Inexpensive Christmas Decorations
Just a Little Light
Luminaries would be inexpensive to make. You can get some cheap lunchbox size bags, decorate with stamps-or if pretty enough, you could assemble them as-is-cut decorative shapes on the bags themselves. Pour some cheap sand into each bag, discounted this time of year in the north because nobody will be sending their kids to play in the sandbox! Take a small votive candle and anchor in the sand and light the wick. These look very pretty along the sidewalk but could even be used in the window. Another inexpensive item would be to buy a roll of red or green velvet ribbon and some trash bag ties. Cut the ribbon into 24" lengths and use the twist ties to secure the bow. (You can "strip" the ties to remove the excess paper.) You can make large or small bows and put them all over the house. If you don't know how to make a bow, check out the library or use a search engine, maybe go to howto.com for instructions.
One final way to make cheap ornaments is to mix equal parts of cinnamon and applesauce. (Our local coop sells cinnamon dirt cheap this time of year, and use institution type applesauce for best savings.) Roll out on a "floured" (USE CINNAMON-NOT ACTUAL FLOUR!!!) surface. Use a cookie cutter or even a glass for shapes. Use a straw to make the hole to insert a ribbon after it is baked. Bake at 200 for 2 hours on a greased cookie sheet. Paint, use glitter etc and thread the hole with a ribbon. I still have ornaments that my kids made 6 year ago! Have a wonderful Christmas!
Go on a "nature hike" someplace that has pine trees and gather various sizes of pine cones. You can either spray on glitter spray or get some inexpensive craft glue and mix in a little water and using a paintbrush, brush on some glue and sprinkle on any color of glitter. It is also neat to just put some glue & glitter around the outer edges of the pine cones. If you want, you can tie a little ribbon around the top of the cone and make ornaments out of them. VERY cheap but they look wonderful and could be a good project for children to help with AND it gets everyone outdoors enjoying nature!
Another way to use pine cones, is to make tiny Christmas trees out of them and put rhinestones, old jewelry, whatever on them for decorations. I have painted them completely green, speckled them and basically whatever came to mind. You can spread out cotton balls to look like snow and glue the pine cone to the "snow" so it stands up. Scented oils in the "creases" make them smell terrific, too!
JW of Des Moines, IA
You will need equal parts cinnamon and applesauce (i.e., 1 cup of each). Combine them well into a stiff dough. Roll flat. Use your Christmas cookie cutters or cut by hand with a knife into various Christmas shapes. Pierce the tops with a toothpick, completely through to form a hole for threading with ribbon or gold thread. Allow to dry for 24 hours. You can decorate these with silver and gold (or other colors) of paint markers or any other paint; add faux jewels, glitter, sparkles, etc. (You can also add glitter to the dough when you mix it.)
You can buy packs of miniature silver and gold bells (the dangling kind, not sleigh bells) at craft stores. Thread them with silver, gold, green and red ribbon and hang from the tree.
Snowflakes: You probably made these in grade school, but they are still every bit as pretty! Cut out a circle of white paper. Fold in half, then in three equal sections. Cut snips, triangles, squares, squiggles out of each side, being careful not to cut completely across. Open and tape onto windows and doors.
Garlands: Easily strung with a needle, strong thread, and any assortment of these items: Popcorn, Styrofoam packing "peanuts," buttons, beads, cranberries, Cheerios, charms, you name it. I even made a garland out of paper clips once. Use your imagination!
We receive several copies of CD-ROMs for on-line services as I'm sure many folks do. I've taken then and glued two together with the printed side in and they make wonderful decorations. Think of that shiny side with all the pretty Christmas lights, they really are pretty. Take ribbon and make a loop, glue it to the printed side of one CD then glue the printed side of another CD to the CD with the loop. Be sure the loop is large enough to hang on tree limbs. Then take photos of the kids, grandchildren, the pets and cut them into circles just large enough to cover the clear circle and hole in the CD. Do the other side with another photo. Use old Christmas cards if you don't want to cut up your photos.
Brown Paper Ornaments
Make brown paper bag ornaments! You basically cut out 2 cookie cutter shapes- gingerbread men, trees, stars, stockings, etc. Paint the top one like a cookie, glue 2 shapes together part way around and stuff to make puffy. Spray when dry with a shiny coat, and add a wire loop through the top that is curled around a pencil on both ends. If you want add a raffia or ribbon bow to the loop. They're really easy and inexpensive. You can even make full size stockings or use larger shapes to hold gifts. At the grocery store remember to say "paper" instead of "plastic".
Some of the decorations I like best were hand made. I bought them at a garage sale, but could easily have made them. They are simple little bows with a wire twisty. The difference is that they are made of white lace looking paper ribbon. Looks like maybe the lace that you edge a front of a shelf with. They are bright and I just put them on the end of a branch. the other thing I like is when I learned to make professional bows. I volunteered at Michael's and the florist taught me to make the professional bows. I like to make them to put on wreaths and as a tree topper. They sell for big bucks, but all you need is the ribbon and florist wire to make one. With long streamers, they look nice on the top of a tree.
The last thing I would like to suggest is to buy a ribbon shredder. I take a length of white ribbon about 3 to 4 feet long and hold on to one end and run the shredder down the rest of it, so you have a 2 or 3 inch piece that is hanging in shreds. This applied to a tree after it is decorated gives it a finishing touch. The tree doesn't have to be as fully decorated. Put as many pieces of this on the tree as needed to give it a cover.
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