9 Sustainable DIY Christmas Decorations for Your Family

20 December 2023

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Tired of the same old plastic, store-bought gifts? Check out our list of sustainable Christmas decorations that won’t hurt the planet 👇

It’s the festive season again, and that means one thing – decorations! While it’s tempting to deck out the house with lights and store-bought ornaments, they’re not always the most sustainable choice. So why not take matters into your own hands this Christmas?

Through these do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, you and your child can spend some quality time together while also reducing your Christmas carbon footprint.

So, here are our top 9 sustainable (and budget-friendly) DIY Christmas decorations for you and your family this festive season!   

1. Recycled Paper Ornaments

Do you have spare paper lying around the house? You’d be surprised how much you might find stuffed in drawers or hiding in the back of cupboards. Your child can help by searching the house for:

  • Old newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Junk mail
  • Grocery receipts
  • Used wrapping paper

Once you’ve got your desired paper, recycle it by cutting it into festive shapes, layer them, and secure them together with non-toxic glue. Then, simply punch a hole through, string them together, and invite your child to write a small message to make it extra special.

Once complete, hang it from the tree and you’ve got unique, conversation-starting decorations!

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2. Upcycled Glass Jar Lanterns

Don’t throw out that jam jar! Instead, remove any labels, wash it with soapy water, and leave it out to dry. Then, you and your child can use child-friendly paint to draw Christmassy shapes such as reindeer or wise men’s stars. Alternatively, you can decorate the jar with festive ribbons, string, or even googly eyes.

After your jar is clean and decorated, just add a tea light candle inside for a cozy finishing touch. These upcycled jar lanterns help reduce waste and allow your child to express their creativity.

3. Homemade Wreaths

Collect fallen pinecones, twigs, leaves, or seed pods from your backyard or the park to create a natural and rustic DIY wreath.

Once you’ve gathered the materials, all you need to do is cut a hole in some old cardboard and glue them on. You can them customise your DIY wreath with a festive bow or homemade ornaments. Finally, hang on your front door or around the house for a subtle festive touch.

4. Repurposed Wine Cork Ornaments

Don’t bin the corks after your next cheese and wine night. Instead, use them as a basis for some unique Christmas decorations. Paint and decorate them as reindeer, snowmen, elves, or Mr. and Mr Claus! Cotton wool is perfect for hair or Santa’s bushy white beard.

When you’re finished, add your cork creations to shelves, tables, or run a string through them to hang from the Christmas tree for sentimental and sustainable mementos for years to come. 

5. Clothespin Snowflakes

Do you have more wooden clothespins than you could ever use? With a few simple steps, you can transform these into unique tree decorations!

Start by gluing the clothespins together in a radial pattern so they resemble snowflakes. Then, you and your child can paint them white and aqua with water-based paints. Once they’re dry, run a string through the tip of one of the pins and you’ve got eco-friendly additions to the tree!

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6. Cardboard Christmas Tree

While this might not replace the pine tree just yet, a cardboard Christmas tree is a wonderful addition to a child’s room, coffee table, or living room. Instead of purchasing a mini plastic tree, gather some old cardboard from around the house to construct your own.

Start by drawing out four Christmas tree stencils on cardboard, then carefully cut them out. After you’ve glued them together, invite your child to help paint it green, white, or whichever colour you wish. Decorate it with buttons, ribbons, or anything festive you can find – and don’t forget to put some presents under it!  

7. Dried Orange Decorations

This unique festive decoration is a must-have this Christmas. Simply cut a couple of oranges into slices and squeeze as much fresh juice as you can to enjoy. Instead of throwing out the leftover slices, dry them off and place in an oven at 93°C for 2-4 hours, flipping every thirty minutes. Once dried, place on a cooling rack until they’re at room temperature.

Afterwards, pierce your slices with a needle and string them together. Hang them over a fireplace, from shelves, or anywhere around the house for a touch of colour that can easily be preserved in air-safe containers for next year. Alternatively, they’re perfect for compost!    

8. Oven Mitt Christmas Stockings  

At the end of the day, Christmas stockings exist to hold presents. In other words, children don’t really care what shape they are, so long as they’re filled with goodies! So, why not upcycle an old oven mitt lying around the house or from an op shop and spice it up with a festive touch?

Simply glue on old buttons, add ribbons, or sew on festive fabric shapes and voila – you’ve got yourself a makeshift Christmas stocking!

9. Fabric Scrap Garland

Repurpose old clothing and tea towels into a colourful – and eco-friendly – fabric scrap garland. Begin by cutting your fabric of choice into festive shapes, triangles, or anything you think will brighten up the house. Feel free to get creative and invite your child to help brainstorm shapes and sizes while you use the scissors.

Then, pierce a needle through each and string them together. These are perfect for above the fireplace, over the television, across a bookshelf, or anywhere in the house that needs a burst of Christmas cheer.

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Ultimately, Christmas doesn’t have to be a time of excess and needless waste. Rather, by following some – or all – of the items in our list, you can decorate the tree and brighten up your home for the festive season. Better yet, you can do so without spending a fortune on plastic, mass-produced decorations.

So why not get crafty this Christmas and create some special decorations that you can look back on in years to come? And who knows, maybe someday that oven mitt Christmas stocking might just become a family heirloom!

Merry Christmas 🎅

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