Zero-Waste Christmas Garland¸

We’ve been talking a lot about the amount of waste that’s generated every year around Christmas time, and how there are many ways to change the narrative of how the festive season affects our environment. We’ve listed a huge range of DIY eco-friendly Christmas presents, and shared how you can make your own Christmas bonbons, and now we’re sharing how to make some of your own decorations that are simple, eco-friendly, and really quite gorgeous. 

Materials:

Citrus peel (fresh)

Small piece of paper (a bit of a used envelope would be fine)

Sharp scissors

Skewer or large needle

Clean, dry cloth

Heavy book

Dried round fruit slices (like apple, orange, lemon, lime, mandarin) – OPTIONAL

String (butchers twine works well, but yarn or garden twine would work too)

Large needle (with a large eye)

Method

To make citrus peel stars

  1. Peel your fresh citrus fruit by hand, getting as much of the white pith along with it as you can. Try to keep the pieces of peel as large as possible.
  2. Draw a star shape on your paper then cut it out. You can choose whatever size you like so long as it will fit on your citrus peel. 
  3. Lay your paper star on the citrus peel and cut around it.
  4. Poke a relatively large hole through one point of the star. The peel will shrink as it dries, and get very hard, so you want the hole to be large enough to fit your needle & string through once dried.
  5. Lay cloth over the open pages of the book.
  6. Place citrus peel stars on one side of the cloth, then close the book so stars are sandwiched between 2 layers of cloth.
  7. Place book in bookcase (make sure it stays firmly shut the whole time!) and leave for a week or two.

To make garland

  1. Cut twine to fit where you will hang it + 30cm (to allow for tying at the ends).
  2. Thread needle with twine. 
  3. Decide on a pattern for your dried fruit and stars. eg “orange, apple, star, orange apple star” etc.
  4. Sew through the top of each fruit round and through the hole in citrus stars until all fruits are on the thread. 
  5. Leaving 15cm at each end, space the fruit out evenly along the twine.
  6. Hang your garland by tying each end around a secure point. 

And there you have it! A sweet, simple and sustainable decoration which can be tailored to your needs and to what you have available to you. The best bit is, if it’s kept away from pets and dust, you can even use the fruit in mulled wine or G&T cocktails once you’re done! At very least, you can compost it once you no longer need it. 

NOTES

* If dehydrating is new to you, you can read all about it here.  

* Cut fruit slices in rounds about 1-2cm thick and dehydrate on low heat (around 55-60C) so fruit retains its bright colour.

* Keep the scraps of citrus skin from when you cut out the stars, lay them out on a basket and dry in the sun for use in tea blends, mulled wine kits, or body products like bath salts or soap.

Permaculture Principle 2: Catch & store energy; 3: Obtain a yield; 6: Produce no waste

For other ideas on reducing waste during the festive season, check out these articles and recipes

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