Jeez, I am such a spoilsport. What kind of killjoy would say that lovely, sparkly, Christmassy tinsel was shityoudontneed? Oh my, what a downer!

Before I go on, I’d like to welcome all the new folk who’ve joined in the last couple of weeks – thanks SO MUCH for following this blog and please do share and spread the message if you think I have anything useful to say!

And apologies for such a long gap since my last blog. It’s been a bit busy chez moi – for those of you who don’t know, I am currently doing a show in London and it seems to take all my energy!

Back to tinsel…

Ok. I propose a tinsel amnesty. You have tinsel. It’s almost Christmas, your tree is already up, lovingly be-tinselled. Just don’t throw it out when Christmas is over, for heaven’s sake. Use it again and again, and don’t buy any more. Make sure you take it ALL off the tree before you dump it.

Oh, but if you have pets, do make sure it’s out of reach. Cats in particular love tinsel, they adore playing with the stuff. YouTube is chocablock with adorable videos of puddy tats playing with tinsel.

Cat riveted by tinsel.

Cute, except that sometimes they eat it, and it causes a blockage in their stomachs. Or it can cause something called “a severe linear foreign body“. The tinsel string can either loop around the base of the tongue so it never gets properly swallowed. Either that, or it can get strung from the stomach down through the intestines. As their insides move and attempt to pass the wretched stuff down their inner tubing, it gradually abrades the tissue and can end up slicing right through it. Result – rupture, pain, terrible injury, surgery, death. Etc. And all for a tatty bit of sparkle.

And yes, the same thing can happen to dogs.

But the worst thing about tinsel is what it’s made of.

Plastic & mylar

Yep, it’s our old friends, plastic and mylar foil, the same stuff that some helium balloons are made of. According to the American Chemical Society, it was originally made of shredded silver so one has to assume po’ folks wouldn’t have been draping it over their trees. Since when it has been made of copper laminated with silver, then aluminium (which was flammable – whoops!), and more recently lead foil with a shiny tin surface. Apparently lead was the best, because it hung wonderfully, unlike our modern floaty stuff, but the risks of lead poisoning were too high so now it’s made of plastic. PVC, actually.

I’ve written enough about plastics on this blog to bore you all, so here’s just a quick reminder. Plastic never stops being plastic – it just shreds smaller and smaller and smaller, so small that a billion nanoparticles can fit on the head of a pin. We have yet no idea how appalling and dangerous to health this may turn out to be. Just because you can’t see nanoplastics doesn’t mean they’re not there and they’re not threatening our world. (You can read about it in more depressing detail on my recent blog about cling film.)

Tinsel isn’t biodegradable We’ve all seen those sad Christmas trees left in the street for the garbage trucks, sometimes with whole strands of tinsel still adorning the branches. Well, when you throw out your tree, it will go to the dump where the tree will eventually turn into compost, but the tinsel won’t.

When you think about it, Christmas itself is pretty ghastly for the environment… trees chopped down for decoration, posh nosh racking up huge food miles, packaging and wrapping and delivery costs, Christmas jumpers made from God-Knows-What, useless gifts, single use wrapping paper, glitter (just as bad as tinsel), and tons and tons of wasted grub…

And don’t talk to me about Melania Trump’s Christmas on steroids… how many trees in the White House? 58 in the public areas alone. Sheesh!

But it’s tough to completely buck the trend and I really am not a grinch. I still send cards. I wrap my presents. I have a Christmas tree and every year I get the same pleasure as my pretty decorations come out of the box, added to one by one and saved from year to year. I’ll post a picture next time but as I’m not home right now, it’ll have to wait.

So I’m only anti-tinsel. And lametta. And as I said at the beginning, if you have it, you might as well use it. Just don’t feel the need to add more.

Oh, and please make sure it all comes off the tree when the decorations come down.

And have a merry Christmas.

And to end my piece this time, before the obligatory dog picture, here’s a picture of a festive tomato that I grew this year. Well, I’m not sure how festive it is, but I consider it to be an immensely cheery fruit.

And here is the Girl Of My Heart herself in a particularly Christmassy picture taken in 2017.

Miss Piper in her Yuletide kercheif feeling slightly disappointed that no cake crumbs have fallen off the birdtable.

26 thoughts on “TINSEL & LAMETTA!!!

  1. Happy festive season and year ahead to you and yours Dilly. Keep up the posts of wisdom, thank you from Chris in Scotland🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿Xx


  2. Have always read your blog and saw u for umpteenth time at RFH. Don’t tire yourself out. Happy Christmas. Keep writing those brilliant lyrics.

    Sent from my iPhone



  3. My mom was way ahead of her time. In 1966, when my parents moved into their house, she began wrapping gift boxes & their lids separately. Each Christmas, we re-use these gift boxes, complete with their ribbons and tags. I’m still getting prezzies tagged “To Baby Patty, with love from Mama and Dada”. After opening our prezzies, we return the gift boxes to the garage to await the next gift-giving occasion.

    As for tinsel, we’re still reusing tinsel from the 1990s. It’s a little threadbare in spots, but we just hide them with carefully-placed 60-year-old ornaments.


  4. Oh, you’re such a joy to read. Very timely as I was in need of being cheered up. I started last night with ‘Dogging’ (not me, it was yr wonderful musical rendition. I won’t go out again now until April).😉

    Keep well. Keep writing.👏👏👏

    Warm regards

    Krista. X


  5. Haven’t had tinsel since one of my moggies chewed it then did a spectacular projectile vomit from the top step of our open plan stairs ! I think popcorn strings look so much nicer and can be put out for the birds after Merry christmasing to you and yours.


  6. For me, Christmas is all about tradition, and part of that tradition is digging out decorations that are decades old, somewhat wonky and a bit tatty but they evoke hundreds of memories; and I wouldn’t change them for the world. Some of them are glittery, but more recent additions are not.

    I totally agree with you about tinsel, lametta and the disposability (is that a word??) of this season. It was quite sad to see the huge amount of real Christmas trees that are standing around in the garden centre today…cut down for no reason.

    I can only hope that the current level of consciousness around environmental issues is a permanent mindset shift and not a case of jumping on a trendy bandwagon.

    Sending you and yours warmest wishes, for a peaceful and joyful Christmas.

    PS. I promise not to be a c***, its Christmas 🙂


    • I don’t think we’re going to have a choice about the level of environmental consciousness. When the Premier of Australia actually admits that climate change might be partially to blame for the country being on fire, you know things are altering in a big way. Thanks, Rachael, for posting. Merry Christmas. x dk


  7. For the first time reading your blogs I am nearly guilt free. Never wanted tinsel. Never liked tinsel. Never had tinsel!! However have real Christmas tree with decorations that are decades old and dragged out every year. Guilty also on the wrapping paper front but Loved the idea of the gift boxes. Something to think about.

    A very Happy Christmas to you and yours.


    • Yes, there’s something wonderful about the long slow collection of tree decorations that you take out every year, remembering where you bought them and wondering what year it was… love to you Angela, Happy Christmas… xxx


  8. Another excellent thought-provoking blog. No tinsel here either and I buy wrapping paper and cards without glitter on… baby steps. Much-loved ornaments make their annual appearance, I also add one each year… I mean, what says ‘Christmas’ more than a small woolly alpaca hanging from a branch? Looking forward to seeing you and the FA ladies again in February in High Wycombe! Merry Christmas Dillie!


    • Thanks Sue. I wonder is your small woolly alpaca from the same background as my small woolly polar bear and baby polar bear? Merry Christmas to you too. x dk


  9. I have long hated Tinsel – wont have it in the house. Thank you for confirming my thoughts. I have lots of reusable decorations that come out each year, often with holiday or people memories depending on when they were bought or given to me.

    I am new to the blog having been to see you recent show in London where you shamelessly advertised it and I am loving it. Look forward to 2020 posts. r Christmas one and all


  10. Great blog again and especially since it revisits the dangers to all of us (both animals and humans ) of Plastics. As you say ,plastic never disappears. It just breaks down into smaller pieces.Crucially then, all plastic must be disposed of carefully and consciously. My hope and prayer for 2020 is that the UK can at last bring all local councils and their waste management systems into some kind of synchronicity. An agreement on the colours for different waste products would be a start.How can we teach children about recycling and plastics when they can only understand the colours of their own local council’s discombobulated recycling arrangements.? It is a national problem.

    This is your Blog ,Dillie, and it’s brilliant. But isn’t all waste shit we don’t need ? It mustn’t all simply wind up in a landfill site!



  11. Thanks Nick! I don’t think we can say that ALL waste is SYDN… after all, we pick fruit and veg and discard the inedible bits… certain products have to have wrapping that gets discarded… As to your hope and prayer for the UK to bring all local councils into synchronicity in 2020 – it’s a nice dream, but dream on! Cheers anyhow.


  12. Glitter remains the worst. I make the cake at Christmas and my daughter ices it and this year she used something called glitter icing. Consequently, all of our remote controls, kitchen implements and some furniture has a film of shiny bits which seem impossible to eradicate. The cake was nice though.


    • Glitter is v bad indeed, but I wonder what kind of glitter your daughter used for that Christmas cake? If it was truly edible, I think it’s ok (though not what you want on all your implements and household objects!). But read this.

      “The FDA issued an advisory statement about glitter in 2016, noting it had recently become “aware that some non-edible decorative glitters and dusts are promoted for use on foods. According to the FDA, there is no difference between this non-toxic decorative food glitter and the glitter that you poured over construction paper as a child; non-toxic glitter can be made of plastic.”

      It’s from an American website – https://www.eater.com/2018/2/14/17008460/edible-glitter-non-toxic-glitter-explained – so it might not apply here. But worth noting for the future…


  13. Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any recommendations?


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