December is oh so close. Depending on where you live and what you celebrate, it may be time for a certain tree to make an appearance in your home. The excitable among us may have already had the tree up for the last month, but the purists, which includes my family, probably have it up mid December and down by January 5th. I’m not going to delve into the real vs artificial debate, that’s a whole post on its own and you’ve probably decided what you’re going to do by this point, but I did want to take a moment to talk decorations. I’ve been in a LOT of cities over the last six weeks, and everywhere I’ve gone I’ve seen a plethora of decorations being sold. Nearly always plastic, colourful, and easily breakable. It seems pretty clear that a lot of those aren’t going to go the distance, and eventually will end up in our least favourite place, landfill. So I’ve collected my favourite ethical and zero waste alternatives that I’ve found from across the internet.

While we’re on the seasonal subject however, I’ve also got an extra exciting announcement! From December 1st I will be running Ethical Advent. What’s that you ask? Well it means that from December 1st until Christmas I will be posting every day with ideas for ethical gifts that you can buy and make for the people you love. I’ll be highlighting my favourite ethical companies, recipes and DIYs that have gone well for me in Christmases past, and the closer we get to Christmas day itself the easier the gifts will be to whip up last minute, to help you have a happy and ethical holiday season. Hooray!

But first, decorations.

Bake Your Own

I mean really, isn’t this always the best option? No matter your age, there’s nothing like the added reward of getting to eat your decorations when the tree comes down. Biscuits work best for hanging because of their structural soundness, just punch a hole and hang! Below are some of the best recipes (both vegan and non vegan depending on preference, but non-vegan recipes can be adapted with substitutes). The added fun of any of these decorations is that you can make them with friends and family; step back from the over-commercialisation of the holidays and enjoy spending time together making something you will all enjoy.

Orange and ginger stained glass biscuits
Snowy owl christmas tree biscuits
Gingerbread bunting
Lemon star biscuits
Orange and cardamom tree biscuits
Gingerbread wreath
Vanilla snowflakes
Chocolate snowflakes
Homemade candy canes
Clove oranges
Christmas candy ornaments
Cinammon orange garlands

Use Nature’s Gifts

Why spend money on decorations when you can simply go outside and find a ton of free supplies from mother nature herself? You can also turn this into a relational, non-commercial, experience by taking a foraging trip with your loved ones. Head to the nearest forest, take a walk and see what you can find to decorate your home. Below are some ideas, why not use them as a starting point for coming up with your very own? Maybe you’ll birth some new traditions.

Pinecone wreath
Herb wreath
Rustic twig ornaments
Pompoms and pinecones
Popsicle sticks and twigs ornaments
Homemade cornucopia
Fruit ornaments
Cinammon stick christmas trees
Wood slice ornaments

Reuse and Recycle

Do you ever find that things accumulate in your home through the year? Slightly broken things you never fix, things you don’t know how to reuse, things people give to you. This is a great time to save some of those items from a sadder fate by repurposing them into decorations. Below are some of the most interesting ideas I’ve seen but there are plenty more out there depending on what you have to hand, have a google and see what you can find.

Broken CD mosaic ornament
Origami stars
Bottle cap reindeer
Recycled Christmas wreaths
Ring pull baubles
Toilet paper roll santas
Gift bag garland
Sock snowman

Oh and finally, while not a tree decoration, you really can’t beat Christmas potpourri.

I hope this has given you some inspiration for the festive season. This year I would encourage you not just to try getting crafty but also to make everything you do more about relationships with people you love than the stuff you are surrounded by. All of these ethical decorations can be created with others, and really that’s more fun than the finished product. Ethical Advent starts in a few days and, alongside the ethical things you can buy, I’ll be posting a whole ton of gifts you can easily make to add that personal, caring touch that things never can.

Until December (SO SOON), stay magic y’all.