Eco-Chic Christmas Inspiration
19 November 2009
Cape Town property stylist Jennifer Reynolds took to the streets of Cape Town for inspiration on creating eco-friendly festive décor.
It's that time of year again! Already the shops are decked out in their Christmas finery hoping to coax recession wary shoppers to part with their money. But instead of following European trends with their winter decorations, how about keeping your artificial tree packed away this year and finding your very own ecofriendly African Tree to light up your Christmas?
Here are a few ideas and tips on how to lend your festive season an eco-chic African flavour with local decorations made from sustainable materials.
For an alternative 'green' Christmas tree use:
(A) A piece of driftwood - or two! A driftwood tree similar to this one can be bought at Weylandts
(B) A planter filled with curled willow twigs which can be easily be sourced from @Home or Mr Price Home stores countrywide. The twigs featured here are from The Meeting Place Emporium in Kalk Bay.
(C) How about a dried aloe tree? I spotted these fabulous trees at Tribal Trends in Cape Town. Just two colours have been used for decoration: gold sprayed cones and red dried flower balls.
(D) A steel cut-out tree by Tin Town, or a locally made wire or bead tree - I snapped these ones at Heartworks in Kloof Street, Cape Town.
TIP If you're going to buy a tree, choose a potted indigenous variety that can be planted in your garden afterwards, but avoid pine trees as they are not indigenous and consume huge amounts of water.
Tree Decoration Themes
Think funky angels and colourful balls made of wire and beads; you'll find them on Greenmarket Square, at Monkey Biz
To keep the look stylish incorporate colours that blend with the existing accent colours throughout your home.
Cream-coloured material or wire angels and other natural elements such as little gifts wrapped in hessian or brown paper, raffia, wooden beads and the like is what you'd need for this look. Nap (Hout Bay, Kloof Street or the newly opened Cape Quarter Extention) or LIM
are both good sources.
This gorgeous beaded reindeer is from Heartworks.
Decorate your tree or twigs with tiny white LED lights only - if using twigs, apply a whitewash to create that festive feel.
Our creative rainbow nation consists of so many different cultures - let this reflect in your decoration by combining all of the above!
Lighting Your Tree
Jenni's top ten eco friendly tips for this Christmas:
- If you've decorated a tree in your garden or on your stoep, use solar lights to light it up.
- Decorate your 'tree' and home with LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs, as they last longer and use 80 - 90% less power than conventional mini bulbs. LEDs are also cool to the touch so they won't burn the tree or your fingers. You'll find a wide selection at Radiant Lighting as well as at Makro, Game or Builders Warehouse.
- Remember to switch off all lights, including your fairy lights, when you go to sleep or out for the day/evening.
- Plant a rooted Christmas tree in your garden to help offset carbon emissions (just not a pine tree - see above!)
- Turn Christmas lights off overnight or when you're not at home.
- Don't leave your TV, video and hi-fi on standby. Turn them off completely at the plug when you're not using them.
- When cooking Christmas lunch, keep lids on your saucepans - your food will cook quicker and you'll be saving energy too - or better still, have a braai!
- Avoid keeping the oven door open when cooking your festive feast. It's better to remove the gammon or turkey (organic if possible, otherwise free range) to check it, and close the oven door, saving heat in the oven and energy as well.
- We always cook too much at Christmas - ensure all spare food has cooled before putting it in the fridge as this will help save energy.
- Christmas dishes can be a nightmare but waiting until you have a full load in the dishwasher and using a low energy or economy programme will help keep costs down.
- Boil water using a kettle instead of on the hob.
- Parafin candles are made from petroleum residues - this can be harmful to both your health and the environment. Soy, beeswax or natural vegetable-based candles are better because they biodegrade and are smoke-free - this means they are more eco friendly. Try Soylites Premium Natural Soy Candles.
- Where possible, give 'green' gifts - these include anything and everything from plants or trees for the garden, homemade cakes, jams and sweets, to dynamo radios and eco toys. The Green Shop has a wonderful selection of gifts for all ages.
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