It’s December (how did that happen already?!) and officially time to roll out the decorations and get our homes looking super Christmassy ready for the party season.
We know you love interiors as much as we do – and we know you care about our little planet too, so we’ve put together this Conscious Christmas guide to help you achieve a beautiful, eco-friendly Christmas this year.
We’re talking natural, low-carbon, gorgeous décor! Find out how to decorate your home, dress your Christmas dining table, find unusual gifts for hard-to-get people, and wrap them all beautifully in sustainable style this season.
Did you know?
38,000 miles of ribbon, $11 billion dollars/pounds of packing material, 108 million rolls of wrapping paper and 15 million live Christmas trees are thrown away each Christmas!
Here’s how we can change that.
Tinsel and the environment
If you’re on our blog, chances are you’re not a big, multi-coloured, sparkly, tinsel kinda person – which is good because tinsel isn’t great for the environment. It’s typically made with non-recyclable plastic and foil; it won’t degrade and can’t easily be repurposed (other than into other decorations).
If you do love a bit of bling, keep hold of it, take care of it, reuse it and keep it for years. Don’t buy into throw-away Christmas trends.
The Christmas tree – should you fake it?
You may think, with so many real trees being disposed of each year, that artificial trees are better for the environment. Well, there are two ways to look at this.
According to the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, the production processes of artificial trees mean that real Christmas trees are, in fact, more eco-friendly.
However, it’s not that black and white (or green). If you keep your fake tree for more than 10 years (some experts say 20 years), you will go some way to offsetting the carbon footprint. Similarly, if you buy a real Christmas tree with roots and replant it, you’ll not only benefit the planet from the CO2 it absorbs while it grows, you’ll extend that further by keeping it alive after use.
If you don’t have a garden to plant a tree in (or you’re not great with plants), you could rent your Christmas tree from growers who will collect and replant your tree when you’re done.
Alternatively, you can recycle your real tree into chippings for parks and gardens.
Decorating your Christmas tree consciously
In an ideal world, you’d decorate your tree with natural garlands, reusable fabric flourishes, twine, biscuits, fruit, eco-friendly Christmas decorations, mistletoe and beeswax candles. However, some of those aren’t always practical with children and pets.
Baubles aren’t all bad (yes, we really said that), and here’s why…
There is something wonderful about opening a dusty old box filled with family heirloom decorations. These ornaments come with happy memories and wonderful stories – both of which are the key ingredient to a beautifully conscious home. We talk about this a LOT in our Interior Design Masterclass.
The message here is to keep and reuse, year after year. If you have plastic, foil and sparkle gifted from loved ones, treasure those trinkets and enjoy their presence every Christmas.
Eco-friendly Christmas Table Décor
Less is more when it comes to decorating the dining table for Christmas guests. For starters, it’s practical not to go overboard on the festive table settings to allow people the space to dine in comfort.
The centrepiece should be the star of the show, and nothing does that better than nature. Go outside and forage (or order from local florists) for pinecones, foliage, holly and berries, or decorate with food like dried orange, cinnamon and apple. Adorn along the centre of the table with beeswax candles, natural tea lights or LED warm lights.
You could consider suspending your garland above the dining table for a more minimal look.
For the place settings, organic linen napkins and cloths sit beautifully alongside wood, glass, brass, leaves and natural ceramics.
As for Christmas crackers, it’s time to boycott the tiny plastic tat and throw-away glittered wrapping. Fabric crackers are more stylish, can be reused year after year, and can be filled with thoughtful gifts or treats (as they were originally designed in Victorian times) that mean so much more than a plastic magic trick.
When you stop to consciously buy gifts rather than jumping onto Amazon for the latest best sellers, you’re mindfully buying for those who matter in your life. Fast, mindless shopping often leads to equally fast disposal, and rarely says to the recipient that you’ve put care and attention into their Christmas presents.
Instead, slow right down (we know this won’t help you if you’ve left gift buying until the last minute) and shop locally if you can. Christmas markets, Etsy, local makers, and small, boutique shops offer unique gifts that aren’t found elsewhere. They’re personal, handmade, eco-friendly and often more sustainable.
If you’re in the UK, these Christmas markets and events offer something special for those who love interiors. Check these out:
These pop-ups promise unusual, rare and lovely gifts for people who have everything – or who would appreciate something thoughtful, creative and artistic.
Alternatively, think about gifting experiences. How about a course or event? If you know someone who loves interior design, how about a gift voucher for the Conscious Cribs Masterclass? It may be a shameless plug, yes, but it’s a wonderful gift.
If you’d like to win a place on the on the next Interior Design Masterclass in January, simply follow us on Instagram, share the competition post and tag a friend – or sign up to our newsletter. We’ll be announcing the winner on the 22nd of December.
Eco-Friendly Christmas Wrapping
When it comes to wrapping gifts, the rule is to stay away from glitter, foil and plastic. Recycled paper looks more stylish and can be dressed with foliage, reusable ribbon, twine, Christmas cookies and more. If you’re unsure whether your wrapping paper is recyclable, screw it up into a ball – if it doesn’t stay crumpled, it’s probably plastic-based.
If you can, avoid sticky tape completely and choose string or fabric instead.
The Japanese method of furoshiki uses fabric to wrap gifts, which is then tied into a loose knot. Organic linen looks stunning and can be adorned with a note, eucalyptus leaf or garland for an eco-friendly Christmas touch.
The season of sustainability
Even if you only adopt some of these eco-friendly Christmas touches, you’ll be making a big difference – and you may even inspire your guests to follow suit when they see how beautiful eco looks at Christmas.
You’ll be guaranteed a place on Santa’s nice list – and you’ll enter 2022 with some major brownie points and green credentials too.
From all of us at Conscious Cribs, we wish you the best time this season.