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12 Days of Wild: A Green Christmas - 4 Sustainable Christmas Crafts for Your Home

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Megan shares easy eco-friendly and upcycling craft ideas you can try to decorate your home this Christmas season. 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and festive decorations are the best way to brighten up your home for the holiday season. Unfortunately, according to the Environment Agency, 30% more waste is generated during Christmas than throughout the year. In 2021, 12,500 tonnes of Christmas decorations were discarded in landfills in the UK.

The good news, however, is that there are many eco-friendly ways you can decorate your home this Christmas. It is all about using what you already have, from scraps of Christmas wrappers to anything you find in your home. Set up your little crafting workshop and prepare to get your hands dirty. Here are 4 easy sustainable Christmas crafts you can create and upcycle over the Christmas break and enjoy year after year. 

Upcycling Baubles

Dug up some old baubles that seem a little worse for wear? Fear not, they don’t need to be thrown away. Scraps of fabric and paper can work wonders, giving them a fresh, new look.

Upcycled Christmas baubles. Image credits: Heidi on Flikr (left) and Ksenia Ya on Unsplash (right).

Cut up your fabric or paper into small pieces of different shapes and sizes. The more variety of patterns and textures, the more colourful and abstract your bauble will become. Coat the scraps with PVA glue and stick them overlapping onto the bauble. Leave it to dry overnight. By morning, the glue should dry clear and you’ll get a beautiful upcycled bauble! For a more detailed tutorial, check out this article by Gathered

Another way to upcycle your old Christmas ornaments is to paint them over with a fresh coat of acrylic paint or nail varnish. Add some drawings or designs with markers, wherever your creativity leads you. 

Paper Garlands and Buntings

Every year, approximately 227,000 miles of Christmas wrapping paper waste is produced in the UK, most of which goes unrecycled. To put this into perspective, that’s roughly equivalent to the average distance from the Earth to the Moon. 

One sure way to reuse Christmas wrapping paper is to get crafty with them and create some paper origami garlands or buntings. Cut the wrapping paper into squares and you can begin folding them into any shape you desire. There are tons of resources available online showing step-by-step instructions on how to fold different origami shapes. You can also follow this simple tutorial on folding origami stars by Homemade Gifts

Once you’ve folded several origami shapes, cut a small hole at the top and thread a string through them. And just like that, you now have a handmade garland or bunting to decorate your home!

Origami stars. Image credit: PaperMadeJoy on Flickr.

For a simpler paper craft, this article by Minted provides instructions for creating a modern paper tree garland design. Simply cut the paper into triangle shapes with a slit at the top, allowing them to interlock with another triangle. This is the perfect activity for involving younger children too. With a little creativity, you can transform it into tree-mendous works of art!

Toilet Roll Tube Snowflakes

Save your empty toilet roll tubes; they could come in useful for creating charming snowflakes as a tree topper or ornaments. Fold the tubes down and cut them on the short side and glue the strips together. You can keep the design of the snowflake as simple as you like or make it more elaborate by adding on more cardboard pieces. This guide by Veraviglie walks you through step-by-step on making this eco-friendly Christmas decoration. 

A toilet roll tube snowflake tree topper. Image credit: Ann Martin on Flickr.

Foliage Wreath

Add some greenery into your home with a handmade natural foliage wreath. Collecting various leaves, branches, and pinecones from your backyard or nearby parks can turn into a fun outdoor activity for the family. Arrange and secure them with some twine or wire. Follow this video guide by Gathered on how to assemble your wreath securely. 

To add a festive touch, consider tying small ornaments or a ribbon around the wreath. If you’re wanting an additional aromatic scent, you could include some dried citrus fruits and cinnamon sticks to the wreath. 

Making a Christmas wreath. Image credit: cottonbro studio on Pexels. 

These sustainable Christmas crafts are sure to sleigh your holiday guests! What's more, if these items are stored properly, they can be reused for next year's Christmas decorations, or they can be easily composted. 

So get crafting and enjoy the fruits of your labour after with a warm blanket, a cup of hot chocolate, and a cosy Christmas vibe.

About the Author: Megan Yong is a final year Linguistics student at the University of York. She absolutely loves the Christmas season and has been blasting carols since Halloween. She hopes you enjoy the terrible Christmas puns made throughout the article. 

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