Christmas is stressful enough as it is. If you are like me, the last thing you need on Boxing Day is to wake up with the guilts because of the small mountains of boxes and plastic packaging adding to the hangover. Statistically, every holiday season (in the States) we see consumption increase and garbage increase around 25% from the rest of the year*. This year I’m making myself a goal to save items from landfill and not to add to it.
My plan is to consider each decoration, each gift and each piece of wrapping paper beyond December 25th. I know it sounds like my kids will get soil in jars but stay with me. It’s not like you need any extra pressure with in-laws and parents and cooking and the stress if it all, but a taking a few small steps make a big difference.
Like homemade presents, the journey almost always outclasses the destination: it’s actually so much more rewarding to make decorations yourself with family or friends. Spending a day creating with my sister and my Mum, a glass of wine with the Love Actually as our soundtrack is way more festive than waiting in line at Target to buy tinsel and wrapping paper.
I will put together some of my favourite ideas for home decorating, gift wrapping and table settings that are inexpensive and recyclable. Better still, hopefully that you will reuse again in the future. And, because we have to start somewhere, let’s start with wreaths.
Part 1. Wreaths
BASIC HOW TO…
Get the shape. The basic shape of the wreath can be made from recycled or household materials such as old wire coat hangers (dry cleaning hangers work best) or some branches wrapped wet then dried. If that’s all too hard you can buy pre-made wreath bases made of twisted vine from your local florist and use it year after year. Each year you can evolve it by just replacing the greenery. Embroidery hoops work too for a cleaner look. When making your shape, don’t get too precious on the shape, the more imperfect the better. You can make them any size you want if you’re using branches. I love a giant wreath. Or a trio of smaller wreaths hung together (all slightly different sizes).
Gather your greenery. See what you can find in your or your neighbours gardens, and check the local park. If this doesn’t work, your local florist or flower market should have plenty of options. In the northern hemisphere you can use varieties of Fur, Pine, Juniper or Spruce. For Australia where the weather is hot, natives work really well such as Eucalyptus, Gum or Olive and Rosemary Branches. Using different textures and shades of green works best. Try to also find some gum nuts or small pine cones for added texture.
Add greenery. Focus greenery on the lower half of the circle or go all the way around for a traditional look. Florist wire works the best to attach the greenery, but you can also use natural twine.
Hang it. Hang it on the door, the fireplace, above a console, anywhere. If you haven’t used a coat hanger, you can create a loop with wire or add a ribbon or scrap of fabric to hang your wreath.
Close the loop. When Christmas is finished compost the greenery in your green curb side bin or home compost. The base of the wreath can be kept for the next year, or if you really aren’t keen on holding on to it recycle the wire coat hanger and compost any wood/vine bases. Twine can be composted if it is made of natural fibres and the florist wire can also be recycled if made from aluminium.
Some great DIY sites and sources to get these looks are (clockwise from top left):
Coat hanger wreaths click here
Eucalyptus wreath here
Natural twig wreath here
Simple embroidery hoop wreather here
Candle Wreath here
Foraged wreath here
Native wildflowers wreath source no longer active
For more Christmas and wreath inspo we have a Pinterest board (of course). HERE
*source EPA - United States Environmental Protection Agency