9 Compostable or Edible Christmas Tree Decorations

All of our Christmas tree decorations are packed away in a decoration box in Vancouver.

They were too fragile to ship overseas. At least that’s what I told myself when we were in the thick of moving.

Perhaps I was feeling too overwhelmed to put the energy into packing them properly. Or I was thinking we’re probably not going for long – why bother sending them across.

Those Christmas decorations aren’t doing us much good this year, a year when we will hopefully have our first live Christmas tree.

I don’t want to buy a lot of new decorations. And I’m not terribly crafty or inclined to start making angels and stars out of felt. My other goal is to not accumulate a lot of ornaments that we will have to store year round and eventually ship back to Canada.

Is there such a thing as minimalist Christmas tree ornaments? Probably not.

But there are decorations that are edible or compostable and don’t require huge craft or sewing skills to put together. Or a glue gun.

Please note: I am not making all of these decorations. This is not turning into a craft blog.

A few people commented that the list of advent gift and activities I put together was exhausting just to read and was not a way to simplify anything. Rest assured we’re not doing all of the activities on that list and I am certainly not suggesting anyone else do all of them either.

They were meant as a resource for ideas and inspiration. Just like the list below.

At most I’ll string popcorn and cranberries one evening while we watch Elf and Henry and I will make/bake cinnamon hearts or gingerbread stars together. If I get a third trimester surge of energy I might take a stab at dried oranges because I love the smell of orange.

9 Compostable or Edible Christmas Tree Decorations

All of these photos have been ‘pinned’ to the originating website. Head over for a tutorial if you’re interested in making any of them. You’ll want to use 100% cotton thread or twine to make the item compostable. Otherwise remove ribbons and such before you send the item back to mother earth.

1. Cranberry Garland


2. Gingerbread Stars


3. Popcorn String



4. Cinnamon Apple Sauce Hearts


5. Christmas Spice Bundle

Source: hgtv.com via Rachel on Pinterest


6. Dried Orange

Source: redtedart.com via Rachel on Pinterest


7. Orange Pommander


8. Pine Cones

These would be compostable if you attached the ribbon by looping it under the leaves for easy removal and didn’t add sparkles.

Source: bebehblog.com via Rachel on Pinterest


9. Paper ornaments and Chains

Beyond my skill or motivation, but you could remove staples and brads and compost the paper from these lovely ornaments.



Photo Credit: JimmieHomeSchoolMom

Any other ideas for simple earth friendly and easy to make Christmas ornaments?

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  1. Chloe Banks says

    We get a live Christmas tree and then stand up all our Christmas cards in the branches to decorate it. It looks nice, avoids the need for decorations (We do have a homemade angel on the top and one string of lights though!) and is somewhere to put all the cards.

  2. Sanna says

    The traditional Christmastree over here has lots of edible decoration. (I think at one point the decoration WAS the christmas gift for the children and other family) Some of which would be: apples – http://stklemens.at/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/20091224_kirche_05_495x595.jpg – , nuts – http://juluul.blogspot.de/2010/12/unser-christbaum-mit-bedeutung.html – and gingerbread of course. You can also buy gingerbread with holes in the supermarket and just have to add a ribbon or twine to fasten it to the tree. The same goes for chocolates, candy and such: there are many that can easily be fastened to a tree. – http://www.lecker.de/media/redaktionell/leckerde/dekoundgastlichkeit/weihnachtsbaumschmuecken/hbv_1797/suesses-baeumchen.jpg
    Another very easy version is to go for ribbon as decoration. I spent many a Christmas where there wasn’t much decoration beyond candles and bows fastened to the tree – and it looked very festive. This isn’t exactly compostable, but still rather minimal, I’d say: it takes about 5x5x10cm of storage space and doesn’t take special crafting skills or creativity.

  3. Patraq says

    Just want you to know that I loved your list for the Advent calendar and have returned to it several times for inspiration in filling our calendar pockets with experiences. Thank you!

  4. Linda Sand says

    My favorite of all the trees we’ve had was decorated with cranberry & popcorn strings and gingerbread men my daughter and I made plus mini candy canes. Everyone who came to the house during the holidays was invited to take a candy cane from the tree to eat on their way home. (They were wrapped.) The popcorn and cranberries were then put outside for the birds to eat.

  5. Kendall says

    The first year we had a christmas tree was the year our son was born, and we didn’t have any money to spend on Christmas decorations. I decided to make photo ornaments. I bought a couple pieces of christmas scrapbook paper and some red card stock. I printed out photos on my printer, put the photos on the scrapbook paper and hung with ribbon. A full tree of ornaments probably cost me only $10, and the are all super flat so they store in an envelope.

  6. Susan says

    I love the idea of edible ornaments. Our tree right now is decorated with ornaments our kids have created over the years. If I needed to find other decorations, our tree would definitely be filled with the edible decor. My Christmas decorations are overflowing and an area that needs an extreme makeover in minimizing. It gets me stressed just seeing what I’ve accumulated over the years. I’ve struggled with whether to do artificial or real trees and the thought of supporting more “plastic” production does not seem right. Thanks for the inspiration to keep our surroundings REAL. I’ve made the applesauce cinnamon ornaments and love how they fill the house with a holiday aroma .

  7. Lillian says

    LOVE this post! We put up our tree with just lights a few days ago and I’ve been trying to convince my husband ever since that we should just leave the ornaments in the basement this year and slowly add some ornaments we make and tons of these have been on my pinterest board.

  8. Elizabeth Kane says

    This line, “Is there such a thing as minimalist Christmas tree ornaments?” THAT has been in the back of my mind for the past few weeks, deciding if I want a tree or not! But now looking at these ornament projects you have here gives me hope. I think if you pick out a couple of them, then string up a pair of lights, it might just be enough.

  9. Eva says

    Thats a great minimalist idea!
    this year, in January, I tossed our old plastic tree. I decided that we are doing a construction paper tree with our own paper made ornament balls, glitter, paint, and maybe even some cute buttons or sparkly gems. This is not a 3-D project, but will be big in size, colorful and handmade and taped right in front of our dinner table! around we will put lights. We will being today right after snack and homework. I think I’m more excited than the girls to see how it comes out and how truly cheaper and non clutter it can be to decorate our home for the holidays. Plus It will give my children great pride to have made their own tree and decorations.

  10. Megyn @Unstuffed says

    I love the ideas, but I have my concerns, namely with pets and small children. A lot of the edibles are an easy target for dogs and toddlers alike. We just go with no-Christmas tree and save ourselves the hassle lol!

  11. Erika says

    One year we were caught in a flood in Whistler. No way out, no power and no plans to stay for Christmas so no supplies or decorations. We cut a tree from the yard, popped popcorn on the fire and strung in together. We then took an incomplete deck of cards, poked a hole in the top of each one and hung it on the tree with a piece of yarn. The tree was topped with a cardboard star covered in aluminum foil, we used an empty toilet paper roll to hold it on the tree. My brother and I were both under ten and did the whole thing ourselves. It is still my favorite tree to date.

  12. megan says

    I love this post of ideas for tree decorating as i was thinking of getting a small olive tree and decorating it for Christmas instead of all the artificial stuff. That way my daughter still gets to enjoy a tree and there’s no storage and waste. Thanks!

  13. lillie says

    While stationed in Korea, I was going to skip decorating since all of our Christmas gear was still in the USofA. Our youngest would have none of it. At her request, I purchased a few bottles of acrylic paint and she painted a Christmas tree with all the trimmings on our sliding glass door. We even put the gifts underneath it.

  14. Bethany@OurSoCalledLife says

    I just found my way here, from a friend’s recommendation…

    We hate storing Christmas decorations, and we’ve been looking for seasonal activities to do together (since we pared down on our shopping and won’t have to spend so much time at the mall!). We will definitely be trying some of these. Thanks!

  15. PK says

    These aren’t compost-able but they are still simple: take cookie cutters (the old metal ones), tie some string on, and use those as decorations. Make yarn dolls.


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