Have a Merry Green Christmas

12 festive decorations that can be made from recycled materials, one for each day of Christmas

Issue: Dec 2015

Reduce waste this Christmas by reusing old Christmas wrappings and cards, and other household items to make your own holiday decorations
Reduce waste this Christmas by reusing old Christmas wrappings and cards, and other household items to make your own holiday decorations

Christmas is a time for extending love and good cheer, even towards our oft-neglected earth. In the United States alone, 25 to 30 million live Christmas trees are sold every year. One acre of those trees can produce enough oxygen for 18 people for a day. Another 200,000 trees are cut to make holiday cards. Meanwhile, gift wrappers and shopping bags generate another four million tons of trash. Show some kindness to the environment by celebrating a green Christmas this year!

We recommend some ways to re-use paper items and recycle household items to create new Christmas decorations. Here are 12 ideas, one for each day of Christmas.

1. Keyboard Ornaments

Old computer keyboards spell a magical Christmas with a touch of vintage
Old computer keyboards spell a magical Christmas with a touch of vintage

Use the letters from old computer keyboards and Scrabble sets to make Christmas ornaments that spell out special Christmas messages. All you need is some glue and old ribbons to pull off the Christmas look.

2. Bottle Cap Snowman

Frosty bottle cap ornaments can reshape how you think about recycled Christmas ornaments
Frosty bottle cap ornaments can reshape how you think about recycled Christmas ornaments

Old bottle caps, ribbons, and bits of magazine paper can be turned into Frosty and pals. Add a cone made of colourful magazine pages beneath a single bottle cap and you will have an angel ornament instead. Play around with the shapes and see what other Christmas themed decorations you can come up with just by being creative with these bottle caps.

3. Used Paper Ornaments

With nothing more than a pair of scissors and some glue, you can turn old magazines, cards, wrapping paper, and even old boxes into new ornaments
With nothing more than a pair of scissors and some glue, you can turn old magazines, cards, wrapping paper, and even old boxes into new ornaments

Save old magazines, cards, wrapping paper, and even old boxes. These can be cut or folded into Christmas inspired shapes – stars, candy canes, snowmen, stockings, and Christmas trees – to be hung on your Christmas tree.

4. Straw Ornaments

Draw a straw or more and tie them into Christmas stars or snowflakes for your tree
Draw a straw or more and tie them into Christmas stars or snowflakes for your tree

Used coloured straws can be tied together to create stars and snowflakes to hang on your tree. If you are not that handy with your hands, the simplest design you can come up with involves four straws (red and white ones work best) criss-crossed with a button in the centre to hide the point where the straws are tied together.

5. Button Ornaments

Arrange buttons into Christmas-inspired shapes to create alternative hanging ornaments
Arrange buttons into Christmas-inspired shapes to create alternative hanging ornaments

Arrange buttons into Christmas-inspired shapes and glue them onto old Christmas cards, cardboard or pieces of cloth to make more hanging Christmas ornaments.

6. Wooden Reindeer

Branches from the park can be given a new lease of life as Rudolph
Branches from the park can be given a new lease of life as Rudolph

The garden or park can provide a wealth of material for creating Christmas decorations. Fallen branches can be cut and glued to make festive reindeer.

7. Pine Cone Pretties

Pick a pine cone to paint to make truly eco-friendly ornaments
Pick a pine cone to paint to make truly eco-friendly ornaments

Pine cones can be painted in festive shades like red, silver and gold, and put into glass bowls or old jars to be placed around the house or as a table centerpiece.

8. Twig Stars

Thinner branches and twigs can be tied into a Christmas star to adorn your tree
Thinner branches and twigs can be tied into a Christmas star to adorn your tree

Look out for thinner branches and twigs on those walks. These can be tied together to make an eco-friendly Christmas star to adorn your tree.

9. Ice Cream Stick Angel

Stick around and see how old ice cream sticks can be turned into angels
Stick around and see how old ice cream sticks can be turned into angels

Ice cream sticks can be glued together to make angels. Use red string and ribbons as accents. Paint them and, with a glitter pen, write Christmas greetings on them to make personalised tree ornaments. You could even try writing the names of your family members on one side and Christmas blessings on the other.

10. Old Tech Wreath

Old motherboards and wires can be fashioned into a new techy Christmas wreath
Old motherboards and wires can be fashioned into a new techy Christmas wreath

Old technology never dies. It gets a new lease of life if you know what to do with them. The motherboard from old computers can be arranged and glued together make a Christmas wreath that tech lovers will dig.

11. Homemade Snow Globes

Turn your used jar into a snow globe depicting Christmas scenes
Turn your used jar into a snow globe depicting Christmas scenes

Jars with lids can be made into snow globes. Glue old Christmas ornaments inside the jar, fill it with water and bits of glittery paper from used Christmas wrappers, and screw on the lid. Give it a shake and you have your homemade snow globe. If you are dexterous enough, whole nativity scenes can be created.

12. Old Tin Can Candle Holders

Instead of tossing away your tin cans, turn them into candle holders
Instead of tossing away your tin cans, turn them into candle holders

Tin cans are remarkably malleable. Paint them, pierce them with holes in Christmas patterns or cut out a shape on them, and they become instant candle holders.

Another bonus that comes with making your own Christmas decoration is the family fun that comes with it. Make it a project that the young and old can work on together. After all, what is Christmas without family?

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