Christmas is a welcome time of light, joy and celebration. But sadly, the festive season also creates a huge amount of waste, from uneaten food to use-once decorations.
It doesn’t have to be that way! We’re as much a fan of decorating our homes for the holidays as the next person (or dog), so we’ve gathered lots of sustainable Christmas decoration options for you. These decs are reasonably priced, beautiful to look at, and kind to the planet – and you’ll enjoy them for years to come.
Read on for Beagle’s festive round-up!
Make your own
First, don’t discount the possibility of getting creative yourself! Homemade, eco-friendly Christmas decorations have real sentimental value and will make you smile every time you look at them. They can be made using basic raw materials – paper, straw, wood – and there are countless online tutorials for them.
Try making paper chains or dried orange slices, or have a go at a driftwood tree (especially if you live by the seaside!). In fact, many of the decorations on this list can be homemade (with different levels of difficulty) – but if you want some more support, you can buy DIY kits with all the instructions and materials included. We like this lovely kit to make a macrame angel for just £9 on Etsy.
Proper Kashmiri baubles are made and hand-painted by skilled artisans in the Kashmir region, and they look beautiful on a Christmas tree. Created from papier-mâché, they are decorated with jewel-coloured traditional designs and come in shapes ranging from spherical baubles to stars and birds.
Try this three-pack of red-and-gold baubles from the Ethical Superstore, or check out this bluebird from Oxfam. Wherever you get your baubles, try to make sure they are made by artisans in Kashmir from papier-mâché, so it’s the true artists who get the money.
There’s nothing more welcoming than a Christmas wreath hanging on the front door. Or you can also enjoy them inside – above the fireplace or as a centrepiece on the dining table. Choose a wreath made from fully natural materials – holly, spruce, dried berries and pinecones – or including things that can be saved and reused, like ribbons, for top sustainability points!
We love this £38 wreath from Etsy, which incorporates eucalyptus and oranges so is sure to smell delicious!
When it comes to sustainability, buying pre-loved is an easy win, and Christmas decorations are a great way to do it. Vintage glass baubles are particularly characterful, and whether your tastes tend to the minimalist or extravagant, there’s something out there for you. Check out eBay for a great selection.
Wool and felt decorations
Some of the most charming tree decorations are made of wool and felt, cosy materials that lend themselves to woodland scenes and cute animals. Just look at this set of three woodland characters from the National Trust for £20: a hare, a badger and a fawn. Handcrafted in the Himalayas, they’ll bring joy to your tree – and will also delight any little ones in your life.
In fact, whatever your favourite animal, it probably exists as a felt decoration somewhere. Less traditionally associated with Christmas (but nonetheless very cute), check out this felted puffin in yellow wellies from the RNLI shop for £8 – or this dog in a Santa hat from Oxfam for £5.99 (our personal favourite!).
Paper and fabric garlands
Rather than buying plastic tinsel, why not opt for a paper alternative? In addition to buying or making your own paperchains, there are lots of options out there – including this dip-dyed paper rosette garland from Toast for £18.50, made from fibres from the evergreen lotka plant. Alternatively, check out this more traditional paper tinsel on Etsy, from £4 for two metres.
As an agricultural by-product that is natural and biodegradable, straw is one of the most eco-friendly materials around. And luckily, it also makes the most charming, old-world Christmas decorations. Straw ornaments have deep roots across many Nordic and Slavic countries, where they are used to mark local celebrations and annual events.
For a truly Scandinavian feel, go for straw animal figurines, which date back to pre-Christian times. Pay your own tribute to the Norse god Thor and his two goats with a 55cm-tall Julbock, or ‘yule goat’ on Etsy for around £41, or go for a mix of smaller decorations with this set on Etsy for £16.99. We also love this show-stopping tree-topper from Sass & Belle for just £5.25.
Ultimately, one of the things that will make your Christmas decorations the most sustainable is if they’re good quality and will last for years and years. With good care, there is no reason why your most beloved baubles and trinkets can’t become family heirlooms, gathering stories and being passed down from one owner to another, becoming more beloved every year.