Updated: Dec 22, 2019
Every year I say I’m not going to do excess this year and focus on what is important about Christmas. For me that is family; being present with my children and creating memories, the memories that make the bonds that hold families together.
This year, my life style has changed, taking the plunge and moving full time to France. More things must change. I realise I just consumed for the sake of consumption. I know the sugar rush from spending on instant gratification cheap, pretty but ultimately poorly made and short-lived objects. This year I have tried to consider more the impact on the environment. Where do all these bits of plastic end up? I guess we all know the answer to that – landfill leaching chemicals, the oceans breaking up into toxic micro particles… they use up the Earth’s resources and making them pollutes our air. At some stage it has to stop. Yes, we all know that but what can we do?
It is often said; do something. Even if it’s not perfect, even if its small; do something.
So, this year I haven’t bought any newly made home decor (and believe me I’m the queen of sparkly decorations – the more the merrier). It helps that I already have many strings of fairy lights, but I haven’t bought any more!
I spend a large amount of my life in brocantes and vide greniers (flea markets) anyway, so this year I have looked out for whatever I can reuse or re-purpose to make my beloved draughty old home look enchantingly quirky this Christmas.
I found a big box of flower frogs. Those glass discs or domes with holes in them that your granny used to have. Before I would use florist’s oasis foam which is not as green as its coloured: It is a plastic product, doesn’t biodegrade and produces harmful chemicals if burnt. The frogs are amazing – and not just their name! you put them in a big bowl (I’m using antique soupiers which have lost their lids), stick the stems into the holes and top the bowl up with water – ta da! Living in the country it’s so much easier to gather armfuls of greenery on your doorstep to use in arrangements.
Recently, I started making my own candles as the paraffin ones triggered my husband’s asthma, I needed lots of pretty holders so have repurposed little French tarte and patisserie tins, ‘saliers’, cut glass salt cellars and an array of other glass and treasures; the candle light dances around the shiny surfaces, beautiful!
I have a completely mis-matched table setting, the table cloth is a huge hand embroidered antique linen sheet, the cutlery and flatware is an eclectic mix of silver plated, elegantly embossed styles from many different services picked up in ones and twos and the serving platters are crazed and a bit chipped, but they are over a hundred years old, hand painted and were probably a treasured wedding gift now having a new life and treasured for their craftsmanship by a new family – us!
Christmas without plastic pretty things, however, was too much to hope for, old habits die hard - but my new Christmas trees baubles are 1970s retro, funky - I saved them from ending up in landfill and I love them!
I pick up objects and know they’re right or not, my little timeworn treasures – beautifully made and wonderfully patinated by use and the passage of time. These objects have made my home come alive this Christmas – without costing the Earth!