Have a crafty Christmas

Give your house a truly festive feel with our top tips for eco, budget-friendly, homemade Christmas decorations.

1. Good for beginners

Paper chains are easy and make a nice substitute for tinsel. Why not make them out of old magazines or old wrapping paper?

Instead of baubles for the tree, wrap match boxes up like tiny presents and hang with ribbon or a thread. Hang dried pine cones or seed heads - stick on some glitter for a bit of sparkle.

2. Bake your own decorations

Make a stiff dough by mixing plain flour and water with a dash of salt then flatten it with a rolling pin.

Next, use cookie cutters or a knife to make festive shapes in the dough. Put a small hole in the top of each for fastening them to the tree. Finally, bake the shapes in the oven until hard, then decorate with non-toxic paints and glitter.

Or try stained glass biscuits - sweet and colourful decorations that you can eat. Do as above, but make festive-shaped holes in the biscuits and then fill with crushed-up fruit-flavoured boiled sweets.

Bake until the biscuits are golden brown and the middles have melted, then leave to cool.

3. Homemade wreaths

Bend an old wire coat hanger into a circle. Attach two scrunched-up double pages of newspaper to the wire with sellotape (1 double page will cover about half the coat hanger).

Then cut your material, ribbon or festive-coloured plastic bags into 8cm long strips. Tie them to the wreath. Finally, wrap the hook of the hanger in matching ribbon - or cut it off and attach a thick piece of ribbon to hang the wreath.

You can also add a decoration or bow to the middle for a fun finishing touch. There’s plenty of internet guides to talk you through this crafty challenge in more detail.

4. Plenty of popcorn

Thread plain popcorn onto string to make natural garlands, wreaths and decorations.

For an added festive feel use natural food colours to dye the popcorn.

Good news for birds too - the popcorn can be unthreaded and put out in the garden after Christmas. But make sure it's only plain popcorn - salted, sweet or flavoured will make them ill.

5. Natural festive smell

Take an orange and wrap thin red ribbon around it length and width ways. Glue or pin it to the orange. Leave enough ribbon to make a loop to attach to your tree.

Then press cloves into the orange skin. Cover the whole orange or create patterns. Now sit back and enjoy that beautiful spicy smell.

6. Add sparkle

LED and solar-powered fairy lights are a bright alternative to energy-draining ones. If you’d rather not have fairy lights but still want to achieve that festive sparkle - try our paper chain and match box ideas, above.

7. Too little time, too much to do?

Christmas can be a very busy time. Not everyone has time to make all their own decorations.

For second hand or vintage decorations, try Ebay or Gumtree. Alternatively, you might get lucky with freebies on Freecycle - or ask friends or relatives if they'd like to do a swap.

Take a look in Friends of the Earth Shop for a great range of eco-friendly and Fair trade Christmas decorations