Arts & Crafts, Life & Style

10 Easy Plastic-Free & Zero Waste Christmas Decorations to DIY

Today I’m sharing with you ten easy yet effective plastic-free and zero waste Christmas decorations for you to make this festive season, to enjoy year after year.

With the Covid-19 pandemic still ongoing, and still impacting our lives, many of us are compensating by decking the halls like never before this Christmas to bring a little extra sparkle to our lives.

If you’re also looking to decorate your home a little more, then perhaps some of these plastic-free and zero waste Christmas decorations, made from natural and compostable materials, will be up your street. Retailers may have finally started to realise we want a less plastic Christmas, but the good news is you don’t have to buy anything new as with a lot of these crafts it’s a case of using what you already have to hand.

Before I begin, please, don’t bin your existing decorations just because they’re made of plastic. Remember, as with most items, the most eco-friendly Christmas decorations are the ones you already own. Re-using what we already have is the absolute pinnacle of zero waste. So, if you’ve got reams of tinsel and plastic baubles galore from Christmases gone by, then decorate using them with abandon! I’ve got plastic baubles on my Christmas tree from when I was a kid, and they bring me SO much joy. I’m hoping that one day they might bring my kids joy too.

The Zero Waste Christmas Decorations to DIY

Image of paper bag stars with a blue text box that says easy plastic-free Christmas decorations to make

Disclaimer over, let’s move on to the decorations! Here are 10 of my favourite eco-friendly and plastic-free Christmas decorations to make:

Dried Orange Garland

10 zero-waste Christmas decorations made using natural and compostable materials.

Dried orange slices are pure Instagram catnip, and for good reason – they are stunningly effective. The good news is that if you want your house to look and smell amazing for Christmas, then these garlands are so easy to make. Follow House of Jade Interiors for the full tutorial.

A word of advice. Reserve the dried oranges for indoor decorations only. What I’ve found is that if you use them on outdoor decorations the oranges rehydrate and start to rot. However, if you keep them indoors, and then after Christmas store them in an airtight container, such as a jar or old Tupperware box, then you can use your dried oranges year after year.

Zero Waste Salt Dough Stars Christmas Decorations

Homemade Salt dough decorations

Salt dough ornaments aren’t just for kids, although you can certainly get your kids involved in making them.

This simple yet stylish Christmas scented salt dough garland can be made by following Rocky Hedge Farm’s easy tutorial. If you have any stars leftover, individual stars would also look amazing hanging on your tree or used in your gift wrapping.

As before, it’s best to use salt dough decorations for indoor decor only. And when you take your decorations down it’s best to store salt dough ornaments in an airtight container. Again, if exposed to moisture they can go damp and rot in storage.

If you want bright white stars, then try my tutorial for homemade clay decorations. These are made using cornflour and bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda depending on where you are), and can be stored for use year after year.

Crochet Stars

Crochet stars pattern for a zero-waste Christmas

If you are a keen crocheter, then this one’s for you. If you have any odds and ends of wool leftover from other projects, then try making these beautiful crochet stars. Hang them on your Christmas tree as baubles, string them up in a garland, use them instead of bows on Christmas gifts… The possibilities are endless! The free pattern is available from Persia Lou.

Origami Star Garland

Fun eco-friendly Christmas crafts to try

If you have a collection of paper – perhaps saved from deliveries and old wrapping paper – then this plastic-free origami stars tutorial from Girl About Townhouse is an easy one to follow. All you need is paper, string, and a craft knife. You’ll be seeing stars in no time! Alternatively, this tutorial would be a great one for slightly older kids to follow. Pop a Christmas movie on and they’ll be busy for hours!

Zero Waste Foliage Candle Holders Christmas Table Decorations

10 Christmas decorations made using natural and compostable materials.

I love the complete and utter simplicity of these festive candle holders from Traumzuhause. Note the post is written in German, so use an online translation service if your German isn’t up to scratch or non-existent! However, the good thing is this craft is incredibly simple to put together. If you’ve got some empty wine bottles and some greenery then voila, an instant plastic-free and zero waste Christmas decoration for your dining table. Snippings from your Christmas tree would work, as would some ivy, rosemary, or eucalyptus. Skill level zero. My kind of Christmas craft!

Paper Bag Stars

10 Christmas decorations made using natural and compostable materials.

Got a bunch of paper bags that you are never going to use? Make these beautiful zero waste paper bag stars with this tutorial from The Merry Thought. I would add that if you secure the final bag with a paperclip or two, instead of gluing it, then you will be able to fold your star flat and reuse your stars year after year after year.

Orange Peel Garland

Zero-waste Christmas craft ideas
Image by Laura Pashby

This sweet and simple orange peel garland is a great plastic-free craft idea. The original post that I linked to no longer exists, but try this very similar tutorial from Lovilee instead. Save up your orange peels, and then drape your garlands on your Christmas tree, on your mantlepiece, or dangle them from your window for a lovely scented zero waste decoration. Just remember the rules for dried fruit so that you can re-use these pretty decorations year after year.

Popcorn & Cranberry Garland

Eco-friendly Christmas crafts

If you want an easy zero waste Christmas decoration, then try this Cranberry and popcorn garland from Mountain Cravings. That is if you don’t eat all the popcorn first! Again, this could be a great one for slightly older kids to get involved in.

I’ve also had a go at making a popcorn garland and have picked up some useful tips on making it both plastic-free, and easier to make, so do take a read at that too.

An important note. Although this garland is pictured outdoors, I personally wouldn’t use this garland outdoors, as you’ll attract a host of wildlife. This is no bad thing in itself, but it’s important to bear in mind that popcorn fills birds up with little nutritional benefit, at a time of year when they should be eating fat and protein-rich foods to be able to survive the winter. Save it for decorating your Christmas tree in a low waste way, or for stringing up on your stairs or walls.

Pinecone Garland

Sustainable Christmas decorations to make, using natural and compostable materials

This pine cone garland from Decor Adventures is another great decoration that can be used year after year. I personally would omit the glitter, as regular glitter is a microplastic. What’s more, it turns out even the stuff labelled as eco-friendly glitter is not great for the environment. However, even without the sparkles, this plastic-free garland will still look great on your mantlepiece this festive season. You’ll also have great fun foraging for pinecones on a bracing winter’s walk.

Zero Waste Rosemary Wreath Christmas Decoration

Eco-friendly Christmas decorations to DIY

Finally, this mini wreath garland from The Merry Thought is another easy zero waste make for the festive season that is eye-catching and incredibly effective. Make it using rosemary, and it will fill your home with a lovely scent.

Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I’m off to get busy with some plastic-free crafting!

If you have any other zero waste Christmas decorations ideas, then please do share with the Moral Fibres community in the comments below. I’d love to hear!

And if you aren’t a crafty person, then do check out my guide to eco-friendly and ethical Christmas decorations for heaps of planet and people-friendly decorations. Meanwhile, no Christmas is complete without a Christmas tree, so here’s my guide to the most sustainable and eco-friendly Christmas trees. You can also check out my guide to having an eco-friendly Christmas – it’s bursting with festive ideas that are kind to the planet!

Life & Style, Special Occasions

Best Eco-Friendly Christmas Crackers for A Cracking Time

Are you looking for reusable, plastic-free, or eco-friendly Christmas crackers this festive season? Then good news – I’ve got you covered! Here’s my pick of the best sustainable crackers so that your Christmas goes with a bang!

Christmas crackers have a long history, dating back to the 1840s. However, with statistics showing that an extra 30% of waste is produced and discarded throughout the festive period then attention has turned to the humble Christmas cracker as one element of that waste mountain. And quite rightly so. It is estimated that over 40 million Christmas crackers end up in the bin on Christmas Day. A simply staggering amount.

Some retailers have stopped putting plastic toys inside Christmas crackers. Instead, they are favouring paper, metal, or wooden trinkets. However, some people have been calling for Christmas crackers to be banned.

If Christmas just isn’t Christmas in your household without a Christmas cracker to pop before dinner, then worry not. Some clever people out there have come up with eco-friendly Christmas crackers that either can be used time and time again. Other retailers have started to produce fully recyclable crackers. Yup, even the contents are plastic-free. This means you can still have a cracking Christmas!

Where To Buy Reusable or Eco-Friendly Christmas Crackers

Don’t worry – it’s not hard to track down Christmas crackers that are eco-friendly and sustainable. Here are ten to get you started, catering to a wide range of different budgets.

In order to help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that are purchased through these links. This income helps keep this site running.

Image shows a red and white fabric cracker on a dinner plate with a blue text box that says guide to reusable or eco-friendly Christmas crackers

Keep This Cracker’s Reusable Christmas Crackers

Keep this cracker

If you are looking for something eco-friendly that still performs like a traditional Christmas cracker, then try Keep This Cracker* (£19.95 for six reusable crackers).

These cardboard crackers, available in a range of colours and patterns, are ones that you can pull again and again. All you need to do is replace the snap each time. And the good news is, that at £2 for 12 snaps, it’s not prohibitively expensive to replace them. What’s more, the snaps are recyclable and compostable for a low waste party that goes with a bang.

The crackers themselves are recyclable and compostable and are printed in the UK with water/vegetable-based inks on cardboard from responsible sources. Even though they are made of cardboard, they are durable. We’ve found you can pull them quite hard and they don’t tear.

What I also like is that even the ribbon has been carefully considered. These are woven in the UK using yarns made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.

The eco-friendly Christmas crackers come flat-packed and in plastic-free packaging, ready to pop into shape and fill with your own special gifts. And cleverly, after Christmas, the crackers can then be flat-packed and stored away for next year’s celebrations.

Mummy’s Marvellous Makes Crackers

If you’re not so fussed about the actual bang, then Mummy’s Marvellous Makes sells a set of six eco-friendly and refillable Christmas crackers for £32*. Simply undo the ribbon to reveal the cracker’s contents.

These pretty fabric crackers, which come in a variety of festive patterns, are made from 100% cotton. And for a clever touch, the ribbons are sewn into the cracker to prevent you from losing the ribbons.

Matchimony Crackers

Eco-friendly Christmas crackers from Matchimony

If you’re looking for a touch of luxury when it comes to your Christmas table, then Matchimony’s eco-friendly Christmas crackers* are one to look at. Again, these crackers should be untied to uncover their contents.

At £70 for a set of four crackers, they are not cheap. However, for something that might get passed down through your family, as part of your family traditions, then it may work out economical in the long run. And for that extra touch, each cracker can be personalised with a name or festive message.

Cosmo Gets Crafty

Reusable Christmas crackers from Cosmos Gets Crafty

Cosmo Gets Crafty’s crackers* are made from natural cotton fabric, and embroidered with a rich red thread. Inside each cracker, there’s a robust cardboard tube, where you can pop a gift.

To open the cracker untie the red satin ribbon at either end. The ribbons are secured to the cracker for a sleek look and to make sure you don’t lose them!

Kate Sproston Design

Kate Sproston Design’s pretty Scandi design eco-friendly crackers* (£14.95 per cracker, or £54.95 for six) makes for a sweet touch for any Christmas table.

With a durable cardboard inner tube made from recycled material, these crackers are available in ivory cotton or natural linen, all embroidered with Scandinavian designs. You can select an individual cracker from a choice of six embroidered motifs (sleigh, reindeer, snowflake, bells, bird, or Christmas Tree). Alternatively, you can choose a complete set of six crackers, for use year after year after year.

Wearth’s Reusable Christmas Crackers

Wearth reusable crackers

Wearth has a small but perfectly formed range of reusable and eco-friendly Christmas crackers. Here you can buy single crackers for £14 each*, in a choice of 12 colours. Alternatively, you can pick up a set of 5 for £60*. For the sets, these come in different colourways. You can pick from pastel tones, jewel tones, or a traditional festive red, white, and green tones.

What’s to love about these crackers is that they aren’t just reusable, but multi-purpose. Oh yes, these beauties double up as napkins! Simply “pull the cracker” by untieing it, and then unroll the napkin ready for Christmas dinner. How clever is that?

The Christmas crackers can also be personalised with an embroidered name or message, at no extra cost.

After use, you just need to wash your napkin. Once clean and dry, simply refill the cardboard tube, roll the napkin around the tube, and tie your cracker at both ends. Worried about them looking dog-eared? Well, worry not! Wearth says a little bit of starch can help your crackers keep a good shape.

Plastic-Free Christmas Crackers

Tom Smith plastic-free Christmas

If reusable Christmas crackers aren’t your thing, then what about plastic-free Christmas crackers? This set of six, from Etsy* (£15.95) are entirely recyclable. What’s more, the contents are made from wood, for a lower impact cracker.

Big-name retailers are also coming round to the idea of plastic-free crackers. This plastic-free set of twelve crackers* (£15) from Marks & Spencer is a great budget-friendly buy for larger gatherings.  Each cracker contains a metal cookie cutter, a hat, a joke, and a game task to complete. As such, these crackers will keep you entertained through Christmas dinner and beyond.  The only thing is I would have liked to have seen the fabric ribbons swapped for something compostable or easily recyclable at home, like raffia but you can’t win them all.

What To Put Inside Your Reusable Crackers

If you opt for refillable and reusable crackers you might be wondering what to put in them. Wonder no more – here are some ideas on what to put inside your crackers, depending on the recipient.

  • homemade chocolates
  • foil wrapped chocolates
  • packets of seeds
  • mini jars of jam
  • Christmas tree decorations
  • mini sewing kits
  • mini soap bars
  • pin badges
  • mini hand creams
  • mini bottles of alcohol
  • lip balms
  • hair clips

I’ve opted for small, relatively inexpensive options, but the only limits are your imagination and budget.

Of course, you don’t need to add physical objects. Instead, you could put non-consumerist ideas inside your crackers. I think written questions that get the conversation flowing over dinner would work perfectly. My ideas include:

  • the person’s favourite joke
  • ask the person to tell their funniest story
  • ask the person to share their most embarrassing faux pas.
  • a truth or dare for the person to do
  • ask the person if they can do any impressions or accents.
  • ask the person is there anything you used to like, but that isn’t cool now, so now you deny ever liking it,
  • asking what your darts name would be (e.g. Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor),

I’d love to hear any of your ideas, so please do share in the comments below!

The Best Cracker Jokes To Write

If you are using reusable crackers, then remember that Christmas isn’t Christmas without the terrible cracker jokes you get inside standard crackers. Don’t worry, you don’t have to invent your own cracker jokes. Here are ten of the best (or worst, depending on your opinion!) to get you started. I get my kids to write these on little slips of paper to stuff inside the eco-friendly Christmas crackers.

  • How does Good King Wenceslas like his pizzas? One that’s deep pan, crisp and even!
  • Who hides in the bakery at Christmas? A mince spy!
  • What did the sea say to Santa? Nothing! It just waved!
  • What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck? A Christmas quacker!
  • Who is Santa’s favourite singer? Elf-is Presley
  • Why can’t Christmas trees knit? Because they always drop their needles!
  • Who’s Rudolph’s favourite pop star? Beyon-sleigh!
  • What do you get if you cross a bell with a skunk? Jingle Smells!
  • What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations? Tinselitis!
  • Why has Santa been banned from sooty chimneys? Carbon footprints!

I also get my kids to make and decorate hats out of paper or crepe paper. It’s like a little mini production line, and a great activity to keep kids occupied on Christmas Eve!

If you’re busy getting ready for Christmas then you can also check out my guide to having an eco-friendly Christmas. It’s bursting with festive ideas that are kind to the planet! From choosing an eco-friendly Christmas tree, to help finding eco-friendly gifts and wrapping paper. From tips on plant-based Christmas dinner ideas to tips on reducing your festive food waste, it’s all in there.

Main image used c/o Cosmo Gets Crafty