Updated: Apr 3
The festive season can be a magical time of year but it can also come at a cost to the planet. If you’re looking to reduce your waste this Christmas then this is the blog for you. Not sure why you would need to reduce your waste this Christmas?
Check out these festive waste facts:
Christmas Waste Facts
• In the US 25% more trash is thrown away between the period of Thanksgiving and New Year. That equates to an extra 1 million tons per week!
• Every year Americans discard $11 billion of packing materials
• Americans throw away 15 million Christmas trees every year
The good news is there are lots of simple changes you can make this year to help reduce your personal Christmas waste. Today we’re going to focus on Christmas décor.
Most store bought Christmas decorations are made from plastics which cannot be recycled. They may last for a few years, but when they come to the end of their life the majority end up in landfill. A much better alternative is to make your own DIY Christmas decorations using natural materials.
Below are some DIY holiday décor ideas for you to try:
Dried Orange Garland
Creating your own dried orange garland is a simple, but effective way to decorate your home. It’s also a lovely activity to do together as a family.
What You’ll Need:
• 3 large oranges
• Baking tray
• Reusable baking mat or parchment paper
1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F
2. Slice oranges thinly (roughly ½ inch thick)
3. Place the reusable baking mat or parchment paper on the tray and spread out the cut orange slices on top
4. Bake for around 2 ½ hours. Flip the slices after 1 ½ hours to ensure they cook evenly. Check the oranges often to ensure they’re not burning. If any are turning brown remove them from the oven.
5. Once slices have cooled use the scissors to poke a small hole into each slice so you can thread your twine though.
You can hang your orange garland anywhere in your home and the best thing is it brings in a sweet warm energy and aroma to your home as well.
Other natural garland ideas that you may wish to try include pine cone garlands, popcorn garlands, eucalyptus garlands and cranberry garlands. All of these involve threading the twine through the items or tying them into the twine to create beautiful decorations you can hang. After Christmas you can either save them for next year, or if they're made using perishables, compost them which means no waste!
Rosemary & Lavender Wreath
If you grow rosemary in your garden you can use some cuttings to create small wreaths to place around your home. Not only do they look great but they smell lovely too. Making wreaths from rosemary dates back as far as 500 B.C. where the Romans and Greeks made wreaths from twigs, tree leaves and herbs to wear as headdresses. These wreaths represented a person’s rank, occupation and status in life.
Top Tip: It’s better to make the wreath using fresh rosemary rather than dried as the fresh rosemary will dry into the shape of the wreath.
The instructions below are for you to make your own wreath using a wire wreath frame which can be reused every year. Alternatively you may wish to make a wreath from scratch using twigs from your garden or clippings from a pine or fur tree.
What You’ll Need:
• Wire wreath frame or make your own wreath from twigs in the garden
• Fresh rosemary stems (enough to make your wreath) we recommend 3 or 4 stems for small wreaths, 8 stems for larger wreaths
• A few sprigs of lavender or any other herbs/berries, or flowers you have including sage, eucalyptus or thyme.
• Gardening shears
• Florist wire or twine
1. Tie the first rosemary stem to the wreath frame using the florist wire or twine
2. The second stem needs to overlay the first and tie that down. Repeat the process all around the wreath until it’s completely covered.
3. Once the wreath is fully covered you can then add in your lavender sprigs wherever you want to. Again you need to tie them down with the florist wire or twine.
4. Once completed use a final bit of twine to hang your new wreath.
Foraged Mantle Decoration
A simple and zero waste way to decorate your mantle is to use foraged garden or woodland items such as fern leaves, pine cones, holly and twigs. Go for a walk in nature and gather everything you need. Try to only get items that have already fallen rather than taken from the plants or trees themselves unless it's in your own garden.
Once you have everything you need you simply need to arrange them in a way that looks good on your mantle. When the festive period is over everything can be returned to nature to rot down.
Top Tip: Invest in a florist block or two to help keep your foraged goods in place. If you’re careful with it you can reuse it for many years to come. You can water the blocks to keep everything looking fresher for longer too.
These are just a few ideas for some amazing Christmas zero waste décor ideas. There are so many more creative ideas you can create with a little imagination and creativity. If you need some extra inspiration you can find lots of other amazing ideas for zero waste Christmas décor by doing a simple search on Pinterest or the internet. Many Green Blessings of holiday cheer and happy creating!