Ways to embrace a sustainable Christmas with Royal Doulton

At Royal Doulton we embrace slow living and sustainability. Creating your own Christmas decorations out of sustainable materials is a great way to reduce waste at Christmas, and also a lovely activity to carry out to slow down and enjoy the holiday season.

Here we speak to the stylist, Elkie, from our recent Christmas photoshoot to find out ways to be more sustainable, while enjoying a crafty Christmas time!

Elkie, on the recent Christmas photoshoot for Royal Doulton, you created delightful star decorations using our Royal Doulton packaging, can you talk us through how you made these:

Sure, to make the star decoration, simply follow these steps:

  1. Using card from the Royal Doulton packaging (the plate inserts have cute white spots on them) draw a five point star using a pencil. I free-draw mine, but you could download our star template or you could draw around a large star cookie cutter. 
  2. Cut your star out using scissors.
  3. Draw around your star on another piece of Royal Doulton card to make another one. Cut this out.
  4. Take star number 1 and draw a line from the top point to the centre. You want to cut down this line a couple of millimetres either side so it’s a similar thickness to the card.
  5. Place this star on top of star number two and mark the middle. On star number two draw a line down to the bottom of the star from the centre point you marked, then cut the same width line as star number one.
  6. Slot star one and two together and you should have a lovely three-dimensional star.

You could even make multiple stars and in different sizes, and with some help these would be fun to make with kids. They look great dotted down a dining table among candle sticks and small vases of winter foliage and berries.

Embracing sustainability is so important all through the year, but at Christmas when there is a lot of waste packaging from new gifts, it’s even more important to find ways to embrace a mindful way of living.

What tips would you recommend for reusing packaging as storage in the home?

I never throw away a sturdy cardboard box, they always come in useful. The Royal Doulton mug boxes are brilliant to store away smaller precious decorations. The divides mean they are not all squashed together, you can also use them to group certain decorations together. I wrap a few in tissue for even more protection.

These boxes would also be great for some home-baked Christmas cookies, stacked up with tissue around them, some parchment paper over the top, wrapped with some red and white butchers twine and a sprig of pine, who wouldn’t want to receive that as a gift?

In a more general way these boxes are great for home storage, dividing up and storing all those endless wires, great for home crafting bits and smaller toys. I have also taken off the lids and used them as a drawer divider for my make-up and jewellery!

Eco-gift wrapping is a new trend that’s not only friendly to the earth, but also aesthetically pleasing for anyone who embraces neutral and organic decor.

What tips do you have for making gifts look beautifully wrapped using sustainable or recycled materials?

The three gifts pictured below are all wrapped in a sustainable way. Everything can be recycled, composted or reused after. Due to the nature of the wrap being sustainable it has a very neutral and natural tone which looks very chic under the Christmas tree.

For one of the gifts I have simply used a card gift box and wrapped a white paper ribbon around it, attached using brown paper tape underneath and a paper bow to finish off.

Another I have wrapped in brown parcel paper (no glitter, print or coating so it can be recycled), again using paper ribbon, a star made from Royal Doulton corrugated packaging which can also be used as a gift tag and a sprig of Christmas foliage. 

And the final gift is wrapped in a piece of linen I had as a cut off from another craft project. I just folded it around the box and tied in a knot. Again, added a sprig of green. No waste, fabric can be used again, and foliage can go in the compost bin.

Do you have any other tips for a sustainable Christmas?

Of course! Cardboard present toppers are great alternatives to plastic bows, ribbon and shop bought tags. Using Royal Doulton packaging card you can draw stars, hearts, gingerbread figures and bauble shapes, you can then cut out and attach to gifts as the finishing touch. Simple labels can be made by cutting out rectangles and then cutting out a triangle at one end, then make a small hole and add some twine.

When it comes to gift wrapping, do think out of the box as well as reusing the box. Fabric cut-offs are a beautiful alternative to gift wrap and hopefully inspire the receiver of the gift to reuse it - no tape needed either! Jam jars are great for homemade treats, simply cover the lid with some parchment paper, twine and add a Royal Doulton star homemade tag. Paper sandwich bags can also make great little gift bags or even party bags. And finally, bits of fresh foliage and herbs always look and smell fantastic on top of a gift.

When you receive a gift, just take a moment to see what you could reuse instead of throwing out.