Whether you are a 1st of December decorator, or a 12 days before, there is nothing more festive than the cosy glow of fairy lights, candles and decorations that hold memories, traditions and meaning. Christmas is truly a most magical time of the year, however unfortunately, it’s also by far the most wasteful. The festive season has a huge environmental impact in terms of water use, greenhouse gasses and land disturbance caused by the production of some of our favourite holiday treats and decorations.
In a bid to cut down on plastic, throwaway fashion and purchases on a whim - I have been looking into decorating more with natural, sustainable and reusable items this year. Decorating for the holidays doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, it's easy to decorate with items that are virtually free. So this year commit to buying no more expensive decorations and instead opt for the simplicity of natural materials.
Even the simplest, most utilitarian items can seem festive around the holidays. Try stacking your fireside logs in a triangle to mimic a tree, or hang pine cones from ribbons on the handles of your kitchen cabinets. Subtle elements which might not seem special at any time of the year, can suddenly evoke woodland vibes with a touch of festive flair.
To add a gorgeous fragrance to your home, of course there are the options of candles and a scented fire, and a stove pot of simmering mulled wine will permeate your home full of sweet spicy scent. Why not also create some pomanders from oranges and cloves - an easy DIY for all the family to get involved in making. Simply take your favourite rinded fruit (oranges, lemons, limes etc) and stud with cloves in a pattern. You may choose a geometric design or something festive like a snowflake - grab the children and have a design competition! Then, attach a piece of ribbon to add an extra decorative element and provide a way to hang it, or just display a few in a bowl with some pinecones or greenery. Alternatively, the rich red colour of cranberries are a wonderful Christmas decoration, and one of the easiest ways to use them is by simply filling a clear glass vase with berries, and sitting a candle inside.
A simple glass jar filled with branches and berries is both elegant and festive. And if you use the right kind of branches you can also fill your home with a wonderfully fresh and Christmasy scent. Of course, a fresh live tree is also a quintessential must-have for natural décor (bonus points if it is potted and can return to the garden in the new year), but if you don't have the space for a full-size tree (or even if you do!) a small container full of lush branches can be a great alternative. If you are slightly more ambitious with your DIY, consider making an evergreen wreath to hang indoors or outside. You can choose to embellish with all sorts of ribbons and decorations should you wish, but I personally think they can be beautiful all on their own! Choose the colours and textures that work for your home but aim to include eucalyptus, fir and holly for a truly fragrant and festive feel, and weave together lavender, rosemary, bay leaf branches and any other herbs you like. You can always add a splash of colour and texture with red chilies and garlic bulbs.
So with the fruity and foliage covered, why not look at adding spice elements to your home too. Most people use cinnamon to add a little spice to foods and beverages, but cinnamon sticks also make wonderful and natural Christmas decorations. Try tying them around the outside of a candle, tying them together with a beautiful ribbon and hanging them as ornaments, and displaying them in bowls with pinecones and greenery.
As the Independant highlights, as many as six million Christmas trees, enough to stretch end to end from London to the North Pole and back, will be incinerated or dumped into landfill sites in Britain once the festive season is over. As well as the waste firs and pines, more than a billion Christmas cards are likely to be dumped or burnt - which, laid end to end, would stretch around the world five times! In a shocking addition, about 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper will also be thrown out or burnt and 125,000 tons of plastic packaging.
Not only are organic decorations an incredibly easy and affordable option, but they also evoke the spirit of the natural season perfectly. So many organic elements naturally find their way into your home, from Christmas trees and garlands, to meals cooked with aromatic herbs and spices like cinnamon, cloves, and rosemary. This December why not step away from the unnecessary new ornaments, plastic tinsel and foil ribbon and look a little closer to home for your décor inspiration.