Christmas decorations are already in the shops and are occupying miles of shelf space and are mostly imported from China, so already, they are a bit of a blot on the environment.

Here are a few ideas for avoiding that great waste!

  1. Visit your local op shop.  You’d be surprised how many decorations are sold there.  People just get sick of the ones they have.  As well, you will find masses of costume jewellery there.  Buy long necklaces (pearl, cut glass,rhinestones) and restring to make excellent garlands. Some light fittings (broken chandeliers) are also terrific for this.
  2. Rummage in your parents’ and grand-parents’ collections and recycle some of their ornaments.
  3. Drill holes in cut-glass or crystal glassware (stem glasses) and make tinkling bells from these.  Sherry glasses are great.  Cut the stem off, drill through the stump, use recycled guitar strings and crimp them to hold a clapper, loop it over and you have a crystal chime that reflects light. Our tutorial here as well – Don’t throw out that cloudy crystal
  4. Pumpkins.  Stack them for decoration then eat them after the holiday.
  5. Cones from pine trees, cypresses and spruces look great as they are or paint them silver, gold or whatever theme colour you have.  Buy some tiny screw eyelets from the hardware store (brass so they don’t rust) and use to make a hanging ornament.
  6. Popcorn. Make the popcorn in your saucepan or microwave. Roll each piece in aquadhere, then roll in non-toxic, food grade glitter or just sprinkle it on. Thread them on strong thread or fishing line.  After the holiday , take them off the thread and compost them or feed them to the birds.
  7. To get a rich, Florentine finish, paint an undercoat of red, then gold-leaf over that.
  8. To get a winter finish, the undercoat should be blue and then a coat of while topped off with silver and aqua highlights (think Antarctica!). Check out these eco friendly paint colours, the gold and silvers are great.
  9. Make beads from paper and glue. Cut a whole heap of very narrow long triangles from glossy magazines.  (An inch wide at the fat end tapering to a point and around 6 inches long or more.) Dip in aquadhere, roll the fat end first around a knitting needle and gradually you will shape a bead.  Allow to dry and string on twine or heavy fishing line.  You can fill the knitting needles and dry them vertically poked into the ground.  My mother made numerous bead curtains which also kept the flies out. No magazine was safe!  This site has kits and glaze, but you can just glaze them after with Estapol.
  10. Flat weaving of recycled paper can be made into long, decorative chains: and
  11. Good old paper chains from magazines. Choose the colours carefully.  Or make these from origami paper or recycled gift-wrap (press it first!) or old Christmas cards.
  12. Lanterns can be made from thick paper bags filled with sand and make some vertical cuts above the sand line to allow for light to shine through.
  13. Raid the local gardens for holly.  Leave it green or spray or paint it gold or silver.  Compost afterwards only if your paint is organic such as Eco Green Craft Paints – they are  made from non-toxic, recycled, and environmentally-friendly materials.
  14. String unripe crab apples, walnuts and other creative things onto a wicker frame with greenery instead of a tinsel wreath.
  15. Use old wine corks to make a wreath and afterwards, drop off at the elephant rescue charity or to the girl guides or the Body Shop for recycling.
  16. Dry some apples and paint with gloss Estapol.  This look great.
  17. Surf the web for more ideas as there are heaps of things you can do for a DIY el cheapo Christmas look!
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