By nickihodgson - posted on December 20, 2019

Festive Decorating

If you’re after some inspiration for decorating your home this holiday season, you need not look far. Avoid wading through crazed crowds at Christmas markets. Instead, consider making something that won’t cost the Earth, either financially or environmentally.

A few of us let our creativity run wild this year at a “crafternoon” event hosted by our colleague Helen. Guests were greeted with aromas of mulled wine and homemade ginger cookies as they arrived with wreath-making materials sourced from their homes and gardens. My overgrown fence was happy to have a trim of the ivy shrouding it. Other foraged items included fern leaves, evergreens, berries, herbs and other edibles.

None of us had experience creating such decorations but decided to try our hand at it. With a mix of traditional carols and contemporary holiday hits on the playlist, we got to work forming our masterpieces.

Willow bases are a great natural base to start with but I opted to build my first wreath out of lengths of ivy by weaving it around itself. I followed the natural curve of the stems so the frame turned out a bit bigger than expected but was very simple to produce. A couple of bunches of red berries and a ribbon completed the look!

The base for my second, more delicate, wreath was formed by shaping an old metal clothes hanger into a flat round shape (bonus: it has an in-built hook to hang). I assembled foliage of different textures, colours and fragrances around the structure, tying them in bunches with thin metal wire. I added dried orange slices for a pop of colour as a finishing touch.

With limited numbers of doors to dress up but so many leftover materials, we decided to carry the festive magic throughout our homes with botanical garlands as well. When that didn’t shrink our supplies, our colleague resolved to deck her banister in luxuriant ivy.

After a beautiful warm winter carrot soup, we moved into the lounge with our mugs of hot cocoa (complete with frothed non-dairy milk) to decorate the tree. First the LED lights, then the ornaments – showcasing those sentimental favourites, and lastly the tree topper.

This rounded out the day for us and we slowly headed into the dark and blustery evening to return home with our handmade treats.

For more ideas to reduce the impact of your decorations this holiday period, consider:

The Tree

  1. Reuse an artificial tree (and take good care of it!) or buy one second-hand
  2. If you get a real tree, look for the FSC-certification and ensure it’s appropriately composted at the end of its life
  3. Find a Christmas-tree hire service
  4. Grow your own tree outside and decorate with edibles to feed the wildlife


  1. Keep your electricity use (and energy bills) low by using LED lights instead of incandescents
  2. Switch to solar-powered lights for your outdoor needs, and set these on a timer


  1. Find natural foliage to use in wreath-making and other crafts
  2. Instead of tinsel, string a popcorn-and-cranberry garland around your tree
  3. Bake biscuits or salt dough ornaments and thread them on ribbons to hang
  4. Exchange ornaments with friends and family to keep things fresh from year to year