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
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
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
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
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 and glue them onto old Christmas cards, cardboard or pieces of cloth to make more hanging Christmas ornaments.
6. Wooden Reindeer
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
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
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
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 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
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
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?