Eco-friendly Christmas Decoration Ideas

Written by
Iryna Komazova
December 14, 2022

Christmas time takes a lot of preparation. In addition to buying presents and cooking delicious food, people’s minds are also busy with decorating their homes. Let’s see how to create an atmosphere of magic and holiday at home, while also producing minimal waste.

Choose a Zero Waste Christmas Tree

There’s no escaping it: mass-market artificial Christmas trees are not eco-friendly at all. They’re made of plastic and metal; a combination that’s hard to separate. Hence, their chances for recycling are equal to zero. Besides, artificial trees are mostly made of toxic PVC plastic, which negatively impacts people and the environment throughout the product's life cycle. The only time we would recommend you use an artificial tree is if you already have one. In that case, it is better to keep your old tree rather than throwing it away and buying a real one instead.

Christmas trees are grown to be cut. So, if you buy a real Christmas tree, look at where it comes from and how it's been grown to be sure that forests won’t suffer for it. Additionally, a tree from a local farmer or supplier will be a greener option than one that's travelled a long distance to the shop. This is because you’ll be reducing its transportation carbon footprint. Make sure you shred and compost your tree after usage, or recycle it with your local community facility.

But really—as our regular readers know very well by now—the truly zero waste choice is to reuse items instead of buying new. With that in mind, here are some ideas for the most eco-friendly Christmas tree options:

  • Buy a tree with roots, keep it in a pot, and plant it straight after the holiday;
  • Decorate something tree-shaped (like a ladder, stack of books, tripod, etc.);
  • Use a big plant in a pot as an alternative Christmas tree;
  • Make a tree on a wall from twigs, paper, or photos.
Literally anything can become a Christmas tree if you try—even used egg cartons!

Decorating a Christmas Tree 

Now you know which Christmas tree to choose, let’s decorate it! If you already have decorations then of course, reuse them! But if you don’t have any, or want to freshen up your festive decorations, try adorning it with:

  • Sweets or gingerbread cookies that can be eaten afterwards;
  • Toys that the kids don’t play with anymore;
  • Crocheted or embroidered decorations;
  • Jewellery from your jewellery box.
You can buy or make tasty decorations yourself

Make a Waste-free Christmas Wreath

The well-known proverb says: if you want to do it well (or in our case, eco-friendly), do it yourself. So, in order to avoid adding more plastic to your house, use your creativity to make a unique Christmas wreath by:

  • Using wire or willow branches for the base;
  • Asking Christmas tree sellers if you can take home some of the small fallen branches (which would otherwise be thrown away) for use in your wreath;
  • Decorating your wreath with cones, berries, and dried orange slices;
  • Hanging it with a re-used ribbon;
  • Composting it once the festive period's over (don’t forget to remove the wire and ribbon first)
An all-natural Christmas wreath

Choose a Paper Garland Instead of Tinsel

In winter, cheap, sparkling tinsel garlands fill the markets and, unfortunately, our homes. Being made of PVC plastic and aluminium, they’re not recyclable. But luckily, there are lots of alternatives to toxic tinsel:

Make garlands out of thick paper to reuse them in future years

Use Eco-friendly Christmas Lights

Christmas won’t come if you don’t put up at least one twinkling garland at home! Of course, it’s just a joke, but nonetheless 150 million light sets are sold yearly in the USA alone. And with most Christmas lights being environmentally unfriendly, it’s not a very funny joke. Here are some tips that can help you to light up your home in the most environmentally-friendly way:

  • Choose LED lights: they use 80% less electricity than incandescent ones and the garland will work even if one light is broken;
  • Don’t leave lights on overnight;
  • Set a timer for your lights;
  • Use solar-powered lights for exterior decoration or inside windows;
  • Repair lights that have stopped working.
Check the lights you buy have an LED label


As you can see, Christmas decorations can be eco-friendly. We hope you liked our suggestions. Have you got any creative waste-reducing decoration tips of your own? We’d love to hear them! Share them on social media, and tag World Clean Up Day

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Christmas decorations with minimal negative impact on the environment are possible! Check out this article for helpful tips.
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