A sustainable festive season

It’s already December, the last month of this year. And it’s also the most festive month of the year for most people.

I don’t know how you feel towards this Christmas period but I always have some kind of double feeling. I love the cosiness, the burning candles, nourishing winter food, decorated tables, the scent of winter greenery, winter walks, …. but on the other hand I dislike all the fuss, the endless hunt on presents and buying unnecessary  things, the excess and all things commercialised around Christmas. It’s like we’ve lost the essence of what Christmas really means.

I love to keep this season as simple and natural as possible, and as sustainable as possible with little impact on our environment. That’s why I want to share how we celebrate this festive season.

Last weekend we celebrated the first Sunday of Advent. Like the previous years, I made a natural Advent calendar. This time it’s made of a wooden embroidery hoop decorated with some wintergreen branches. All the different bags and envelopes includes an activity to do as a family, together with reading a little part of the nativity story every day.

Counting the 24 days until Christmas…

We don’t set up a Christmas tree, I’d rather want to let them grow wild and free. Instead, I  decorated a big standing candlestick, with collected wintergreen such as, fir, pine, holly and moss for around the candles. The eucalyptus I bought in the flower shop as I really love the scent and color of these leaves. They can’t be found in nature here. The felted birds and angels add some color and loveliness.

To add some more green inside, I made this winter wreath for our wall with the same wintergreens as the candlestick and added some felted mushrooms, rusty stars and dried pine cones. I reused the wreath of willow I made some years ago. It feels so rewarding to use natural materials that can be collected for free and it’s a good reason to go outside to get some fresh air!

On a small table we have the nativity story displayed with fairtrade felted figures. By buying these handcrafted figures, we support women in Nepal and help to improve their living circumstances. Every year we add a new figure to our collection.

As we ran out of our usual tea lights, I’ve been searching for a more healthy and sustainable alternative. I discovered tea lights made of rapeseed oil. So I bought a large box with tea lights made of European and sustainable rapeseed wax. Rapeseed oil is a local product. Some weeks ago my husband and I were away for a weekend and we made a walk in this beautiful region of our country. We saw this amazing tapestry of fields. And the yellow ones are rapeseed flowers fields; these plants makes the soil structure airy and provide at the same time oil for candles.

What a happy and radiant flower!

The oil from these yellow flowers are an environmentally-friendly alternative for paraffin and these candles doesn’t produce unhealthy damps like tea lights of paraffin do. So I’m completely convinced of only using these! I only hope that the box with 240 candles will be enough for this winter…

I love a simple and natural Christmas. I seldom buy decorations but if I’d buy something, it has to be made of natural materials and be timeless. Things found in nature like pine cones, dried seedpods or flowers make the most lovely decorations. For a little sparkly, more festive effect, one could paint the seedpods with silver or gold.

For our table decoration I’ve used tiny second hand vases in different sizes and an apothecary bottle, and filled them with all kinds of wintergreen.

And a combination of my porcelain creations on our seasonable table. The porcelain candle holder is something I bought. I fell so in love with these delicate decorations of butterflies and meadow flowers, as they are a little reminder of spring to come.

To cheer up our street and add some natural beauty in these dark days, I painted this winter landscape on our windows. Although it isn’t snowing yet, it makes me long for those white and still days.

And a little winter quote on our other window, for passengers (and I, when I go outside) to reflect on…

I wish you a peaceful and calm Advent and may these dark days be filled with light in your heart!

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