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Sustainable Alternatives to a Real Christmas Tree

It is hard to imagine Christmas without a beautifully decorated Christmas tree in your home with lights and ornaments sparkling as a beacon of Christmas spirit. While a wonderful icon, every year millions of beautiful trees are cut down and transported around the world to become Christmas trees only to be discarded shortly after December 25. Artificial trees can be a better alternative but can also be made from PVC and other harmful materials – in fact it is said that in order for an artificial tree to have a lower carbon footprint than a real tree you need to use it for 10 or more years.

But we get it, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without the tinsel and bauble laden, flashing focal point, so what are the alternatives? We have found some great sustainable options for you to consider including two of the examples we have on Bawah Reserve.


The Glass Bottle Tree

sunset christmas tree driftwood
At Bawah Reserve, our main tree on the jetty is completely made of recycled glass bottles.
We collect the wine and beer bottles that guests drink to create this tree. Our facilities team made the wire frame and the bottles slide on. The whole tree is up lit with solar LED rope lights.

To create a tree like this at home, all you need to do is collect bottles – a selection of green,clear and brown bottles usually works best. These can be smaller beer bottles or wine bottles depending on the size of tree you want to create. Then you can be as inventive as you like with what you use to hold the display.

This bottle drying rack  is a real help if you don’t have the tools to make the stand yourself.
If you are using a stand arrange the bottles upside down in a triangular shape with the point
at the top.

Screenshot 2020-12-22 at 09.20.10

Or for a really simple design you could stand the bottles upright and use wood or
books to balance the layers.
Add some lighting and you will be amazed at how beautiful this eco-friendly alternative is.  Check out these awesome examples:

Bawah Reserve Glass Bottle Tree: 
3388d6e5-12ed-4612-b597-3bb662b7ad06

 

Pernod Ricard/Jameson Tree:

Pernod tree

 

Beer Bottle Tree:

Beer bottle tree

Image: Crafty Beer Girls

 

The Fallen Branches Tree

bawahreserve-christmas-tree

Why not make use of the hundreds of fallen branches, twigs and driftwood that you can find
all around? A little stroll along the beach or through the park or woods and you and your
family should be able to gather enough to make a tree.  We sprayed our branches white for extra Christmas effect. Get a long broom handle or thick dowel and make small holes in it with a drill. Simply poke the branches into the holes, shorter twigs at the top, longer at the bottom making a triangular Christmas tree shape. Or for an even simpler alternative you can create a 2D flat version by wrapping wire around the branches on both sides, thicker longer branches at the bottom then tiered longer to smaller against a wall. Here are some beautiful examples:

 

Bawah Branches Tree:

11d78db2-18ba-406e-a8f7-e327f11db579

 

Coastal branch tree

Branch-Tree-1

Image: Crafts by Amanda 


The Book Tree

creative-cristmas-tree-56__605Image: Bored Panda

Cast your eye over to that heavily laden bookshelf and you have just what you need to create a book lovers dream Christmas tree. Even if you don’t have many books at home yourself – pop to your local charity shop or library and grab some second hand books at a very low price.  Pile your books open or closed into a series of tiered circles, one upon the other, until you reach your desired height. Remember if you want a tall tree go wide on the base layer to allow the structure to be secure.

c_XHE-KwakFl8F3RY4CN9rLFvwQAza4OXu49CFiHGMcImage: Reddit

 

The Living Tree

Screenshot 2020-12-22 at 09.38.27

Image: Droplets of Eden

Who says a Christmas tree has to be a Nordic evergreen? You can get creative and decorate a plant or tree that you currently have. Look around at the plants sharing your home and give them a festive make over - drape tinsel over leaves, or string lights around a tall ficus plant and its pot. Add a star on top and you are good to go.  Don’t limit yourself to just indoor plants, get some solar powered string lights and
dress up a tree in your yard to spread the Christmas magic outside, too.

Do also check out this list of over 100 amazingly inventive alternative Christmas Tree ideas from Bored Panda.

Get creative with your eco tree inspiration and think about the ways you can re-use, reduce
and recycle the things around your homes and in nature– and do share your work! We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

 

 

 

 

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