Eco-Friendly And Frugal Christmas Decorations

Ho Ho Ho and a He Ha How did Christmas become so nasty.

Enormous plastic Christmas trees wrapped in plastic tinsel and covered with plastic decorations – why did this become the norm?

Pre-plastic popularity, aka 1960s, Christmas was more natural, less polluting, less about hyper-consumerism (indeed, even just less about plain old consumerism) and more about family and friends.

Now many buy gifts that they can’t afford to impress people who won’t remember what you bought them by the time it’s Christmas again.

A lot of Christmas presents and decorations end up damaging the environment and your finances. Christmas has become unsustainable and we as a society need to change.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Christmas shouldn’t cost the Earth.

I urge you to have a look at your Christmas tree.

Is it made of plastic? Can it be recycled? Is it covered in shiny plastic tinsel? Does it have plastic decorations? What are you going to do with your Christmas tree and decorations once you no longer want them (there are no easy answers here).

Are any of your plastics old? Could they be shedding microplastics?

Have you considered transitioning to more eco-friendly (and frugal) Christmas tree decorations?

It doesn’t need to be radical – like us where we went all out and removed everything plastic from our Christmas supplies.

You could simply make the conscious decision from this point onwards not to purchase anymore plastic products for Christmas.

Listed below are suggestions for eco-friendly Christmas tree decorations that are also frugal. The focus is on DIY decorations made from natural materials. However, there are many places online that sell eco-friendly decorations if you’re not the DIY kind of person or have a lack of free time.

Orange Peel Ornaments

The ultimate in frugal decorations – use what is otherwise an item destined for the compost bin!

Spiced Orange Pomander Balls

Another citrus decoration: thread some twine through the top and, voila, you have a deliciously smelling ornament.

You could also cut a circle out of the top of the orange for a space to put a tea light.

Make Your Own Rustic Luminarias

Grab some empty cans, some left over paint and a hammer and nail to create your own candlelit luminarias.

How fancy you go is completely up to your imagination.

Rustic luminarias

Painted Wood

Find a decent sized branch that’s fallen from a tree and get someone to cut it into thin rounds. Drill a hole near the top and create a loop with twine.

There’s so many different pictures you could paint: snowman, Santa, reindeers, a Christmas tree, a Christmas star, presents … to name a few.

Painted wooden Christmas decorations

Paper Baubles

These are surprisingly easy to make. So easy that I’ve made these with a classroom full of eight and nine years olds.

Small Paper Stars

I haven’t made these yet, but they do look simple enough for an adult to construct.

5-pointed paper stars

Large 3D Paper Star

Kids from about eight years and older should be able to make these, super easy for an adult to make.

They are also impressive to look at and always provide a bit of the WOW factor for handcrafts.

I don’t recommend using wrapping paper as it’s much too flimsy (and not recyclable either).

It’s also a good idea to avoid using glue when making these as it takes too long to dry. A stapler provides a much better efficiency of time.

Christmas Bunting

There’s no need to purchase plastic bunting year after year. Save your money (and the environment) to DIY or purchase fabric bunting.

Sew, tie or thread – Christmas bunting made from eco-friendly fabric can be used year after year!

No sew, tie your Christmas bunting
No sew, threaded bunting

Tinsel Alternatives

Tinsel may look metallic, however it’s actually coloured strands of plastic. It’s a terrible plastic to have in your household. Little bits of plastic end up all over the house, especially as the tinsel ages and starts breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces.

Rather than using plastic tinsel, one option is to decorate your tree with home popped popcorn threaded with hard berries – the ultimate in eco-friendly!

Popcorn and berry ‘tinsel’

You could also DIY or buy a pom pom garland for your Christmas tree. It’s plastic free and reusable too!

Pom pom garland

Even wooden beads can be used as a tinsel alternative. It’s really up to your imagination: bead colour, size of beads, patterns, wooden figurines – so much choice!

Wooden beads as ‘tinsel’


Here’s a list of eco-friendly and frugal Christmas tree decorations that you could use at home:

  • Orange peel ornaments
  • Spiced orange pomander balls
  • Rustic Luminarias
  • Painted wooden Christmas decorations
  • Paper baubles
  • Small paper stars
  • Large 3D paper star
  • Fabric bunting
  • Popcorn and berry ‘tinsel’
  • Pom pom garland
  • Wooden beads as ‘tinsel’

Please share any other eco-friendly and frugal Christmas tree decoration ideas by commenting below.

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