Thrifty Christmas Decorating Ideas

What are some budget-friendly Christmas decorating ideas? I'm a starving college student with my first place and I love Christmas. That being said, I have no Christmas decorations. Since I'm a college student I'm on a budget, but I'd love to decorate for my favorite holiday!

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I found the following Christmas craft/decoration on Martha Stewart's website, just to give you an idea of what I'm looking for: http://www.marthastewart.com/article/magazine-christmas-trees. (spray painted magazine Christmas trees)

Remember that I'm starting with absolutely 0 decorations!

By Jennie from Tempe, AZ

November 28, 20100 found this helpful

If you aren't in a dorm, here is something my late Mother did one year because she had seen the idea in a magazine and thought it was a neat look. She went out in the yard and found a nicely shaped tree branch that had fallen off a tree, then she spray painted it white, and also spray painted an empty coffee can white, then she found some sand someplace that she put in the coffee can and stuck the tree branch in the sand to hold it up, then she put a string of lights on it and some of the ornaments that we had on hand. Everybody thought it looked really cool.

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November 28, 20100 found this helpful

One easy, inexpensive idea would be to gift wrap a about three empty boxes and and stack them on a table or something. I just looked at Martha Stewarts site, which I never hardly do because I don't like her, lol and one cute idea that I saw was the angels made out of paper plates, you could make a group of 3 or 5 and set them on a shelf or something. The reason I refer to 3 or 5, or any uneven number is that an uneven number is more pleasing to the eye than an even number. You also don't want to place items directly in the center of a table or whatever. You could also cut snowflakes out of paper. Make stockings out of colored paper, which I saw on Martha's site too, but when I was in elementary school we did that to decorate the windows in the classroom, only ours were just plain red or green. But instead of buying things to make decorations, sometimes it is cheaper to just start out with a couple pruchased items. You could check out your local dollar store, sometimes they have nice or interesting things for between $1.00-$5.00. I didn't read the directions for the trees made out of magazine pages, but I know several years ago, it was real popular to make snowmen and Santa and Mrs. Claus out of them, and they were made out of the pages from Reader's Digest, if I remember right. I also think it took several of the magazines. Do you have close relatives that would contribute a few items.

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November 28, 20100 found this helpful

You can make pretty, inexpensive tree decorations by carefully poking holes in both ends of eggs, blowing out the contents (omelet for dinner!), rinsing and drying the shells then decorating with bits of colored paper, ribbon, colored markers, string, etc. Glue a loop of ribbon on as a hanger.

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November 28, 20100 found this helpful

Pine cones make really pretty tree ornaments. Just paint the edges with a bottle of white acrylic paint (less than a dollar) found at Walmart and a cheap craft brush and they will appear as if snow touched them.

You can also spray paint them different colors or put a bit of glue on the tips and roll in glitter. Add a dab of glue to the top of the cone with a glue gun and insert a wire hanger or use yarn instead placed in the middle of seven inch length and tie over each branch.

Get a bag of polyester filling (Walmart) for a couple of dollars and spread some under the tree to look like snow.

OR, bunch up a few white tee shirts and put around the tree base for snow.

Use uncooked macaroni and string them to make a long strand to go around the tree. You can paint the macaroni to suit your color theme.

Also, a box of candy canes look great and festive on the tree and they come in a lot of flavors and colorful stripes.

Leftovers can go in a pretty glass to decorate another area of the room.

You could also string wrapped Christmas candy on the tree that comes in assorted colors of foil and is edible after Christmas. You can get good prices at Family Dollar or Dollar General.

Get yourself a few pine branches if you have a friend or relative with pine trees and tie together in the middle with a ribbon and place a Christmas pick or two on it.

Could also use regular old branches fallen from trees and decorate. That would be pretty on your door or over the door.

Any Christmas cards you receive, drape them on a string and let it hang from top to bottom or string across the room.

You could also place the cards into a Christmas tree shape on the wall or door.

Got any Christmas carols (words or music) and tape the song sheets to a poster board and hang on the wall. Add a few embellishments (bells, bows) or draw them into the background.

The poster board could be cut larger than the paper and made to look like the songs were framed and hang individually around the room.

Decorate your door with wrapping paper and use a different solid paper cut in long lengths for the ribbon and place it down and across the door. Add a bow where the ribbons cross and it's simple, cute and inexpensive. Make your own name tag and put your name and/or apartment no.

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November 28, 20100 found this helpful

Hi:

I have made these for my own home and I love them. Take a metal coat hanger, I used a white coated one, but you can use a reg metal one, and bend and shape it into a circle. Then take several white kitchen unscented garbage bags, cut horizontally three long strips, then take those and vertically, cut 1" or a little more in width stripes. I take two of these stripes at a time and tye them onto your rounded metal hanger, it will take a while to tye and push up enough of these stripes to make a full looking wreath for your door or room. Then buy some cheap dollar store small Christmas balls and hooked them through out the wreath. The wreath is beautiful when it is done, and it doesn't cost that much to make. Enjoy! :)

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November 29, 20100 found this helpful

Felt is also very cheap. Usually about 4 or 5 pieces of it for a dollar at the craft type stores. You can make little trees or hearts (or whatever) out of felt and sew around the edges with embroidery thread (you don't have to be a fabulous sewer, just what is called a running stitch, in and out, in and out), which is also quite cheap (stuff a little, if you want). Popcorn strung is an oldie, but cheap. Paper coffee filters are fun, I made angels out of them one year (twist up 3 or 4 of them making a skirt. Add a head (wooden bead) or make a head out of another filter with a little stuffing). Wings out of the coffee filters. Glue together. Don't overlook thrift stores for cheap stuff. Dollar stores also. Pictures cut out of the front of Christmas cards can look good. I made hearts out of candy canes by hot gluing them together and adding ribbon at the joining place. (I sold a lot of these when I had a craft booth, this can also be a Valentine's Day item). Swedish paper hearts are cheap and very festive (find pattern online). I've seen wreaths made out of newspaper, just add pieces to a wire base, spray paint green and add a bow.

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December 1, 20100 found this helpful

If you have as much as $5 to spend, go to the Dollar Tree. Trees are $1 each and decorations are $1 for up to 16 items in a package. They have Xmas balls, bells, tinsel, candy canes or get a roll of ribbon and tie bows for your tree, etc. If you just look around, you can find quite a bit.

Good Luck and Have a Merry Christmas.

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December 1, 20100 found this helpful

Make cinnamon ornaments! The recipe is online. They smell wonderful and look like gingerbread. Your local dollar store should have cheap cinnamon and applesauce. They will also have ribbon to hang them. You'll get the look and smell of the holidays!

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December 1, 20100 found this helpful

What I find gives me more Christmas spirit is simply lights and a string of garland. That is the first thing put up. In fact, they both stay up into March or so. Then I change out the lights on my stairway and leaded piano window to clear for the rest of the year. Love those lights! The ones on the piano window have many angles to it and they shine. From the outside, the many angles shine on the snow, making it look like hundreds of lights instead of maybe 50.

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December 2, 20100 found this helpful

Paper chains in red & green are always fun and a reminder of old school days. ( yes ,even 65 years ago) But now you can use Reynolds wrap foil in strips to make silver chains , cut out stars, etc. You can get a roll at the 99¢ store.One more thing, go to yard sales and thrift stores to buy old beads or junk jewelry and use fishing line or dental floss to re-string the beads for garlands. Have fun, GG Vi

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December 3, 20100 found this helpful

Get some plain white paper, since you are a student you probably have stacks and make some old fashioned snowflakes. My daughter and I did this the first year I was divorced and we didn't have much money to decorate. We got some shiny ribbon (silver and gold) from the dollar store and hung the snowflakes from the ceiling all over. (We made about 50 of them all sizes) It was a really neat look and with one or two strings of lights it looks really cool. Good luck!

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December 3, 20100 found this helpful

For outdoor decorations buy several plastic seasonal tablecloths from the dollar store. Wrap different size cardboard boxes (weighted down with rocks or something heavy so the boxes don't blow away) with the tablecloths. Use red plastic ribbon or strips of another solid red tablecloth to add a bow to each present. I used my son's sled to but them in and around on my front step.

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December 4, 20100 found this helpful

Also, if candles are too hard, make little paper luminaries out of paper bags, and stick electric candles in. If you have a small tree outside, that is not pine, you could decorate it with lights and big orb ornaments, we've been doing it for years and so have a lot of people round town. It is very festive. Candy canes make everything better. Stick them in a vase as a bouquet, or hang them from the tree, or on a string to form a garland.

Good luck! I hope I helped! Happy decorating, happy holidays!

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December 4, 20100 found this helpful

Hello!

I am not sure what your taste is. I, however am a "little girl" most would call me because I am a younger teen and could be mistaken for a 6th grader. Anywho, I made some great decorations, and I found more great ideas.

If you go onto www.michaels.com you will find a tutorial on how to make a waterless snow globe with a snowman inside. they are adorable! I left the hat on mine and I didn't cover it in clay, it's just harder to do the paint. It doesn't have a nose either, or lights.

I also made one with a Christmas tree inside. get a styrofoam cone, and scrapbook paper. cut the paper into triangles, and hot glue them, one ring around the bottom, layer the next, and the next and so on. make a small wire star and stick it in the top, and add snow in the jar. my mom loves them.

They also have some really cool ornaments at Michael's, and other decorations. There are also some pretty cute ideas at joanns.com

You can make a liitle felt snowman.

Cover 2 cubes with white fleece or felt. pin in place. Cut 2 rectangles of printed fleece, one as a hat and one as a scarf. Glue on googly eyes, a pompom for a nose, and any kind of 2 buttons for, well, buttons. You can see the picture online. It is called fuzzy the fleece snowman.

Also at Joann's are little styrofoam Christmas trees with ribbon leaves, and instead of using stockings, you could get a whole bunch of Santa hats and hang them upside down. You could make ornaments out of pine cones by putting a gift bow on the bottom and somehow attaching a loop to it.

Some of my brain babies-

You could make a wreath of bells (bells could be found anywhere) just string them on wire and shape into a wreath.

Candles and candle holders are the simplest and most original, but can be pretty expensive, but worth it. It makes it look, and smell like Christmas.

You could get a clear glass candy jar, and fill it with assorted candies such as one for peppermints, one for green and red m&ms, etc. Just don't mix them though. You could also fill them with bells, little pine branches, fake berry branches available at almost any craft store, small ball ornaments, etc.

My mom frames mirrors and medicine cabinets with fake pine garland twin end with the fake red berry branches and fake "silver dollar"branches, but of course you could throw anything in there, like white spray painted branches, bells, etc. My mom also uses very very small lights.

You could find a bare twisted branch, stick it in a pot filled with something to make it stand upright, and put a couple really big orb ornaments. you could also spray paint the branch white, silver or gold if you wanted to.

Oh! and my mom once got a gift, where it was a clear bottle that looked like it may have been a wine-bottle. There was a string of lights in it, and it had a Christmas tree painted on it. anything could be painted on it, and it could work for any holiday. We ended up giving them to every relative, and they All loved it!

Play Christmas music, it is the best method of decorating one can get. It will make your home look, and sound like Christmas!

I hope I helped! Happy decorating! Happy holidays!

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December 6, 20100 found this helpful

My mother loves to use her hair do dads, jewelry and scarves and any small items she loves and does not know what to do with. She has a small tree so Mardi Gras beads are perfect garland and earrings are the perfect size ornaments. She saves old Christmas cards or sale ads to decorate the windows with.

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December 8, 20110 found this helpful

Lots of great ideas here! Let me add mine.

Go to Michael's or A.C. Moore and pick up a couple of skeins of inexpensive yarn in festive colors (not the fancy stuff, Red Heart's cheap rotgut will do). Very versatile stuff! You could make tassels, pompoms, or braid several strands for a garland. A yarn bow can fill in for a ribbon one, too.

You could even make yarn dolls ( http://m.wikihow.com/Make-a-Yarn-Doll)

And if you can crochet, well, just google "amigurumi" and prepare to be wowed.

Happy holidays sweetie!

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