DIY Christmas & New Year Decorations that are Good for the Planet and Your Bank Balance

16 December 2020

It’s that time of the year again where we decorate our houses to celebrate the festivities. Whether you go all out with your decorations for Christmas and New Year’s, or you prefer a more understated look, they can be quite expensive.

Then there is the environment to consider. All that plastic! And the energy used for lights.

There are things you can do to both reduce the environmental impact of decorating your home and at the same time, keep more money in your pocket. 

Get ready for our DIY Christmas and New Year decorating tips!

Christmas Tree

The tree is one part of your Christmas set up that is hard to do well yourself. So, you are probably going to need to buy a tree, although there are some options that are more environmentally friendly than others.

Artificial trees are probably the least environmentally friendly option as they will eventually go to landfill. If you have one already, the best thing you can do is to use it for as many years as possible. If you look after a plastic Christmas tree, it can last for several years, reducing the strain on your bank balance every Christmas and minimising the amount of Christmas-related plastic that you send to landfill.

There are more environmentally friendly options, though, including a real tree. The key is to make sure you dispose of it properly. This means using a service that recycles Christmas trees so they can be used as compost, mulch, or firewood once you take your decorations down.

Another option is to buy a plywood Christmas tree. Plywood Christmas trees are made from natural and sustainable materials, plus you can re-use them again every year. This is also good for the environment – and your bank balance!


Lighting is another area where the DIY approach is difficult, and, as you know, lights are not a cheap decoration to buy. Plus, Christmas and New Year’s Eve lights can use up a lot of energy, particularly if you cover your house. 

The easiest thing to do is to use fewer lights – as little as possible while still creating the Christmas magic that lights bring. This applies to indoor lights and the outdoor decorations you put up for Christmas.

You should also make sure you use LED lights, as they are more environmentally friendly than traditional bulbs, and choose solar-powered Christmas lights whenever you can.

DIY Decoration Ideas

Here are our top DIY Christmas decoration tips for your NZ home this year:

Christmas crackers

Most Christmas crackers are not very good for the environment, not least because of the gifts that are inside. Why not make your own this year? You can save money while also making sure everything used in your Christmas cracker is sustainable. 

Christmas cracker DIY sets are available, or you can use the finished roll from a paper towel. Add your own homemade gift and decorate with recycled paper, and you're done.

Go to the Beach

The beach is probably not high on your list of places where you can go to get a new Xmas decoration. But hey, let’s do something different this year! It is 2020, after all.

Shells make beautiful decorations to hang on your Christmas tree, and they have zero impact on the environment. Plus, you can collect and use them for free!

Start Sewing

If you are handy with a needle and thread, you can make decorations to hang on your Christmas tree or to decorate your home for New Year’s Eve. All you'll need to buy is the thread, so it’s much cheaper than buying decorations.

Make Paper Christmas Decorations

Remember when you were at school and all those Christmas decorations you used to make? Well, there is no reason you can't do that again this year. Plus, if you have kids, you can get them involved.

Buy Local, Handmade Christmas Decorations

Many local crafts shops and artists make Christmas decorations using natural materials rather than plastic. Plus, buying locally reduces the carbon footprint of the product as there is less transport involved in its production and distribution.

Recycle Your Old Christmas Cards

Old Christmas cards you have received over the years can be turned into a range of new decorations for your home this Christmas. 

For example, go to your local crafts shop and get a foam wreath. Cut your old Christmas into the shape of holly leaves, poke toothpicks in them, and then poke them into the foam. Repeat until the foam is completely covered with Christmas card holly leaves.

DIY Xmas Decorations

You’ll need a bit of creativity and imagination to make your own Christmas and New Year’s Eve decorations. That said, it can be a fun and rewarding experience. A bit like being a kid again!

Plus, you’ll save money in the process, something which is always good at this time of the year!