Christmas is going to look very different for everyone this year; with Christmas parties over Zoom, empty markets whilst everyone shops online and many of us not being able to see loved ones. And, yet I haven’t felt this full of festive joy in years. Like so many others, festivities have offered a welcome distraction from the ongoing bleak news of the world.
In March I moved into the house that I own with my partner. Prior to this I lived with my parents, so for obvious reasons, when it came to Christmas, decorations were already sorted. So when I moved, I found myself with one loan bauble!
Having a somewhat blank canvas has made me be more thoughtful, and take things slow, which is why this year – being our first Christmas in our house – I’ve decided to focus on the Christmas Tree. Being more mindful has opened up my creativity, lifting my spirits and shining a bit of hope at the end of a grim year.
You may think that having a synthetic tree that you pull out every year is the most sustainable option, but it turns out that a real tree, recycled properly or replanted produces far less carbon emissions. We decided to trying renting a tree this year – aptly named Rental Claus – as it can then be used for years to come; if we wanted, we could even get the same tree every year.
There is temptation to throw away all your current decorations, for them to be replaced with sustainable/ethical options. But doing this completely counters out the sustainability. Instead, could you upcycle tired decorations with a bit of DIY? If they are still in good condition, can you sell them or give them to charity? My parents have fiercely held onto to all their decorations and I understand why, they hold such fond memories of Christmas’s past. The point is to avoid stuff from ending up in landfill; ignore trends and stick to reusing and recycling.
To help me relax and keep anxious thoughts at bay I’ve been making felt ornaments from Corinne Lapierre, and have ordered more felt so that I can make decorations for family members in the coming weeks. For a different take on baubles I dried out slices of orange in the oven and then attached string to make ornaments for the tree. They get darker over time so probably won’t keep hold of them for next year but at least they are compostable.
If you are buying new, try to shop small and support independent businesses. With Christmas markets not running this year, there’s been a big push to avoid the likes of Amazon – really we should do this constantly – and shop small. The cute hand crafted, brass reindeers from Sunday Living are decor I wouldn’t be able to make. Then I had fun at Gloucester Services (a service station which is more like a farm shop – it’s incredible!) picking out a few felt pals that I would struggle to make.
There’s something so cosy and inviting about having a festive wreath on your front door. It makes me think of stereotypical Christmas cards, set in quant villages, covered in snow.
Last year I made a wreath with my mum at a local allotment. We are booked in to make wreaths this weekend and I can’t wait. The materials used to make the wreath are all compostable and even better, I can re-use the willow hoop next year.
Are you using the festive season to lift your spirits? Have you been getting creative with your decorations?