OPINION: Waste less and make more this Christmas - Daisy Snow

North Devon Gazette

I write this at half past 11 after an evening of making Christmas garlands for my partners butchers’ shop, Hiron & Sons window display.Â

After a week of full-on work, it was really enjoyable to be able to do something creative, but still in the name of running a small business and although a first for me, I can really recommend making your own Christmas décor this festive season.Â

For the base of the garland, I used cuttings of Leylandii and Blue Fir from our garden, (harvested with blunt secateurs, in the dark, in true Daisy style), then, for the decoration I used holly from the hedge, some sprigs of various evergreen shrubs that my Gran picked for me to use, then some dried oranges and limes kindly given to me by my neighbour who runs a Pot Pouri business, lastly, fir cones and some tiny red glass baubles.

To secure it all together I used jute string saved from going in the bin in our warehouse, a bit of stripped, old electrical wire found in the shed and a needle and thread (from the local tip as it happens!).Â

All in all, four metres of beautiful plastic-free festive garland cost no more than £2 to make! I must admit, I do feel slightly fraudulent writing about Christmas as it’s not particularly a season I enjoy, purely due to the amount of consumption and waste that occurs in this time.Â

It really saddens me that people often feel so much pressure to spend money, putting themselves in difficult financial positions often to buy food that ends up wasted, and gifts that soon end up in landfill. In recent years, since my daughter was born, I have had no option but to get involved with festivities, however, do my utmost to make sure it’s in a way that is still in line with my core values. Â

At some point in December, I go Christmas shopping to get her a few little presents, from the charity shops in Bideford and Barnstaple, I always find that December is a really good time to go, as often people have had a sort out in preparation for an onslaught of new plastic tat and there seems to be always a good selection of great quality toys and clothes.Â

For wrapping paper, I often use pieces that I have saved from presents from the year before, newspaper painted with nice colours or a piece of old fabric – this can all then be spruced up with a bit of ribbon, jute string or foliage from a hedgerow.Â

Another nice idea for tree decorations if you have children or not, is to save any cardboard packaging, then cut them into shapes and paint them, hole punch at the top and then a bit of string or ribbon threaded through.Â

Activities like this are so much more fulfilling and meaningful and will be the type of thing you may end up keeping for years to come thanks to the fond memories of the time spent creating. I hear so many people referring to present giving as though it’s a chore, often resorting to buying something the recipient doesn’t need just for the sake of giving something.Â

In times like this, making something could be the most effective way of giving a gift that is heartfelt and will actually be cherished and enjoyed. Whether it be a simple painting a child has done for their grandparent, framed with an old picture frame, or some cookies baked and presented nicely in a glass jar.Â

There are so many simple, cheaper and nicer ways to approach gifting season than simply buying in the shops. Alternatively, you could give someone some of your time, to help them with something or provide them with an experience they will cherish such as a homemade meal at your house. After all, time is the most precious thing we have.