Christmas is one of the biggest traditional holidays around the world. With around 2 billion people celebrating every year and every clothes shop numbing our brains with Christmas songs for 3 months prior to the Christmas Season. However, despite the firmly planted traditions, how we celebrate the holiday has changed throughout the decades and e could be due a new way to satisfy our festive spirits. Our first part of this series will be around Christmas Trees but we will also be covering some alternative ornaments for your tree and some “forgotten” Christmas traditions!

In the western world Christmas is still a religious holiday, but the focus has largely shifted to gift giving, cosy films and nativity plays. This has had a big thematic change over the years mostly due to a change in the average quality of living over time, but once upon a time Christmas was mostly considered a public event. People would meet in streets and towns to celebrate with each other, exchanging gifts among the community.
In the early 19th century this began to shift, with the event becoming a more private family affair, leading to people sourcing individual trees and focusing more on close and extended families.This led to individuality becoming a bigger part of the holiday, with individual and unique Christmas Traditions being born. 

This brings us to now. We’re living in a world which is constantly challenging the ways a lot of us have lived for a long time, natural resources dwindling, climates are shifting and across the world and there is a lot of political unease just about everywhere. So, in response to all these changes, we have a few suggestions for new Christmas traditions and some budget and climate-friendly alternatives.

Swap out the tree!

Although Christmas Tree farms aren’t always unsustainable (they’re largely grown on land that isn’t useful for anything else), the logistics of cutting down a tree and keeping it for just a week aren’t exactly the most logical. Consider transporting the tree and what you do once you’re finished with it – chances are it either goes straight to the tip after shedding needles all over the house, or it sits in the back garden waiting to be burned. Though it is worth mentioning there are companies available who will collect and recycle your tree properly.
So, what could be done as an alternative? Although not accessible to everyone, if you have the garden space you could simply plant a tree. It may not hold the same charm as having an indoor tree to put presents under, but you could still decorate an outdoor tree and over time, sentimentality will become a part of its presence as it grows and lives alongside you. It also would mean there’s less clean-up around the house, as well as the mental and physical health benefits that come from interacting with nature. 

If green fingers aren’t really your idea of Christmas, then you could consider adding an “artsy” twist to your Christmas with a “recycled tree”. These are a novel and popular idea that are often sold online (some money-making potential) and are usually small paper ornaments, but we could do one better. There are hundreds of ideas and guides online for more inspiration but one which appeared to be the ‘friendliest’ in terms of DIY projects – the only hitch being that you’ll need 25 containers of some kind. Simply put, all you’d need to do is cut/assemble a triangle (or tree) shape from wood, big enough to host all 25 of your chosen containers. Number the containers 1-25 and hang from the tree, either using glue or screws. If you use screws, then be sure they aren’t sticking through the back as this could damage walls or hurt little fingers! Then all that’s left is to add some kind of gift or treat and you have yourself your very own advent tree. This will be much easier to store and invites much more interaction for the family, all the way from build to use.

A tree is for life, not just for Christmas. So why not keep your unneeded tree? There are several things you could turn a tree into with the right tools and a little free time. If you’re an avid outdoors adventurer, you could turn your left-over tree into a walking stick. Ask father Christmas for a woodworking kit and you’re halfway there already. If you get heavy snowfall each year you could turn them into some handy snowshoes. Or you could quite poetically turn the leftovers into decorations for the next year, which we will cover in Part 2!

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