10 top tips for sustainable Christmas decorating

Deck the halls with our joyful ideas that are kinder to the planet.


1. Create some paper chains

They make a brilliant alterative to tinsel. You can mix and match different colours of paper or stick to two or three tones to complement your own Christmas colour scheme, and they work really well made from newspaper or old magazines. They’re also a fantastic and easy way for kids to get crafty this Christmas. Concertina cut-outs are also really fun to make and can be joined up to make long chains – simple shapes like stars, Christmas trees and snowflakes can be really effective. If you love getting creative with paper, find our lantern how-to here.

paper cut Christmas snowflakes

2. Reuse your tree decorations

Bringing out your store each Christmas and adding a few carefully selected (or homemade!) favourites each year is a wonderfully nostalgic and individual way to decorate. If your tree could do with a refresh, swap decorations with friends and family to save them from going to waste.

3. Bring the outside in.

Attach a loop of twine or fine ribbon to pine cones, acorns or walnuts. These look lovely hung on the tree or added to festive wreaths and garlands, or group together really big pine cones for an alternative mantlepiece feature. Pine cones also make great place card holders for the Christmas dinner table – sprinkle with icing sugar for a snow effect and tuck a handwritten name card in between the scales of the cone.

4.Use popcorn…

Make tasty garlands for your tree or to hang around the house by threading popcorn onto lengths of string. You can hang and eat as you go!

popcorn garland on Christmas tree

5. Make traditional dried oranges

Cut oranges into 1cm slices, pat them dry and bake on a wire rack in a slow oven for about 3hrs. You can always combine with a batch of Christmas meringues to make the most of the oven – or pop them in a dehydrator if you have one. Don’t forget to turn every half hour or so, and keep the heat really low to help prevent them curling up. Once they’re dried, hang individually on the tree, string together to make a garland or add to a wreath or table decoration. Chillies and apple slices also dry really well and look great strung on a garland with your oranges and a few cinnamon sticks dotted between. Whole oranges can be dried but they take much longer (12-14hrs). Cut decorative slits in the rind first, or decorate with cloves for a pomander effect.

Christmas orange pomander with cloves

6. Twist a natural wreath.

Traditionally for your front door, these make beautiful additions indoors too. Bind together some long twigs to form a circle and forage in your garden for foliage to tie in. Alternatively collect and dry autumnal seed heads such as poppy heads, alliums and teasel combs to make your wreath, or wire in some of your decorated pine cones and walnuts and dried orange slices. Find more tips for making wreaths from florist Marisa Martin here.

how to make foliage wreath

Willow and foliage wreath by Flowers with M

7. Use air plants and succulents

If you want a wreath that’s longer lasting air plants and succulents look lovely wired to a twig base, either with other foliage or several collected together, and they’ll keep going long past Christmas with relatively little upkeep.

8. Go foraging

If you are looking for an alternative to a Christmas tree, or want to make an extra decorative statement in your home, go for a wintry walk and look for a fallen branch on the ground that you can bring back and decorate. Pop it in a vase or a pot, or if you have space, hang it up horizontally and suspend smaller decorations at different heights.

tom raffield christmas decorations

handmade steam-bent wooden Christmas baubles by Tom Raffield

9. Try printing

Reduce waste and make your gifts look beautiful with reused and recyclable materials. Try using potatoes to cut out Christmas shapes, making printing blocks to stamp onto recycled brown paper. Seasalt artist Matt Johnson shows how it’s done here.  Alternatively, our wrapping paper is uncoated, so it’s fully recyclable, and made with FSC certified paper.

handmade potato print wrapping paper

hand printed wrapping paper by Matt Johnson

10. Repurpose fabric cut-offs

Old fabric in pretty patterns is perfect for Christmas wrapping. Cut long strips to tie around your presents as alternatives to ribbon, or use fabric to wrap instead of paper – watch our short film to find out how here.

furoshiki fabric gift wrapping

Fabric gift wrap by Seasalt

We’d love to see your ideas for sustainable Christmas decorating. Share your top tips #SeasaltArtsClub