Updated: Nov 22
We've always had pretty sustainable Christmases in our household. When I was growing up we didn't have much money, so we never bought single-use, disposable things. Everything was reusable, as high quality as we could afford, and looked after and treasured. That included Christmas decorations. Year after year, as a child, I loved unboxing the same beloved decorations, the memories they evoked building more and more every year.
As I've progressed along my eco journey, I've tried to make my family's decorations ever more planet-friendly. No tinsel any more and no glitter, except on ornaments bought years ago and carefully stored each year. Instead, lots of natural materials and handmade decorations for our sustainable festive season.
So what can you do to decorate your home more sustainably this year? I have a few suggestions for you...
Tip #1 - Use what you've already got
You know that phrase: "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle"? Well actually, we can do all three here.
If you'd normally buy new decorations because you're tired of your old ones, you've probably built up quite a store of them. Leave those you're not feeling excited about in the box (reduce) - they might seem more interesting after a year's break. And try using some you feel more positive about (reuse), but switch them up instead. Select only those that fit a particular theme (rustic, Scandi, elegant, modern) or colour scheme (red and green, monochrome, silver and glass). You'll probably find many will fit more than one theme, so you can recycle them each year!
Tip #2 - Buy sustainably
If you're going to buy new decorations, look for ones that use either natural materials (which will eventually biodegrade) or recycled materials (making use of waste). Think baubles made of glass rather than plastic, ornaments that use biodegradable glitter, or decorations made from recycled materials. And if you're buying fairy lights, get the most efficient, low energy lights you can find!
Tip #3 - Shop small
Small businesses can seem more expensive, but their products can often be far better quality than from big name stores, and will last a lot longer. Check out your local Christmas markets to cut down 'decoration miles', or search online for small shops with an eco-friendly ethos. If they're also close by, even better!
Tip #4 - Shop handmade
Handmade products are often made more slowly than mass produced ones, and with a lot more love. Just look at this amazing array of sustainable decorations available on Etsy alone! Hand-painted baubles, hand-knitted Christmas trees, fused glass ornaments, hand-carved wooden decorations, handmade candles... there's an incredible array of options!
(Do check the actual materials used, though, to make sure they're natural, recycled or at the very least reusable.)
Tip #5 - Make your own
There are so many wonderful decorations you can make yourself, from single use (but zero waste) ones like gingerbread tree ornaments to medium term ones like paper snowflakes or dried orange slice garlands, to everlasting ones like rag wreaths or reusable advent calendars. Pinterest is the place to go for this one! Check out my Sustainable Christmas board for ideas.
Personally, I particularly love decorations you can use for occasions all year round too, like my "Bubble Writing" Knit Alphabet and Numbers. I have used the same set of knitted letters to spell "MERRY XMAS", "NOEL" and "JOY & PEACE" and then used put them together in different formations for things like "BOO!", "HAPPY BIRTHDAY", "MR & MRS", and all sorts of different names - and the numbers can be used for birthdates, anniversaries, graduation dates or to welcome in a New Year!
Happy sustainable decorating!
How will you make your Christmas decorations more sustainable this year? Will you be buying, making or just using what you already have? If you're after new, eco-friendly Christmas decorations to buy, or knitting patterns or knit kits to make your own, do check out what's on offer over on my Christmas page at www.wombleknits.com!