This week on Ours to Protect, Show Producer Ethna Quirke visited the beautiful St. Canice’s Cathedral to see the wonderful collection of decorations at their annual Christmas Tree Fair.  This year, as in previous years, there was no shortage of trees made from upcycled and recyclable household waste, which got us thinking about ways that you can do more to have yourself a sustainable little Christmas!  

Did you know that a huge majority of commercial Christmas decorations on the market are either entirely made from plastic or contain some form of plastic, ,uch of which is not recyclable. Here’s a couple of suggestions as to how you can make make your own festive decorations from bits and pieces that may be laying around your home.

Origami Paper Decorations – Do you have any old newspapers or books? Origami decorations are a great way to reuse old paper. There are tonnes of simple and easy tutorials on YouTube for you to choose from.

Salt Dough Decorations – capture your child’s hand of footprints with this simple salt dough recipe and turn them into a five fingered Santa or a foot shaped penguin or use Christmas shaped cookie cutters.  

Here is a simple salt dough recipe: 4 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 1.5 cups water, Acrylic paint, clear varnish. Simply Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Mix your flour, salt and water in a mixing bowl, knead the dough for 10 minutes. If the dough is too dry, add a small bit more water.  Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to 1/2 cm and use cutters to make shapes or imprint hand and footprints. Place the decorations on a baking tray and place in the oven for 1-2 hours, once cooled paint, and when dry cover in a layer of clear varnish. 

Milk Carton Festive Lanterns – Clean, dry, empty milk cartons can be used to house LED tea lights.  Simply cut four triangle shapes into the top of the carton. It is up to you to decide what kind of pattern you would like for your lantern but you will need a cutting blade in order to cut it out as a scissors will not work. Once you have cut out your pattern, use acrylic paint to design the lantern. 

Toilet Roll Stars – All you have to do is cut your toilet roll horizontally into 6 pieces. Then use PVA glue to stick them all together. Once the glue has dried, punch a hole in one of the sides and place twine through it to hang it on your tree.