An accidentally green Christmas

Every December my mother and I would go through the ritual of pulling out the plastic bag containing our Christmas decorations, and inspect the strands of tinsel and assess each bauble for damage.

Inevitably, even through the bag had not been touched since it was stored the previous year, there would be breakages and we would have to space the decorations out a few more inches to make up for the broken baubles. It was like a particularly Christmas hating poltergeist had been poking away at the bag while it was in the loft.

Today people pop to the pound store for cheap trinkets but at that time, some 30 years ago, Christmas decorations were an expensive outlay with few value options, even with mass manufacturing.

My mother would not have seen our behaviour as being green, it had more to do with cost, but the fact that we repaired and re-used our decorations every year rather than chuck and buy new ones meant that we were not adding to the contents of a landfill.

This will be my first Christmas with my daughter Gracie and I wanted to celebrate it with something that could become a tradition. I spotted a tray of fabric Christmas decorations in the Southbank Centre’s gift shop and it inspired the following idea, a set of baubles that spelt out Gracie’s name.

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There is little risk of them being damaged in storage and by making them myself they are relatively cheap to produce considering that the average price for a fabric decoration is around £5. Also, we can use them every year and do our own little bit to help landfills be sparkle free.

For all the materials involved the cost came in around £20 and for that I made six baubles with enough stuff left over to make at least another six. I bought the stuffing from John Lewis, and while the store sells bundles of fabric off-cuts for around £16, I bought mine during a visit to Birmingham Indoor Market for £9. There is also a haberdashery stall in the market where I purchased cotton and ribbons.

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The bells and felt came from a local haberdashery and craft shop called Stag & Bow, which also hosts short craft courses and mornings where over a slice of cake you can work on a project with help at hand.

To make the baubles simply cut out circles from the material using a saucer and the letters or shapes you want from the felt using a template. Sew the two circles together, make sure they are back to front, with a running stitch and once attached turn them inside out. Stuff and attach the ribbon using a running stitch again, and secure the bells with clear thread. You could substitute buttons or dried berries for bells.

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I’m quite sure a better seamstress than I could create a more professional looking set of baubles, but these are special to my family and I wouldn’t swap them for the whole of Liberty’s Christmas shop.

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