WHEN Prince Albert married our Queen Victoria, he brought with him the German way of celebrating Christmas.

Much of how we now celebrate it stems from that point.

Of course, at that time gift-giving was a much smaller part of Christmas: the emphasis was still on its original meaning – celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Home decorations were more likely to be brought in from the garden. For instance, a mantle decoration would be made from slim branches of fir wound together and threaded through with colourful ribbon, perhaps with pine cones still attached. The fragrance must have been lovely.

Wreaths for the front door were similarly made from natural materials, threaded with berries and cones.

Even Santa Claus, originally, was sometimes portrayed in green as well as brown or red.

Everything started to become more and more commercial until we reached where we are now.

But we can introduce more 'green' into our current celebrations quite easily.

The mantle decoration and the wreath are easy for even the least crafty person to make.

Gather pruning shears, garden gloves, garden twine and florists wire and off you go. Be creative. You can get a form to make a wreath from garden centres. It is very satisfying to wrap your greenery and ribbons around it to make your own distinctive wreath. YouTube has many videos for instructions.

Try making some gifts instead of buying everything. Old CD cases make ideal clip-art-type picture frames. Hand-made cards are greatly appreciated, even if you just do them for nearest and dearest. Knitted or crocheted items last for more than just Christmas Day. If you can’t knit or crochet, maybe you have a friend who does. You could swap skills.

In the 1970s, nail and thread pictures were popular and easy to make using a piece of board, perhaps covered in felt or scrap of velvet, hammer in panel pins in design of your choice, then wind colourful embroidery thread or shiny wool around the pins. Very effective.

Give IOUs for baby-sitting or to give a manicure or take someone shopping if making things is not for you.

And if you have someone who is hard to find a gift for, try donating to charity and giving them a card letting them know what you have done in their name.

Merry (green) Christmas.