Skip to content

7 Eco-friendly Christmas tree decor ideas

When it comes to Christmas decorations, there are so many better ways to get creative with your ornaments than simply settling for plastic store-bought options that end up tangled, torn and broken before the end of the holiday season.

Bookmark article to read later

By Sacha van Niekerk | December 19, 2021 | Living Room

Try out these eco-friendly decoration ideas for your Christmas tree:

Forage for decorations

The outdoors is home to some of the most beautiful ornaments to rival even the most expensive store-bought offerings.

Pine cones, green foliage, seashells, leaves, flowers (fresh or dried) and seeds of all sorts can be foraged for. You can get creative, turning what you find into something even more exquisite, or let the natural beauty shine through.

Metallic permanent markers, paints and glitter glue can be used to draw festive designs on anything from leaves to rocks. Use wooden pegs or yarn to tie your ornaments to your tree.

Dried oranges

A cross-section of orange perfectly replicates the stunning tinted glass seen in churches and cathedrals all over the world. Their shape is also reminiscent of a bauble.

Of course, you cannot tie a fresh slice to your tree without attracting ants, so instead, dry them out in the oven on low heat until there is no moisture left. Do not allow the edges to blacken or brown.

Once they have cooled on the baking sheet, thread cotton through the rind and tie it into a loop to hang onto the tree as an ornament.

Feel free to add additional glitz with the use of glitter and marker or by stringing beads onto the cotton loop before hanging.

Clay/dough creations

If you're in the mood to get crafting these holidays, clay ornaments may be the perfect activity for you.

There are kits online, but alternatively, you can make your own home-made dough by following a tutorial online – the aim is to have fun. Mould the clay using your hands, a rolling pin and shape using cookie cutters or a dull kitchen knife.

Add detail by pressing flowers or doilies into the clay with a rolling pin or by scoring the clay with a pencil or other tools you may have lying around. Once the clay or dough is dry, you can also think about painting it. These also make terrific gifts.

Paper snowflakes

This is a super-easy and effective method for getting your tree looking Christmas ready. Use recycled paper from old gift cards, envelopes, gift bags and wrapping paper. However, white paper works well too.

Fold the paper into squares and begin cutting out shapes. Unfold and prepare for an exciting surprise. These little paper snowflakes can be strung onto a cotton thread and wrapped around the tree or used as a garland.

Macramé stars

Macramé is the art of tying knots in order to form patterns and designs. Since the thread used is natural and not plastic, it has a longer shelf-life (no tearing, pulling or breaking too easily).

Plus, when you’re done with it, it can be recycled as opposed to thrown in the rubbish bin where it will undoubtedly end up in a landfill. Use Christmas-themed colours like green, red and gold for extra festive flair.

Locally made ornaments

There are many boutiques, markets and small online businesses boasting unique handmade ornaments perfect for decorating your tree. Rather than cheap plastic, these ones are made from more natural materials, such as soft fabrics, carved wood and glass.


No tree is complete without a few presents’ underneath. Instead of buying new rolls of wrapping paper every Christmas, start saving paper, gift boxes and bags from birthdays and other celebrations throughout the year.

Those can all be reused if kept in good condition. As a fun activity for kids, old newspapers can also be decorated with paint and pens with Christmas-themed characters, making for a stunning home-made twist on what is usually a far more commercial trend.

Scrap fabric can be bought from clothing factories or picked up free of charge and can be used to either make satchels for carrying gifts or to tie around presents. This way people still have the excitement of “unwrapping” a gift without the waste.

This originally appeared on IOL