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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Deck Your Halls for Less!

Deck Your Halls for Less!

So you want your home to look like the North Pole this Christmas, but you don’t have Santa’s unlimited budget – or army of elves? No problem! These easy ideas for budget holiday decorating will feel like a Christmas miracle!

Cut Your Own Tree: Once upon a time, anyone who wanted a Christmas tree cut their own. Now, those who even get a live tree at all generally buy one from a lot. But it’s still possible to cut your own Christmas tree. While some specialty cut-your-own farms charge almost as much, and sometimes more, for the privilege as for pre-cut trees, there are ways to get trees on the cheap. Do you, or someone you know, own a woodlot? You might be able to cut one from your own property, or a friend’s or neighbor’s (with their permission, of course). Some public lands also allow people to cut their own trees, usually with a small permit fee ($5-$10). National Forest lands in many states have a cut-your-own tree program. Finding one is your area is as simple as an internet search or phone call.

Make Your Own Wreath:
A nice store-bought wreath can cost you almost as much as your entire Christmas tree, but with a little creativity, you can make your own easily and inexpensively. You can find Styrofoam or wire wreath forms at your local craft store for just a few dollars. If you cut your own tree, or even purchased a live one, you may have needed to trim off some branches. Save the greens to use. Or, if you don’t have a live tree, take some trimmings from greens and shrubs around your home. You might consider growing a holly bush just for this purpose. You can also check with greenhouses in your area and see if you might be able to purchase some of their scraps in bulk. You wreath doesn’t have to be made of evergreens. Any green will do. Even grasses can make a nice wreath. Add a little color to your wreath with pine cones, berries, flowers, ribbons, or anything else you find interesting. You can use wire, string, or hot glue to hold your wreath together, depending on your base and the weight of your materials.

Use Natural Decorations:
Cranberries, pinecones, pine boughs, mistletoe, and more are all traditional holiday decorations that can be gotten for not a lot of money. After all, the old song does say to deck the halls with boughs of holly.

Make a Popcorn Garland: A classic. Pop some popcorn and string a line through it to drape on your tree. Add some color by putting some fresh cranberries on the line. While you’re at it, pick up a cheap box of candy canes to hang up, too. And grab a nice spool of ribbon for some homemade bows.

Make Origami Ornaments: Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper into shapes. It makes a fun activity for the entire family, and there are patterns in a range of difficulty levels, from exceptionally easy to quite challenging. You can make stars, birds (such as doves or cranes), animals, balls, geometric shapes and other interesting designs. While you can buy specialty origami paper, you certainly don’t need to. You can fold any kind of paper into whimsical and attractive shapes, including metallic or holiday-themed wrapping papers.

Keep Old Christmas Cards:
Christmas cards can be very pretty, and it’s a shame to throw them away when you can reuse them to hang up, turn into holiday-themed collages, or cut out designs from them to turn into ornaments.

Make Luminaries: Luminaries are a holiday-season tradition, and incredibly cheap to make. With just some paper lunch sacks, a little sand, and some tea lights, you can turn your front walk into a winter wonderland. Just add a about an inch of sand to the bottom of each bag, drop in a tea light (right side up, of course), light it, and set it outside for the world to enjoy. If you’re feeling especially crafty, you can cut a star shape into the front of each bag for extra sparkle. Just be sure to cut them up high enough that the wind won’t blow out your candles.

Sew (or Knit or Crochet) Your Own Stockings:
Basic Christmas stockings – the ubiquitous plush red and white ones – aren’t actually very expensive, but if you’re crafty at all, you can make something a little more attractive and creative for just the cost of a few simple materials. The basic pattern is pretty simple, but you can easily find patterns online if you need some guidance.

Watch for Post-Holiday Sales:
Starting the day after Christmas, you can find some excellent deals on ornaments, tree skirts, stockings, and other holiday staples. Head out and get started now for next year!

Happy Holidays!


1 Sherri S { 12.06.12 at 3:12 pm }

I actually decorated a tree in a natural theme for $20 a few years ago. It’s the same tree we used last year too. Made ornaments from pine cones and ribbon. Cut strips of burlap for garland. Tree branches were tied to the top. I love my inexpensive rustic tree. Here’s a link if you would like to see how to design your own.

2 Lil Al { 12.05.12 at 4:47 pm }

I always do a white birthday candle for Jesus and this year I took a flower basket I already had and put greenery from outside and red berries in it and I put a glass in the center and put my white Jesus birthday candle in the glass (safety first) and got some pine cones off the ground and viola a beautiful centerpiece for my coffee table and I’m celebrating Jesus’ birthday which is what its all about anyway. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

3 Rusty { 12.05.12 at 10:11 am }

I love the idea of using natural things we can find outside. We are tiling our downstairs and presently do not have room for a tree. Thanks and have a God filled and blessed Christmas!

4 Mari { 12.05.12 at 9:16 am }

One of my most fun trees I have done is to put other greenery and berries in between the branches and have a really natural tree. It is beautiful and cheap. You can usually scrounge for the greenery – find some mistletoe or holly or even dried grasses and dried plant material. Add a few bows if you like, but it is completely beautiful and natural. Who needs all that stuff from the stores?

5 salinas120 { 12.03.12 at 10:46 pm }

happy to be with u!

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