Jan. 23, 2014

Best gift in the World

I love Christmas time.  I get to spend time with family and have the most awesome food and lots of fun.  I love entertaining and nothing makes me happier than having people to share my table with.  But what does get me a bit scratchy in the lead up to the festive season is the thought of creating clutter and a whole lot of landfill!

Now I must admit that whilst I make my purchasing and entertaining decisions with sustainability in mind, I do have a penchant for the pretty.  I love a beautifully styled Christmas table, gorgeous decorations and I take pride in packaging a gift with thought.

So here is how I tried to reduce our festive footprint in our Christmas farmhouse.  In my world of decorating, tinsel never plays a part.  But anything long term and lasting gets a big tick in my world.

Decorations – making your own

  • Fabric bunting.  My tip is to use colours you love (not Christmas fabrics) that tie in with your chosen colour scheme, you can then use it for birthdays and other celebrations.  My bunting has been to several birthday parties and Christmas’ and is now hanging in my daughter’s room!
  • Fair trade felt balls threaded onto embroidery thread.  These take 10 minutes to make, involve basic sewing skills, are child friendly and look amazing!  Seriously if you can thread a needle you are already half way there.  I got my fabulous felt from Little Chip Handcrafts on ebay.
  • Old jugs as vases.  Everything in my apartment has to multitask.  So old jugs are often displaying foliage one week and pouring caramel sauce the next.  Old jugs can be found at second hand stores for less than $5 and who doesn’t love a bargain.
  • Cosmetics bottles as vases.  I recycle dark brown glass bottles that my essential oils and natural cosmetics came in.  They are great for little arrangements of garden flowers.  I love the texture of the glass with some natural jute twine tied around the screw thread.  Rustic meets apothecary – perfect!
  • Fabulous floral explosion – we were lucky enough to have beautiful blue hydrangeas in bloom at our hired farmhouse.  My recommendation for flowers, do one type of garden flowers en masse in a range of recycled vessels.  If there are no flowers in blooms eucalyptus leaves, buxus, rosemary, or orange blossom foliage look great too.
  • Serviettes – cloth only folks.  Festive dinner is no place for paper.  Cloth serviettes are a great way to tie in your colour scheme as well.  We wanted to create a kid friendly Christmas table so we had rainbow chevron print serviettes.


We all love the drama of unwrapping a gorgeous gift, but the waste can be extreme.  We have a no wrapping paper policy in our house.  Here are a few tips to get you wrapping in style.

  • Use old magazines to wrap smaller gifts.  Interior stylists put a lot of time and energy into creating beautiful images, give them another life concealing your gifts till the big day.  Use washing tape (decorative masking tape that is biodegradable) or jute twine to fasten. 
  • Re-gift bags.  Make drawstring bags that can be used over and over again.  I call them re-gift bags as my hope is that they will be handed on.  They are also great to use for packing small things when travelling or popping a cardigan in so that it doesn’t catch your keys in your handbag, eek!
  • Santa sacks, Christmas stockings or a colourful pillowcase with a ribbon around the top all avoid the need for individually wrapped gifts.  Confession: I still use mine 30 years later!

The gifts themselves

We made lists.  Pure and simple everybody got what they wanted and was rapt.  There was room for creative freedom and we didn’t get any ‘cringe’ presents, it was ace!


We have made a book wish list for our daughter.  This has worked extremely well over the last few years and has enabled friends and family to add some awesome titles to our bookshelf.

One in one out

We have started a one in one out policy.  This worked well (first time) and my 3 year old got to choose 5 toys that we would donate to other children.  Some went in charity bins, some on Tushare, others to neighbours with younger kids. 

I hope this gives you some ideas for reducing your festive footprint next time around.

Have a fabulous week,


* Please add any wonderful ideas you have in the comments section below.

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