• Are you tired of the consumerism and waste of the festive season and hoping to have a more sustainable Christmas this year? Here are some great options for eco-friendly decor that will still make your home feel festive.

    Just remember, an important aspect of sustainability is reusing what you’ve already got, not replacing it with ‘more eco-friendly’ options. The most eco-friendly thing that you can do is only purchase what is really necessary, and rather try and be as creative as possible with whatever’s in your house.

    Salt dough ornaments

    Lifesummerlin Via Shutterstock

    Salt dough ornaments look great and they are a super fun craft for kids to participate in. Salt dough ornaments are completely biodegradable, and as such it’s probably best to only put them up indoors. Want to give them a try? We’ve found this great recipe for making salt dough decorations at home.

    Origami garlands

    origami star
    Valentin Petkov Via Unsplash

    By making a bunch of origami stars out of recycled paper and stringing them together, you can make a lovely garland that can be strung up anywhere in your house to create a festive atmosphere. Alternatively, origami stars (and other origami shapes!) made with recycled paper make for lovely, eco-friendly ornaments to decorate your Christmas tree.

    DIY table decorations

    DIY centrepiece
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    If you have empty wine bottles, or other glass bottles, that you haven’t recycled yet, they could be perfect for this year’s table decorations! Simply fill them with some greenery from the garden and display them in your home. Alternatively, place a candle into the neck of a bottle for another lovely table centrepiece option.

    Dried orange slices

    Cassidy Dickens Via Unsplash

    Dried orange slices are vibrant, beautiful and smell great! They can be strung together to create a garland to hang somewhere in your house, used to dress up your Christmas gifts, or even hung from string and used as ornaments for the Christmas tree. The best part is, they are so easy to make at home.

    Natural ornaments

    Joey Banks Via Unsplash

    Just like dried orange slices, other natural materials can be used to make Christmas ornaments. Do you have some leftover pinecones that you collected this past winter? Try stringing them up on your Christmas tree. Alternatively, bunches of dried herbs and flowers can make for lovely bits of decor around the house.

    Paper stars or snowflakes

    Oksana Slepko Via Shutterstock

    Technically snowflakes are not really indicative of Christmas in South Africa, but cutting snowflakes out of recycled paper is a fun festive craft that makes for lovely looking decorations. If you don’t want a summer holiday to include snowflakes, you could make stars instead! And if you have leftover brown paper bags that you don’t know what to do with, recycle them by making these gorgeous paper bag stars.

    Make your own wreaths

    Mel Poole Via Unsplash

    A fresh wreath made with natural materials is so much better for the environment than ones from the shop that are full of plastics and glitter, which are harmful towards birds and animals. A DIY wreath is fully customisable and will look amazing decorating your front door.

    Other ways to have an eco-friendly Christmas

    Wrap gifts in recycled material or paper

    A lot of Christmas wrapping papers have elements like glitter or foil on them, which prevent them from being recyclable. Instead, try using recycled paper or squares of material to dress up your gifts. Tie them up with string and eco-friendly ornaments to make them more festive. Not only will these gifts have a gorgeous, rustic feel, but they will also cut down on the mountains of paper that are used and discarded with Christmas presents each year.

    DIY Christmas crackers

    Did you know that it’s super easy to make your own Christmas crackers at home? Using recycled materials like the inside of a toilet roll and recycled paper, homemade Christmas crackers are a great way to cut down on paper and plastic waste. When making them at home, you can put whatever you like into the crackers and, therefore, do away with those little plastic toys and paper crowns that just end up in the bin at the end of the day.

    Use a reusable advent calendar

    There are loads of beautiful reusable advent calendars that you can buy that will last you years, and there are also plenty of ways to DIY your own reusable calendar. One of the best parts of a reusable advent calendar is the fact that you are totally in control of its contents. Stuck on ideas on how to fill it? Check out our article on great ways to fill up an advent calendar.

    Be mindful of food waste

    A huge aspect of the Christmas season is food, and with that often comes large amounts of food waste. If you are trying to have a more sustainable Christmas this year, be weary of over-catering and try to buy only as much food as you need. We know this is hard, thats okay! Whatever leftovers  you do have, make sure to use them up in other dishes or donate them to people in need – and don’t forget to compost all of your kitchen scraps.

    Shop local for gifts

    Not only does shopping local mean that you are supporting local entrepreneurs and communities, but it also means that you are not contributing towards the negative environmental impacts created by importing and exporting, as well as mass-production. Try challenging your family to only exchange locally-sourced gifts this year!

    Did you like any of these ideas? Follow us @foodandhomesa on Instagram for more!

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    Featured Image: Annie Spratt via Unsplash