The holidays are a decorator’s dream. I’m sure many of you can relate to wanting to spend as much money on holiday décor as you spend on presents. However, with so many families struggling right now, the idea of spending a lot of money on decorations just isn’t practical. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on new items for the holidays. You just need some frugal ideas.
Go back to basics with natural décor.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in or nearby a forested area, or perhaps even have a few evergreen trees on your property, you can gather your own pine boughs and pine cones for decorating. According to Virginia Tech’s Evergreen pruning guide, it won’t hurt the evergreen tree to remove a few small branches from each tree. If you are nowhere near any evergreen trees, you can try contacting an evergreen tree farm to find out where you might be able to purchase evergreen tree boughs in your area. You can also try your local live Christmas tree lot.
Fresh pine boughs can be made into wreaths and decorative garland for banisters and mantles. The pine scent will fill your home with a wonderful holiday aroma. You can make an easy table centerpiece by cutting up a pine bough into small pieces and arranging them around holiday candles and pine cones.
You can also gather interesting-looking bare branches from other types of trees or shrubs. Try looking for dead wood or dead branches, as removing this debris can be beneficial to the tree. You can then spray paint these branches white and add glitter, lights or other small decorative ornaments for a beautiful winter display.
Make your own edible holiday décor.
Dried fruits make amazingly beautiful holiday décor. You can use dried fruit slices such as lemons, oranges, grapefruits and apples as part of a table centerpiece display or you can make them into tree ornaments. You can easily make dried fruit ornaments at home by following the simple instructions provided by Christine Frazier on No Meat Athlete.
Popcorn-and-cranberry strings make a beautiful garland for your Christmas tree. Any kind of popcorn will do as long as it is natural with no butter or salt added. You will need a sturdy thread, sewing needle, bowl of popcorn and some fresh cranberries. First, tie a nice fat knot on one end of the thread to keep the berries and popcorn from falling off. Then carefully push the needle through the pieces of popcorn, adding a cranberry or two after every three or four pieces of popcorn, or make up your own pattern.
My all-time favorite homemade holiday decorations are stained glass cookie ornaments. This idea has been around for decades. When I was a young child, I remember helping my mother make these cookie ornaments. You can use any sugar cookie recipe and use any type of holiday cookie cutters for your shapes. Make your cookie dough according to the recipe’s instructions and use your cookie cutter shapes to create your cookie ornaments. Then carefully remove a section from inside the cookie, using a sharp knife. Fill the hole you have created with crushed up Lifesavers or Jolly Rancher candies. Bake the cookies according to the sugar cookie recipe instructions. The melted candy center will resemble stained glass.
We made a bunch of these cookies for our Christmas tree when I was about 4 years old. One of the shapes we used were camels, representing part of the Christmas Nativity scene. After we had hung the cookie ornaments on the tree, my parents noticed a few days later that many of the camels were missing their legs. It appeared the legs had been gnawed off, but only up to a certain height, all around the tree. It was easy to figure out who the culprit was, as none of the camels above my 4-year-old height were missing their legs.
Use what you have to make new holiday décor.
Last but not least, look around your home to find items you can use to make your own unique holiday décor. A few suggestions:
- Fill a glass vase with round ball Christmas tree ornaments.
- Create a Christmas collage using old Christmas cards. If you don’t have a collection of past Christmas cards, start saving the ones you get this year. You can make a small collage with as little as four or five cards or make a large collage with dozens of cards. Tape the cards to a wall or closet door and frame the collage with decorative ribbon or used bows. Include holiday photos for an interesting and beautiful display.
- Make paper snowflakes. You may remember doing this in grade school. You can find free instructions, including a video on how to fold and cut the paper at HighHopes.com. Make your paper snowflakes dazzle with shimmering effects by using a spray adhesive and then sprinkling them with blue, silver or gold glitter.
- Make popsicle stick God’s eye ornaments. I did this one year with my daughter. They are super easy to make and you can follow on Kaboose.com. You can use yarn in Christmas colors or use a rainbow, multicolored yarn like I did. I glued shiny pom poms to the end of the popsicle sticks and used glitter glue on the ends of others to give them that Christmas shine.
It’s not hard to decorate for the holidays by using items from around the house, edibles and reusing old Christmas décor. Let your imagination and what you have on hand or what you can gather from nature come together to make your holidays shine.