3 Alternative Christmas Decorations

It’s that time of year again.

After what has been a tough one for many of us, what could be better than sitting in front of a warm fire, with the fragrant aroma of a mulled wine in the air, while you’re making some festive Christmas decorations for your loved ones?

This Christmas at Strive, we’re advocating a natural, zero-waste theme, and we’re all about upcycling and recycling where possible.

#1: Orange Garland

Why not ditch the tinsel and plastic decorations in favour of a traditional and fragrant orange garland? Not only do they look stylish, but they give off a wonderful smell all festive season long.

What You’ll Need:

  • Oranges (one orange will make one complete garland).
  • Twine or string.
  • Cinnamon sticks.
  • Cloves (optional).
  • Chopstick or skewer.


  1. Slice your orange into half a centimetre pieces – remember the thinner the slice, the quicker it will dry.
  2. Make a hole at the top of each slice with your chopstick or skewer.
  3. Once you’ve done that, place all the slices evenly on a wire rack.
  4. Place them in the oven on the lowest setting (remember, you’re trying to dry them not cook them as such) for up to five hours.
  5. Once they’re no longer emitting any juice, take them out and leave them on the rack to dry further overnight.
  6. Thread the length of string through the first slice and tie and decent-sized knot.
  7. Now comes the fun part! Ultimately, it’s up to you how you decorate, the cloves and cinnamon sticks certainly look lovely in an alternating pattern, but it’s your choice.

#2: Printed Wrapping Paper

According to The Telegraph, the UK uses 227,000 miles of wrapping paper every year, and more often than not, it’s tossed straight in the bin after one use.

Even if it does end up in recycling, anything with foil, glitter or leftover sellotape on it, cannot be recycled.

So, why not get the kids involved with making your own wrapping paper this year?

What You’ll Need:

  • Recycled parcel paper.
  • Small potatoes (bear with us).
  • Paint or vegetable ink.
  • A small dish or plate.
  • Craft knife.
  • Pens or pencils.


  1. First, have a good look around the internet to see what kind of pattern you’d like to make. You could even personalise each sheet to reflect the person you’re giving the gift to.
  2. Once you’ve found the patterns you like the look of, you’ll need to then carve them into the potatoes – of course, if you have some stamp shapes already lying around, then, by all means, use those, but we’re just thinking eco here!
  3. Dry each stamp out with a tea towel and then gently etch your pattern out with a pen or pencil.
  4. Take the carving knife and very carefully carve out your shape.
  5. Lay out the paper you’ll be using to wrap.
  6. Make sure you give the potato another dry before stamping.
  7. Put some of your paint or vegetable ink into a dish and press your stamp down.
  8. Once you’ve finished stamping the paper, leave it for about fifteen to twenty minutes to dry.

#3: Fabric Wrapping

Continuing our wrapping paper theme (and something we covered in a previous blog), why not have a go at wrapping presents this year using old fabric?

What You’ll Need:

  • A piece of old fabric – this could be a tablecloth, a t-shirt or even an old bedsheet.
  • If you wish to decorate otherwise plain fabric, you can use the technique we talked about in the previous example, although you should allow it to dry for thirty minutes.


  • Ensure the fabric is flat, with the corner pointing toward you, and then place the present at the centre of the material.
  • Take the closest corner to you and hold it above the present, and bring down the opposite corner, so they’re both above the present.
  • Tie a reasonably tight knot on top of the gift, adjusting the fabric where needed.
  • Take the left corner, that’s still flat, bring it up and twist the fabric. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Pull both twisted pieces of the fabric together and do a double knot at the top to form a handle.
  • If you like, you could embellish with sprigs of holly or other decorations.

Can you think of any other environmentally friendly decoration ideas that you can share with us and our community?

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