As well as being the season to feast on chocolate and munch through a mountain of mince pies, Christmas is also a lovely excuse to get creative by making decorations around the home.
We’ve rounded up some DIY ideas for a plastic-free, eco-friendly festive season.
Make Your Own Christmas Tree Decorations
Citrus fruits including oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit are great for Christmas ornaments, says Deemer Cass, a decorations expert at Christmas tree delivery company Fantastic Services.
Cut them in about half an inch thick and stick them in the oven to make your own dried-fruit ornaments. Let them cool completely before you make a hole at the top, then loop through twine or ribbon so you can hang them over your tree. “You can also use dried-fruits to make garlands,” adds Cass.
If you don’t have time to make decorations, forego plastic and opt for eco-friendly alternatives, like log slices or baubles made from papier mâché.
Get Creative With Salt Dough
Salt dough is easily made with ingredients in your cupboard – one cup of flour, half a cup of salt, and half a cup of water. Mix together, shape it, then bake it until solid (this can take a few hours, find more detailed instructions here).
You can make different shapes, too – use a cookie cutter to create a Christmas tree, gingerbread man, or star-shaped decorations, or hand twist them into more elaborate shapes such wreaths to decorate the dinner table.
Once decorated, you can use keep for next year too, as it tends to keep well.
Make A Wreath And Centre Piece From Natural Materials
When you’re raking up your autumn leaves, save a few, place them between two sheets of paper and pile some heavy books on top of them or a week or so to press them, advises Wyevale Garden Centre.
“Once they’re dried and flat, spray them silver or gold. They’ll look fabulous in a bowl or scattered across a table as decorations.”
To add a rustic touch to the table, try writing the names of guests in gold or silver pen on leaves to act as place names on Christmas Day (see Pinterest for more inspiration here). Or, cut sprays of holly leaves with bright red berries and arrange them on their own in a vase to give a festive touch.
Deemer Cass recommends creating a wreath from pine cones, which you could collect and glue together – decorate them with biodegradable glitter and add berries to finish it off.
Or, opt for a table centrepiece by putting together using jars from the kitchen decorated with spare greenery and berries.
[Read More: How to make a gorgeous Christmas wreath]
Decorate Your Own Wrapping Paper
There’s a chance your wrapping paper could contain plastic for durability, which means it can’t be recycled and could stick around on the planet for a long time.
If you’re going to use traditional wrapping paper, opt for uncoated papers made from recycled materials. Try Recycle Now’s wrapping paper test – “if it scrunches, it can be recycled”.
For a retro look, try brown wrapping paper (as long as it’s not plastic-lined) or even old-fashioned newspaper tied with string. Jazz it up by decorating it with reusable ink stamps or paint.
There’s also a recent trend (called ‘Furoshiki’) for using reusable fabric – a traditional Japanese style of wrapping presents, which includes tying a beautiful piece of cloth around a gift. They’re widely available online.