12 Days of Christmas: 12 Ways of Having Eco-friendly Festive Fun

12 Days of Christmas: 12 Ways of Having Eco-friendly Festive Fun
15 décembre 2023

For our very own 12 Days of Christmas, from December 1st to December 12th, we wanted to share 12 unique ways of having festive fun in easy and eco-friendly ways. 

Here is the itinerary:

📜 Day 1: Make your own recycled wrapping paper

🎀 Day 2: Create mini Christmas trees using scrap ribbon

👘 Day 3: Learn fabric wrapping using the Japanese art of Furoshiki

🍋 Day 4: Rejuvenate your Christmas décor with dehydrated fruit

🥫 Day 5: Light up your home with mood lights using a ‘can-do’ attitude and upcycled cans

🎴 Day 6: Design personalised Christmas cards using leftover materials

☃️ Day 7: Build your own snowmen with empty plastic bottles

🚽 Day 8: Turn finished toilet roll into born-again Christmas décor

🍍 Day 9: Bring pinecones back to life as festive ornaments

🍶 Day 10: Transform jar lids into eco-friendly baubles

 Day 11: Shine bright and turn twigs or cinnamon sticks into stars

🌟 Day 12: Try out some origami and turn any leftover paper into more stars

Why not give yourself a challenge and try out each of the different eco-friendly craft activities each day in your run up to Christmas? Or combine activities together for a fun filled day of decoration making with loved ones? Not only will it be great fun in the cozy indoors for friends and family, but it will also reduce your waste, make your home look fantastically festive... and it will help out the planet along the way!

Day 1 of our 12 Days of Christmas 🎄

Make your own Recycled Wrapping Paper! 📜

In the UK, we throw away an estimated 108 million rolls of wrapping paper each year. 

This equates to enough wrapping paper to reach the moon. 227,000 miles.

It is needless to say that the impact of this waste is devastating. A large proportion of wrapping paper cannot be recycled as it can contains plastic (glitter or laminates). Furthermore, research carried out by Greenpeace uncovered that 1kg of wrapping paper is responsible for more than 3kg of CO2 emissions during its production process (primarily due to the 1.3kg of coal needed to manufacture it).

So, let’s get the Christmas season off to a sustainable start by looking at ways of reducing our wrapping paper waste this year.

Customised newspaper or parcel paper is an amazing way to reduce your wrapping waste. For us, this approach is tasteful over wasteful. Neatly wrap your gifts in newspaper or parcel paper and embellish it with sprigs of holly, twine, potato stamps or vegetable inks to create a unique and personalised gift that can also create a rustic appearance beneath the tree, complimenting interior designs!

Day 2 of our 12 Days of Christmas 🎄

Create mini Christmas trees using scrap ribbon 🎀

Did you know that if every family reused just two feet of ribbon, we could save 28,000 miles of the stuff. 

That’s enough ribbon to tie a bow around the entire planet. 

Sustainability always starts with little bits of creativity. So let’s do something about this!

Cut approximately six equal pieces of each of the scrap ribbons. Tie the fabric strips and the ribbons in a single knot around the trunk of the “tree” (stick), alternating colours between each one. Lay the tree down and flatten out the fabrics and ribbon until they're fairly flat.

There you have it. A quick, practical and decorative Christmas tree composed of ribbons and sticks! 

Email us with pictures of your creations if you feel like giving this a go! 💌

Day 3 of our 12 Days of Christmas 🎄

Learn fabric wrapping using the Japanese art of Furoshiki 🎌

A solution to our new wrapping paper problem can be found in Japanese tradition with the art of ‘Furoshiki’. This involves wrapping your gifts in your preferred sustainable fabric or cloth rather than throwaway paper.

Simply lay your square-cut fabric, place your gift in the centre then bring the opposite corners of the fabric up and over the gift, tying them together on top. The best part is that your loved ones can reuse the fabric themselves, making the wrapping itself ‘the gift that keeps on giving!

Day 4 of our 12 Days of Christmas 🎄

Rejuvenate your Christmas décor with dehydrated fruit 🍋

Are you searching for unconventionally sweet and colourful Christmas decorations? Then look no further than dried citrus wheels! These gems can be so simply created by allowing thinly sliced fruits to dry naturally, or you can bake them or pop them into an air fryer. For ovens, set a low temperature and dehydrate the citrus over a period of three to six hours.

Once dried, string them together and inject some colour into your Christmas décor. By drying the fruit out completely, you are able to store it for upto one year!

The best part is, once the holidays are over, you can use your dehydrated citrus wheels to flavour a tea, add to soups and stews, or to puree into a powder and mix with herbs and spices to create unique seasonings for meats and seafood!

Day 5 of our 12 Days of Christmas 🎄

Light up your home with mood lights using upcycled cans 🥫

Recycle used tins by cleaning them out, applying some paint and adhesive and bring them back to life at Christmas time, complimented with accents of Festive colours and embellishments to help decorate the space in your home whilst having creative fun with family along the way.

The result: some impressive and highly unique mood lighting that doesn’t cost the planet! And smiles all round :)

Day 6 of our 12 Days of Christmas 🎄

Design personalised Christmas cards using leftover materials 🎴

Have you written out your Christmas cards yet? If not, then you're in luck. If you have any materials leftover from previous creative pursuits such as crafting ribbon trees, upcycling wrapping paper or making citrus wheels, then pile them all together and have a go at making some truly unique, homemade Christmas cards!

They are so simple to make and they are guaranteed to stand out and bring smiles to the faces of your loved ones. Make a pop out Christmas tree or a textured frame with fabrics and place a message or drawing inside. The possibilities are endless!

Day 7 of our 12 Days of Christmas 🎄

Build your own snowmen with empty plastic bottles ☃️

Don’t throw away that plastic bottle! Instead, fill it with white cotton wool to give the charming appearance of a snowman to your bottle. Get creative and decorate the outside with ribbons, buttons and marker pens.

Top tip: you can also make little hats for them using caps of deodorant or other bottles!

Day 8 of our 12 Days of Christmas 🎄

Turn finished toilet roll into born-again Christmas décor 🚽

For this artistic excursion, all you will need is some finished toilet roll, superglue and some glitter! Begin by pressing the toilet paper roll down to flatten it, then make measured cuts from ½ an inch to ¼ of an inch. Thicker strips are easier to work with, whilst thinner strips create a more complex and delicate snowflake.

Using six strips of paper roll, with their oval shape, create the core of your snowflake and then build and design around it. You can make different shapes by folding the loo roll strips into half, V-shapes or bunny ears. We recommend laying your design down and deciding how you want it to look before gluing sections together.

Fun fact: Did you know every snowflake that falls has a completely different, intricate design? So, don't worry if yours comes out a little different, let them be unique!

Day 9 of our 12 Days of Christmas 🎄

Bring pinecones back to life as festive ornaments 🍍

One of the easiest and quickest eco-friendly decorations you can make is the trusty pinecone ornament! Simply go on a lovely walk (pinecone hunt) on your own or with loved ones, collect your pinecones, bring them home, clean them and attach a lovely ribbon to the top with some string to allow the unique ornament to nestle within branches once more!

Fun Fact: Did you know that pine cones are the woody fruiting body and reproductive organ of pine trees. The main function of a pine cone is to keep a pine tree's seeds safe. Pine cones close their scales to protect the seeds from cold temperatures, wind and even animals that might try to eat them. Pine cones open up and release their seeds when it is warm and it is easier for the seed to germinate.

Day 10 of our 12 Days of Christmas 🎄

Transform jar lids into eco-friendly baubles 🏺

Do you have any empty jars lying around? You can easily give their lids a new lease of life by painting and decorating them as Christmas tree ornaments. All you need is some festive fabric, hot glue and ribbon or string!

Begin by placing a lid at the centre of the square-cut fabric and wrap it around, hot gluing the edges on the underside of the lid to secure it. This part will not be visible to admirers, so don’t worry about any mess! Now simply tie or tape your ribbon or string around the lids edge. The result is a lovely circular frame of festive-looking fabric which you can embellish with accessories such as stickers and glitter.

Day 11 of our 12 Days of Christmas 🎄

Shine bright and turn twigs or cinnamon sticks into stars ✨

Meet the star of the show. These sustainability stars can be created from nothing more than some twigs and string. Simply bind them together and adorn with further natural embellishments such as pinecones or citrus wheels.

To infuse festive scents into your living space, you can also substitute twigs for cinnamon sticks using the same method! The result is a creative, practical yet pretty little decoration that can be used on the table, the tree or the mantelpiece! They even look great outside because of their natural aesthetic.

Day 12 of our 12 Days of Christmas 🎄

Try out some origami and turn any leftover paper into more stars 🌟

Do you have any old newspaper, card or worn books dotted around your home? Then you’ll love this next crafty tip: origami stars are a resourceful and enjoyable way to decorate your home by upcycling paper into unique, colourful ornaments suitable for the tree, windows or suspended from the ceiling.

Simply cut the paper into any size square, although the smaller the square, the trickier it will be. You can create a seven inch star from a 12 inch square. Although it might seem tricky at first, keep at it: once you learn the steps and patterns, it will become easy.

Follow a video tutorial to help you along your creative journey: https://youtu.be/ht5ti_yoZcs?si=e1tFURGSv0QowycN

Why let the Fairtrade festivities end there? Head over to our YouTube channel to discover new and delicious recipes to try out at home which feature Fairtrade ingredients and take inspiration from the many producers we work with across the globe.

In Feed Me Fairtrade's latest instalment, our Partnerships Manager Sally shows us how to make Arroz con leche (rice pudding), a popular Latin American Christmas food that’s usually prepared in large quantities to easily feed big families. The idea to prepare this dish was inspired our Peruvian colleagues, who told us that rice pudding is a firm favourite in their homes at this time of year. 

Meanwhile, the recipe for this seasonal staple draws inspiration from CAES Piura, a Shared Interest customer and co-operative whom process and export brown sugar from the cane sugar grown in the mountains of the Piura region of Northern Peru. CAES Piura is developing social and environmental projects including a 3 year project that began in 2019 to improve members' family incomes by increasing the production and quality of their sugarcane fields. Have a go at this recipe by watching the video below.

An Eco-Friendly Community

Thank you for checking out our 12 tips for eco-friendly festive fun this Christmas. We each have a part to play in building a brighter future. Although it might not seem like reusing ribbon or upcycling tins can change the world, together, with our community of over 10,000 members, we can make a difference. 

The producers we support across all corners of the globe are those most acutely and disproportionately affected by the changes to our climate. This is a fact we explore often in our member magazines, such as in QR 127 and QR 123.

By doing our bit to reduce waste and promote sustainability, we are also doing something much bigger: protecting producers, the planet and investing in a fairer world.

Please share this article if you found any of our tips helpful or interesting, so we can continue to grow our eco-friendly community. 

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