Stylish Yet Sustainable: Eco-Friendly Christmas Décor Ideas

This Christmas, do the planet some good by skipping plastic decor and opting for sustainable materials and DIY crafts.

Rashmi Gopal Rao

It is that time of the year again when festive fervour is slowly but steadily building up.  Gleaming lights, decked-up trees, shopping for gifts, having friends and family over and preparing for the holiday season…it is arguably the best time of the year! After all, it is time for Christmas, a season of joy, love and giving.    

Christmas is also a time when we tend to go overboard with shopping, buying decorations, and indulge in a whole lot of conspicuous consumption. But with a little thought and some effort, you can create the same festive magic and cheerful ambience albeit in a manner that is more eco-friendly and sustainable.  Just DIY, reuse, recycle and upcycle! Here are some tips to help you out 

Greener alternatives, natural elements

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The soul of all Christmas décor is of course the Christmas tree.  You can make a conscious choice this year and either rent a tree or go in for a tree that you can use for several years. Further still, if you already have an araucaria, juniper, cypress or poinsettia plant at home, you can deck it up for the festive season rather than investing in a plastic tree.  

“With its beautiful display of bright red and green leaves, the poinsettia is the perfect plant to have in your living room, bedroom, or even the kitchen to bring in the festive cheer. Orchid plants in whites and reds are great too and add a wonderful vibe,” says Meghaa Modi, event stylist from Bangalore.  If you are the creative type, you can create your own tree by assembling dried twigs and branches and decking them up with dried citrus fruits and plenty of LED lights.  

You do not have to necessarily splurge on new upholstery to add to the Christmassy feel. If you have a red or green shawl, use it as a throw on your sofa. Plain white cushion covers can be given a new look with embroidery or applique work in red and green. “Old green and white or red-and-white chequered cloths can be made into ribbons and used to deck up the dining area and kitchen. Use spray paint and your imagination to give a new look to the old decorations that you might have at home. Your old lanterns can be painted red, white,or gold for a glamorous makeover,” adds Meghaa.  

Style cues

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Go in for natural elements like jute, rattan, and wood for a warm and cosy feel. Create little vignettes using pine cones, cinnamon sticks, and books wrapped in brown paper and tied with burlap. “Upcycle your old pottery by painting them in festive prints and in hues of red, green, white or hues of gold and silver. The pottery can be added to little corners and can be used as tableware too. Old-school paper decorations have been a Christmas trend for years now and they just keep getting bigger. Affordable and eco-friendly, these traditional decorations can work with any scheme from a soft, neutral style to something bolder and brighter for any living room space.  Paper garlands and paper lanterns look lovely when hung up over mantle pieces or door frames, adding instant colour and texture,” says Shubhra Chadda, co-founder and creative director, product and design, at Chumbak.

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Reuse old glass jars as vases to place flowers or just place twigs, holly, and dried leaves inside glass bottles to add a Christmas touch.  Coupled with fairy lights in them, it is sure to add a fuss-free celebratory look.  Greenery, foraged finds, coffee berries, cane placemats, and candles can be used to curate a dreamy table set-up. “Terracotta tableware is eco-friendly and does not emit any toxins as they are made from clay. Compostable and sustainable dinnerware crafted from areca leaves is perfect to use while entertaining a large number of people at home. Cane lanterns that are totally natural and biodegradable are a great way to illuminate the festivities,” says Solomon Dillion, creative director, Beruru.  

DIYs galore

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Christmas is synonymous with Christmas ornaments that are used to decorate the tree.  This year, you can give a special twist to the decorations by making your own ornaments that can be reused year on year.  You can create unique ornaments using old socks, mittens, bits of fabric, toys, trinkets, and tassels t lying at home. “This year I used woody stem cuttings to create a boho star which I tied at the end with strings.  I also made a Christmas ornament from mason jar lids. All I did was to cover the lid with fabric and then I added a small Santa from a previous Christmas decor element followed by a tassel (again a leftover material from my macrame projects),” says Barnita De—founder of Lil Something, Bangalore—whose passions include gardening, baking, crafting and home decor.  

DIYs have a charm of their own and never fail to impress. “Some simple DIYs I have done this season include making a lot of decor pieces and tree ornaments using everyday material like old fabric (t-shirts, shirts etc), scrap wooden blanks picked up from MDF artisans, easy to source faux floral picks and basic crafting supplies. Using bits of an old table cloth to craft some homemade stockings and embroidering decals onto them are a highlight this year,” says Dr Susan Abraham, public health scientist and co-founder of the Home Decor Project, Cochin.

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Another easy way to DIY paper decorations is origami. “You can upcycle any paper you have lying around the house, be it an old newspaper, craft paper, pamphlets, magazines or battered books and shape them into stars and other paper ornaments. Wrap or hang the stars around strings of fairy lights to create your own galaxy,” says Jayakanth B, Livpreneur, Livspace.

Photo: Shutterstock
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