This Christmas, my flatmate and I challenged ourselves to make our festive decorations as zero-waste as possible. We started by getting ourselves a living, potted Christmas tree which we hope to re-plant in the garden in the spring. Then, we got creative! Here I share three of our favourite - cheap, easy and fun - sustainable Christmas decoration ideas.

Scrap Paper Stars

Put your piles of exam notes and junk mail to good use by turning them into gorgeous, hanging paper stars.

You will need:

  • Scrap paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick or double-sided tape
  • Stapler
  • String/yarn/ribbon, for hanging


  1. Cut out 6 even-sized paper squares, around 13cm x 13 cm large.

2. Start with one square. Fold it diagonally in half to form a triangle, and then fold it in half again.

3. Using your scissors, cut 6 straight lines parallel to the longest edge of the triangle, and towards the closed edge. Try to space the lines evenly apart - I usually draw them on first!

4. Unfold the paper square completely. Bring the opposite corners of the innermost cut strips together, and glue one on top of the other. Repeat for the third and fifth strips.

5. Next, flip the paper over and repeat on the other side, gluing together the opposite corners of the second, fourth, and sixth (outermost) strips.

6. Repeat steps 2-5 for each paper square. Then, join the pieces by stapling them together at the base as well as edge-to-edge.

7. Threat some string through one of the 5 corners of your star, ready for hanging!

Popcorn Tinsel

This is always a tasty one, and looks great too! I recommend buying a large bag of whole popcorn kernels rather than instant popping corn: it’s much less greasy to work with, cheaper, and a lot less wasteful in terms of packaging.

You will need:


Super simple! Just start piercing your needle and threat through the centre of each piece of popcorn. Thread as much popcorn as you need to make the tinsel your desired length. Remember to leave 10-15 cm of loose thread either end for securing it to your tree or elsewhere.

Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments

Perfect for your Christmas tree, or hang them up like bunting. We kept ours rustic-looking, but it’s fun to paint them different colours too! We followed this recipe from BBC Good Food.