For Christmas 2021, create new traditions with sustainable decor instead of buying new ones and making unnecessary waste. 

Some people may accuse Christmas of being a capitalist trap. Still, there’s no denying that the festivity of gathering with friends and exchanging gifts is a happy one, especially after the tumultuous two years we’ve had. 

If you’re planning to be decorative with Christmas this year, it may be worth starting new traditions with a sustainability theme. Plenty of waste is generated during this time of gifting and giving. It will do no good to contribute to that by purchasing new decor and throwing them out later. Instead, try these sustainable Christmas decor ideas that ingenious people on the internet have created. We promise it’ll be just as good as the plastic Christmas tree you were thinking of buying online from China. 

1. Reuse Your Old Christmas Decor

Image: Unsplash/ Nick Fewings

The most sustainable tip for a greener Christmas is an easy one — reusing the decor that you’ve amassed over the years. Heirloom Christmas tree items are also the most memorable ones, especially if a precious memory accompanies them. 

If you have an old Christmas tree stashed away, it should be reused too. Avoid buying new things wherever possible, and you’ll have yourself an easy, sustainable Christmas decor. Be sure to store them properly once the festivities are over, so you can continue using them for years to come. 

2. Build Your Own Christmas Tree

Need a new Christmas tree? It’s time to let your creative juices flow and build one that isn’t a pine tree. We’ve scoured the internet and seen some truly innovative ideas for sustainable Christmas trees fashioned out of scrap materials or items you may already have at home. 

One example is stacking several books atop each other and then laying some fairy lights over them, like this Instagram user. Get imaginative with different book sizes — you can even adjust the height according to your preference! 

If space is an issue, simply utilise a (literal) corner in your home. This Instagram user has ingeniously cut out a Christmas tree outline from plywood, painted it green, and then installed it on a wall corner. Some fairy lights later, and you’ll have a modern-looking Christmas tree that doesn’t take up too much space!

This user has also gone up an innovation level by sourcing for twigs to create a hanging Christmas advent tree — isn’t that inventive? 

3. Recycled Christmas Wreath

Image: Unsplash/ HIllary Ungson

Part of the Christmas festivities includes hanging a wreath. However, modern wreaths tend to be made of the same product as a fake Christmas tree — plastics. A fresh wreath made of natural flowers and leaves would be a great addition to the Christmas decor, except that they normally cost a fair bit to purchase and also require more upkeep. A more cost-effective and sustainable solution would be to DIY your own out of scrap materials. This creative Instagrammer created not one, but three different kinds of Christmas wreaths out of waste paper and scrap ribbons. Time to get your creative mode on. 

4. Use Eco-Friendly, Recyclable Wrapping Paper

Image: Unsplash/ Mel Poole

It probably comes to no surprise that wrapping paper makes up one of the largest waste items during the festivities. While we’re putting more effort into reusing the wrapping paper for the next set of presents, it’s also worth pointing out that we need to start making the switch to eco-friendly, recyclable wrapping paper. 

Paper with glitter, foil, and sticky tape doesn’t qualify as recyclable materials. The best recyclable wrapping paper to use this Christmas is brown wrapping paper. For added festivity, decorate your presents with ribbons, twine, and a few twigs of eucalyptus or rosemary. 

5. Or Try Fabric Wrapping Instead!

Furoshiki, the Japanese art of wrapping and transporting goods can be an extremely sustainable way of wrapping your gifts this Christmas. Not only can you use a gorgeous piece of cloth, it also allows the receiver to continue using the furoshiki cloth for other purposes. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Learn how to tie a furoshiki here

6. Turn Your House Plants Into A Christmas Tree

Did you also jump on the pandemic bandwagon of plant parenting? If so, you’ll probably have amassed a number of indoor plants. Put those to good use and decorate them with fairy lights, ribbons, and hanging decorations. You now have little Christmas trees in your home!

7.  Use LED Christmas Lights

Image: I/Unsplash

Christmas lights make everything at home look more festive. If you haven’t already, be sure to make the switch to LED Christmas lights as they consume less energy compared to the traditional twinkling lights. You’ve already switched to LED lightbulbs for your interior — why not your Christmas lights too? 

These sustainable Christmas decor ideas are proof that you can still celebrate the festivities without increasing your carbon footprint. If you’d like to extend your sustainability efforts beyond Christmas, why not try with your beauty stash or fashion habits