How to make your own eco-friendly Christmas decorations

Visitors to Alde Garden Campsite & Badger Cottage will know that eco-friendly is important to us all year round.  It’s even more so at Christmas when generally people are more wasteful than ever (read this blog for the shocking facts on that).
The origin of decorating houses for Christmas date back thousands of years & was originally limited to bringing evergreen branches inside.  This tradition of bringing  in greenery during winter was as a symbol of life during the cold, dark winter nights, something which we continue to do in our onsite pub The Sweffling White Horse, every year.
This year we’ve spent some time foraging & have made some beautiful, traditional Christmas decorations from our finds.  They’re plastic-free, eco-friendly & can all be reused or composted once spring rolls around.
You can join in too with making your own eco Christmas decorations or even make some as gifts – they’re so easily personalised!  Follow our how-to instructions below for some rustic, traditional charm this Christmas.
mini trees
these are really easy & make nice table/shelf decorations. Simply cut a small slice of branch, making sure it has a diameter of 30mm minimum & about the same length. Then pick yourself some tree-like greenery. Ours were from various conifers in the garden. Clean up the stalk and find a drill bit which matches the thickness, then drill about halfway down. Insert your greenery into the base. A little bit of wood glue will help it stay put if there’s movement.
stick star
these are so easy and fun! Pick a twig approx. 45mm long with a nice even shape. Ours is willow. Measure the stick and divide the length by 5, and place pencil marks on the stick at each intersection. Then fold the stick where the marks are, trying not to snap it entirely. Cut a couple of bits of green garden wire to secure the star shape, and then tie a ribbon in a bow, with a hanging loop.
stick tree
almost any time of stick would work for this – but we used willow. Cut several lengths of stick – if you want your tree to look neat then make sure the length reduces by the same amount each time. Find some string and a drill bit which is a bit thicker than your string. Now measure and mark the centre of each stick, and drill a hole through. Cut a long length of string and begin threading it through, tying knots to stop the sticks moving about. We finished ours with a star anise, but a ribbon bow would look just as nice.
tree branch candle holders
For this we used some old conifer prunings – but again any wood will do. You will need to borrow or buy a 40mm spade drill bit. Cut your branches to your desired length. Tip – lay the branch down on a flat level surface to make your first cut so you can make sure it stands upright. Before making your second cut, measure up from the base and make marks all the way around and you’ll get your second cut parallel with the first. Check that all 3 holders stand upright steadily. Now drill your hole in the middle, to the same depth as a tea light candle. Once all are drilled, you could tie all three together with twine to give extra stability.
twig reindeer
We love these cute little reindeer tree decorations! Find some twigs in various thicknesses (ours were willow and conifer – but almost any would do), and cut them to length for the body, 4 legs, head, neck & tail. Then find some greenery which would work as antlers – we used conifer. Next find some drill bits – you’ll need them the same thickness as the legs, neck & antlers. Drill your holes and insert the various limbs – wood glue is a good addition here as things may shrink/move as the wood dries out. Finally drill a hole through the middle to insert your green wire or ribbon for hanging.
twig wreath
We used willow for this as it’s nice and bendy and less likely to snap as you twist it. Basically shape the first bit into the size wreath you would like, and then add subsequent bits, tucking them in and twisting them through the circle. Green wire or ribbon will help hold the wreath together, and we added some tiny holly leaves from some new growth on a young holly. Holly berries are mildly toxic – so if you have pets or young children in the house use rosehips instead. Use ribbon or green wire to hang.
wood slices
These can be any shape or size, and decorated as you wish. Cut with a small saw and then decorate. The tradition for festive decorations began to bring colour and light into the home around the shortest day (winter solstice). Choose brightly coloured leaves or berries (check they’re not toxic – rosehips are a nice colourful safe bet). Copydex glue is great for these kind of crafts. For the holly one, we tied the leaves and rosehip together with wire and drilled a hole in the middle of the disc to feed it through.
personalised wood slices
Again – any wood will do – but for ours we used bay. They smell gorgeous! For these, you will need some fine sandpaper and a fine point pen. Cut the slices from your chosen wood using a small saw, and then sand the face you want to decorate so that it’s nice and smooth. You can add names, a personalised message, picttures – anything. Adding the date will bring memories of a certain year when the decorations are used again. Sent in the post, these make a delightful alternative to greetings cards.
We can’t wait to see pictures of your own Christmas creations!  Please make sure to share & tag us on social media or email them to
Merry Christmas!