Recycle, upcycle and make your own

By Noor-Jehan Yoro Badat

Johannesburg - Decorating your home and table this Christmas need not break the bank. In fact, making your own decorations is a strong trend, says Stefan Norval of Afresh, an event and design company in Parkhurst.

Do it with glass: Another table setting suggested by Consol has jars and bottles that you decorate with lace or glitter or that you paint in shades of flowers picked from your garden. Glass products are available from the Consol shop in Woodmead (011 603 2080)  and Stell ...Do it with glass: Consol says you don't have to spend a fortune on your table setting. This cosy rustic one with red accents has pine cones and jars filled with sweets or biscuits. Glass products are available from the Consol shop in Woodmead (011 603 2080)  and Stellenb ...Do it with glass: For something different and meaningful, fill a jar with festive wishes or greetings and get your guests to pick one before they leave. Use white and coloured paper to suit your table scheme. Glass products are available from the Consol shop in Woodmead  ...Modern and polished: If you are prefer a contemporary colour palette of white and silver, with pops of forest green, be sure to add interest with contrasting textures  glass, mirror balls, neutral fabric and heavily textured flowers.White candelabras will add height and ...ECO CHIC IDEAS from Stefan Norval of Afresh: A glass ball, a gold cord and an air plant and you have an unusual but eco-chic ornament. Air plants grow with the misting of water and sunlight. They are available at most nurseries, such as the Lifestyle Garden Centre in Ran ...ECO CHIC IDEAS from Stefan Norval of Afresh:  Make your own paper Christmas trees out of old books. Get rid of the cover. Cut out a section of the book, keeping the book binding intact. Take the top left corner of the page and fold it, then fold the folded page once more ...ECO CHIC IDEAS from Stefan Norval of Afresh:  Create this DIY snow globe with a Consol jar (or any old jar for that matter), some slangbos and synthetic snow. It will cost you about R35 to make. For more info 

on Afresh, visit fynbos: Cover a cone made of cardboard with Slangbos and decorate with a string of kolkol flower heads. Dust the fynbos tree with gold glitter and put a red felt star on top. Stefan Norval says the cost of creating it is about R25.These lovely Christmas decorations are hand sewn by a group of women in Makapanstad in North West. Heartfelt decorations are available at a shop called Art of Happiness in Parkhurst, Joburg. For more information on their prices, stockists near you and the project, e-mail ...Picture:  Antoine de RasAll the rage are paper ornaments such as this cake stand from In Good Company, R120. Get your kids to help you assemble it and fill it with cup cakes. Picture: Antoine de Ras

“People are returning to the simpler ways… They find there’s more soul to it. And it’s more personalised and fulfilling to make something,” says Norval.

There is also great interest in recycling and upcycling – people are using glass more, with arts and crafts making a strong comeback. “It’s very popular in decor to use paper and books. Origami is massive. It’s like the 80s are back,” Norval says.

Families are scaling down on Christmas decor because festive items have become have increasingly expensive, says Claire Minnaar, who runs a web agency in Cape Town with her husband Ryan.

“We still want out homes to look beautiful and have that Christmas feel, but we don’t necessarily want to go to spend a fortune on it. So, DIY is getting more and more popular by the day, not only in the home, but in other areas of people’s lives such as weddings.”

Kerry Wustrow, a sales assistant at In Good Company, suppliers of themed parties and events in Parkhurst, says that people who go away for Christmas also don’t see the point in spending a great deal on Christmas decor.

Kustrow has observed visitors to the store this year have tended to buy items to deck the table, rather than spending on “big décor things or big trees”.

“It’s more the table stuff that they go for such as our table confetti, the toppers and our popular Christmas tree cake stand.

“And people have given us positive feedback that the things we have are affordable, different and quite unique.”

The store has a great line in paper Christmas trees and ornaments that suit more contemporary homes and don’t take up much space or cause mess.

Remember, Christmas is about the family and less about things, says Minnaar.

“We need to remember what Christmas is about. So, do what you’ll enjoy, what is important to you and what your kids will remember in years to come and will possibly continue doing with their families

“That is what’s important. It’s not how much you spend, but the memories of you create during this very special time.”

Ideas for setting the festive table

Instead of buying tons of expensive Christmas decorations, you can create a unique and memorable table for Christmas lunch or dinner by using a little ingenuity.

Karen Short, founder of By Word of Mouth, an award-winning catering firm, says touches of vintage style add a sense of history, charm and visual appeal.

Try decorating vases with floating candles wrapped in vintage lace.

Dessert roses wrapped in dodder (also called love vine) can be placed into ceramic vases, which can contrast beautifully if you use glass, crystal and silver on the table. Experiment with ceramic and canvas flowers to finish the centrepiece.

Use Gypsophila flowers to make vintage Christmas bobbles.

Handmade crackers filled with Christmas trinkets can be made out of patterned paper and tied with twine.

Complete the table with mince pies and brandy butter that can be placed at each setting for guests to enjoy on arrival.

Go online for inspiration

For fresh ideas on decorating your home this Christmas, think outside the box and do online searches, says Claire Minnaar.

For inspiration, visit her blog DIY ideas can also be found at

Here are some of Claire’s suggestions: