use white or gold paint (maybe even a sprinkling of glitter), whatever you have lying around the house, to help them stand out on the tree.
Hot glue a loop of twine to the back of a shell to make it into delicate decoration to hang on the tree. Or, create a shell garland by carefully drilling a small hole through the shell and threading them onto a length of twine (you’ll need to tie knots either side of the shell to stop it moving on the twine).
Feathers or pinecones:
As with shells, feathers and pinecones can look great just hanging as individual decorations. Alternatively, you can add them to a shell garland. Dab a little bit of white or gold paint to the tip of the pinecone to make it feel a bit more festive.
Instead of throwing out sheets of paper or newsprint, save them up, paint them and use them to create paper decorations for your tree.
Grab a piece of paper and fold it into zig zags. Fan the paper out into a circle shape and join the ends together with a few staples. Hot glue a loop of twine to the back of the star and them on the tree. Alternatively, you can hot glue the stars to a length of twine and make a colourful garland out of them.
These are the perfect addition to a ‘Winter Wonderland’ themed tree. Take your square piece of paper and fold it in half diagonally to make a triangle. Next, fold the triangle in half again so the pointy corners meet (you should now have a thinner triangle). Fold it for a third time and cut across the bottom of the triangle in a curved line. Cut little triangles and curved shapes along all three sides of the folded triangle and then unfold it gently. Attach a loop of twine to the back of the snowflake to turn it into a decoration.
If you have enough patience to sit down and delicately fold pieces of paper into swans, butterflies, fish or maybe even a dinosaur, these intricate decorations can add whimsy and interest to your tree. Take them to the next level by painting details onto the origami creatures after you’ve finished folding them.
Don’t think of the cut-out doll shaped paper chains (although if you wanted to paint each one as a Christmas elf, that could be a cute idea), instead take the same method (folding a piece of paper in a tight fan and then cutting a shape out) to create a Christmas themed paper chain. Think gingerbread men, stars or angels.
If you have a garden blooming with bright flowers, these will make the prettiest decorations for your tree. Make sure you have some small water vials to place the flower stems in so they stay alive for as long as possible, and attach them to the tree using florists wire.
Words by: Bea Taylor