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10 Top Tips For Eco-Friendly Christmas Decorations

The festive season is ‘the most wonderful of the year’, but unfortunately along with the Christmas indulgence comes a lot of waste. In the UK 6 million Christmas trees are said to be discarded every year. Around 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will end up in landfill – which is more than the weight of 3.3 million emperor penguins. And 500 tonnes of fairy lights are dumped in London alone, every year! With buckets of glitter and non-recyclable plastic tinsel everywhere, sustainable Christmas decorations can be tricky, but with our tips you can make your home look festive and care about the planet.

Christmas Trees

Christmas trees are a festive staple, but do you know the environmental impact your tree choice can have?

1. A locally grown, real tree can have a smaller carbon footprint. Make sure that you purchase from a British grown source such as the Forestry Commission or a local sustainable tree farm.

2. Do not put your real tree in the general waste, instead look for Christmas tree or garden waste recycling schemes run by your local council, drop off points run by the Forestry Commission, or local charities which provide Christmas tree collection services during January in exchange for a donation.

3. Consider purchasing or renting a Christmas tree in a pot. These trees can be replanted after the festive season either in your own garden or by the supplier. You can even pick them up in supermarkets now.

4. Artificial trees though reusable, are ultimately destined for landfill and take a long time to break down due to the type of plastic they are made from. In order to equal the carbon footprint of a real tree you would need to reuse your artificial tree for at least 12 years. Don’t replace artificial trees yearly, and once your tree has had its final festive season recycle as much of it as possible. Try repurposing your tree into a reusable wreath, mini tree or garland to give it a new lease of life.

Making a Christmas Wreath


With help from Mother Nature, a touch of creativity, and some assistance from Pinterest, your home and tree can be beautifully decorated with eco-friendly merriment.

5. Try making your own natural door wreath by collecting holly and other natural materials. You can even reuse an old wire coat hanger as the base. If you don’t have the time (or the patience!) to make your own, look out for locally produced real wreaths when selecting your tree, at your local garden centre, or at a Christmas market.

6. Prefer a glitzy wreath you can reuse year on year? Try following a tutorial to craft one from old ornaments and baubles or recycled tinsel. For a more natural version use pine cones collected from a local forest. Along with all of your decorations, make sure you store your wreath safely so it lasts.

Eco-Friendly Christmas Painted Pine Cones

7. Natural food items are a great biodegradable option for decorations. Dried oranges and cranberries can be used to make a festive garland, and so too can popcorn. Cinnamon sticks and scrap fabric make easy eco-friendly tree ornaments. For a fun festive craft with the children or grandchildren, try making gingerbread salt dough ornaments.

8. Have some old champagne or wine corks hanging around? Try painting some adorable reindeer ornaments like our picture above. 

9. Recycle old books from charity shops into delicate paper snowflakes and hang them on your tree.

10. And finally, if you absolutely have to buy new decorations this Christmas, avoid anything with the year on so that you can reuse them for future celebrations.

Preparing for Christmas can be stressful but our easy green swaps can at least prevent you putting more pressure on our planet. Check out our Pinterest account and dedicated board for more ideas. During the festive season buying insurance may not be at the top of your list, but UIA Mutual ensure you and your family are offered competitive premiums on your Home, Car, Travel and Pet Insurance – so that’s one less thing to worry about.

Find out more about how UIA Mutual insurance can help you and your family.