Do you feel like channelling your inner Blue Peter this year? We have three fun ideas which the whole family can get involved in. You could even assign different projects to each family member! They won’t cost much to you and most importantly, aren’t expensive to our planet.
We throw away a staggering 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year at Christmas in the UK (BIFFA)! Sadly, most of this is not recycled or recyclable. There is a handy test for detecting paper which can’t be recycled- give it a scrunch! If it bounces back, it contains some plastic and is not recyclable. If it holds its shape, it is safe to recycle. Remember that if you are using standard sellotape and accessories, these will need to be removed before you recycle your paper. You can buy paper twine or ribbon and Washi tape, which are eco-friendly alternatives.
So, this year why not buy plain recyclable FSC paper and tags, in a colour of your choice, and then stamp them with your own Xmas design? You can buy pre-made stamps or create your own by carving out potatoes. Add a bit of coordinating natural string, a sprig of foliage or a few bells and you have your own unique family brand!
You could try to avoid wrapping paper altogether. Furoshiki are traditional cloths from Jpan which are used to wrap presents instead of paper. The cloth can then be reused in future years or even given as a gift itself. Think pretty scarves, handkerchiefs, or napkins.
Every year, I make these decorative oranges. They are super easy to do and they will keep your house smelling wonderful throughout the festive season. Puncture the orange rind and slot in a clove or star anise. Leave an area free if you want to tie natural ribbon or string around. You can even take it up to another level if you score the rind with a variety of different patterns. These look really cute with small oranges which you can then hang from your tree.
Why not have a go at making your own unique Christmas tree decorations? They may look like stained glass, but they are actually made from hard-boiled sweets. Preheat your oven to around 180°c. Arrange the sweets in the pattern you want on baking paper. If you want to use a cookie cutter as a mould, then make sure it’s lightly oiled inside. Place in the oven for around 8-10 minutes or until the sweets have melted into each other. Do this when you are cooking something else to save on energy. The leave on the paper to cool. The melted sweets and the cutter will be very hot, so please be careful not to touch until it is well cooled. Before they fully solidify, create a hole with a skewer where you would like to thread your ribbon.
We really hope you enjoy doing some, or all of these, eco-friendly projects. Let’s give our planet the Xmas it deserves!