Christmas decorations are another area where Australians spend up big! In 2018, RACQ reported that $1 Billion was spent on Christmas decorations across Australia. This is a worrying statistic, as it suggests that many Australians annually change their Christmas decorations. This begs the question, what happens to the Christmas trees, lights and baubles from the previous festive season?

Sadly, a lot of this material ends up in the general waste bin.  Unclear package labelling and decorations made of mixed materials make it hard to know which ornaments can and can’t go in the recycling bin.  These days, Christmas decorations are typically made out of some kind of plastic which can potentially take 450 to 1,000 years to degrade in landfill according to Planet Ark’s recycling programs manager Ryan Collins.

In recent years, Australians have modernised their Christmas menus to reflect our climate and celebrate the beautiful diversity of seasonal produce over our hot summertime. Why not embrace this spirit by decking the halls with some Australian natives, Aboriginal art and upcycled decorations, instead of tinsel, plastic holly and fake snow? This way, we can celebrate the unique flora and history of our country, save our hard-earned dollars and give the environment a hand!

Day 6 hopes to provide some different approaches to adorn your Christmas tree, decorate your household and set your table for Christmas Day. 

Alternatives to purchasing decorations

1. Hire don’t buy!

As we discussed previously in our Day 2 – Christmas Tree post, The Brisbane Tool Library has Christmas trees and decorations (including fairy lights) for hire. However, it is important to note that they are only open until the 14th December, you will need to get in quick so you can keep decorations you hire over the Christmas period.

2. Organise a swap and share event

By bringing unwanted Christmas decorations, you can readily swap with others to re-fresh or change your Christmas style without breaking the bank or the environment! Interestingly, an initiative like this was actually facilitated by IKEA Greenwich in the United Kingdom this year on the 30th of November.

3. Get your craft on!

Get a little bit crafty and make your own, with inspiration from our homemade and upcycled decoration ideas below!

Homemade and Upcycled Decoration Ideas

We’ve split up this crafty section into different decoration styles that we have tried in the past or seen online, from utilising your trusty recycling bin, visiting reuse resource destinations and connecting with your surrounding environment and fauna.  These ideas can be used to transform your living space with a quirky and unique atmosphere for your Christmas gathering!

1. Upcycled decorations

In yesterday’s post we covered some upcycled creations that made some great gift options. This concept can also be extended to how you decorate your household, with some alternative ornaments made out of materials like circuit boards (check out Zazzle for a variety of creations), felt and fabric off-cuts.

2. Recycling bin decorations

By now you’ve probably picked up that we love to raid our cupboards and recycling bins to utilise our food and drink packaging to create things. Why not try some decorations, puppets and display scenes like these ones below!

3. Origami and paper based decorations

These are not your average paper-crafts that you created in school for Christmas! Each of these options have unique character and are accompanied by a detailed tutorial by each creator. 

4. Natural compostable decorations

Just walking around your local park or trimming your backyard plants can provide lots of resources for natural decorations and create that special Christmas ambience in your home. Raid your spice cupboard not just for some delicious flavours but opportunities to create some Christmas flair! Here’s a collection of some gorgeous table settings and decorations that have been created with this in mind:

Even your herb garden can provide you with the resources to decorate your household. Does this pique your curiousity? Nitska Noll from Wine County Table has created a beautiful tutorial about Christmas decorating ideas and has a YouTube clip with a how to make mini rosemary wreaths!

5. Australian Native flora decorations

Australia has some incredible fauna like no-where else on the globe! We can bring the Christmas cheer with our own native species, like these crafty creations from garlands, to wreaths and table setting themes!

Also, here’s some Instagram inspiration for table-settings with poincianas for Christmas:

There’s also a detailed video guide segment by Sophie at Gardening Australia (Series 28, Episode 37) for Native Australian Christmas Wreathes.

However, if you live in Brisbane and feel like some additional guidance in this space, Biome is hosting a workshop with Emma Healy from Cultivate Collective in their Paddington store on the 15th December, “Foraged Eco Christmas Wreath Weaving”. At this workshop, Emma will outline options of foliage which are accessible in Brisbane backyards at this time of year! The wreath will also feature foraged seedpods, dried fruits, gumnuts and berries.

What about a waste disposal and a recycling guide for Christmas?

We’re glad you asked! We will be doing a detailed waste disposal and recycling guide closer to Christmas Day that you can utilise to help determine which bin things need to go in, identify opportunities to maintain items for next year or present you with some alternative pathways for your unwanted items.  

Share with us!

Today’s feature image is of Christmas Decorations from 2016 created by the Warlukurlangu Art Centre, Yuendumu, which is a not-for-profit organisation that is 100% Aboriginal-owned by artists. These artists hail from the remote desert communities of Yuendumu and Nyirripi in Central Australia. Koskela also features an extended range of Christmas decorations that are proudly Australian made if you don’t have time to be crafty this Christmas and want to support local communities.

The preparation of today’s post has inspired us both to make some more conscious choices with our decoration choices for our numerous gatherings over this festive season. We hope it has provided you with some ideas that you’ll bring to decorating your space for Christmas this year!

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