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Green Christmas crafts

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Green or eco-friendly Christmas crafts are intended to produce gifts and decorations that are not resource intensive, that make the most of your skills, and that can have such benefits as involving others in the household for shared fun, and making use of items that would otherwise go to waste or get overlooked.

There are many wonderful possibilities for producing green Christmas crafts. This page is a round-up of suggestions and you are encouraged to add your own ideas. If you have a how-to for making any crafts, consider making a how-to page for it and linking it back to this page.

Making eco-friendly Christmas decorations[edit]

Making your own decorations is a great way to get into the festive spirit and to share the craft-making fun with children and others in your household. Ideas for making Christmas decorations include:

  • Reuse old scraps of fabric to make stuffed fabric animals, stars, Santas, trees, etc. for hanging on your living Christmas tree
  • Use twigs, seed pods, dried leaves, etc. to make rustic stars, animal shapes, wreaths, etc. for decorations.
  • Make wreaths from natural items found in the garden, such as seed pods, dried leaves, fresh flowers, etc.; or use fabric scraps and other items in your recycling bin.
  • Make origami decorations using scrap paper and paper slated for recycling.
  • Make a woven garland from yarn, or one from fabric scraps. Recycled paper can be turned into all sorts of shapes for a quirky and fun garland.
  • Make your own Christmas crackers (bonbons) using recycled cardboard, paper and little surprises. Instead of recycling bad jokes, either make up your own or skip the jokes and include sayings or lovely messages meant for everyone attending the Christmas event, meant for reading out at the table. You could even reuse the little inserted surprises each year, rather than throwing such things out.
  • Reuse old decorations to make new decorations; shabby or worn out decorations can be incorporated with a bit of creativity into newly designed decorations rather than being thrown out.

Making green Christmas gifts[edit]

Making gifts for Christmas is a lovely way to show that you care for your gift recipients by having taken the time to create them something unique. Here are some gift suggestions:

  • Bake a cake, cookies/biscuits or candies/sweets from your own kitchen. Package on a reusable plate or recycle existing packaging.
  • Make pickles, preserves, jams or other condiments and preserved foods from your garden harvest. Reuse glass jars and containers where possible. Make labels from recycled paper.
  • Sew, crochet or knit an item of clothing or an accessory. Get measurements beforehand, and if needed, even ask the person what style they like so that they get exactly what they want.
  • Make jewellery from recycled items such as paper, beads from broken old jewellery and old jewellery settings.
  • Turn old "junk" into something new and amazing; for example, refurbish an old chair, do up an old lamp or cover an old suitcase - give these things a new lease of life with some TLC.
  • Make candles or soap. If you're good at making such items, you could make them from scratch but there are plenty of recipes available for skipping the harder parts and reusing finished candle wax and soap to create new candles and soaps.
  • Make a journal, diary or scrapbook using homemade or recycled paper. You could even make the scrapbook, then fill it with photos, sayings and messages to tell a story that is customised to the gift recipient.
  • Do up something that is broken. For example, fix a loved one's bike, repaint it and polish it up to look new again. This can be an extra surprising gift where you've been promising all year to get around to mending something for them!
  • Make a cork bulletin board from old corks and scrap timber.
  • Recycle some thrift store finds into new items. For example, buy ties from the thrift store and sew them into a skirt. Or repurpose old t-shirts into new items––there are plenty of articles online on how to do this.
  • Turn old candy wrappers into wallets, purses and bags.
  • Felt old sweaters (jumpers) and use the felt to make hair accessories, brooches, toys, covers for digital devices, etc.
  • Make bookmarks from cardboard scraps and craft basket finds.
  • Transform old magazines and books into new items, such as a hollow book to hide things in or paper beads for a necklace made from magazine paper.

Gifts can be wrapped in fabric, tea towels, brown paper with twine and some dried herbs as decoration, reusable shopping bags, fabric scraps, wallpaper samplers, an item of clothing such as a scarf, etc.

Gift ideas other than crafted ones can be found at Green Christmas.

Setting a green Christmas table[edit]

If you're decorating the table for Christmas, here are some ideas to keep it green:

  • Use natural items for the centrepiece, such as flowers picked from the garden, twigs tied into an interesting display, pine cones in a bowl, flowers in a jug or clean metal bucket, etc.
  • If using placeholder cards, make them from scrap paper or recycled cardboard.
  • Don't feel that everything has to match at the table. Mixing heirloom, older and newer items is a great way to reflect the generational changes and memories together at the table. Mix and match is a great way to make the best use of everything.
  • See Christmas decorations above for Christmas crackers.

Use reusable napkins/serviettes. The same goes for all plates, utensils, glasses, etc.