Helping you create a home by hand.

Christmas on a Budget – Decorating the Tree

Last month, for my Christmas on a Budget Series, I wrote about Building Traditions by repeating memory building activities year after year.  One tradition that I started when our children were little was to make them a new Christmas ornament every year to hang on the tree.

The idea was that by the time they left home, they would each have a collection of handmade ornaments to hang on their first tree in their first apartment or house.  And then each Christmas after that, no matter where they were in the world or where Dave and I were; they would have those little pieces of Christmas past.

And even now that our two oldest have homes of their own and our youngest is attending college, I continue to make them a new ornament to add to their collection each year.

None of these ornaments were/are expensive to make.  In fact, many of them cost only pennies.

Angels, Rocking Horse, etc

All that’s needed to make the crocheted ornaments pictured above and below is a pattern, some crochet cotton and a stiffening agent.  There are tons of free patterns available on the net.

dove, bell, ball

I made four of these two Christmases ago, one for each child and one for our own tree.
I made four of these two Christmases ago, one for each child and one for our own tree.
Plastic Canvas ornaments
The top two oraments are done on 10 count plastic canvas with yarn while the bottom one is worked on a finer mesh plastic canvas using embroidery floss.

Now you may be thinking to yourself, “But I don’t know how to crochet or embroider or cross stitch.”

For this next ornament I simply cut a yard of lace, folded over 1/3 lengthwise, ran a gathering stitch along the edge of the fold with needle and thread and then pulled the thread tight and knotted it.  The lace circle was then glued onto a circle cut from white cardstock.  You could also cut a circle from an old Christmas card.

I finished the center of the ornament by gluing on some loops of ribbon and the little bear. A short length of ribbon was glued between the lace and the card stock to hang the ornament.

Lacey Bear

And think of all the ornaments you can make with no more than a pair of scissors, some glue and squares of felt.

Transform a couple of pieces of felt into a dove or cardinal like the ones pictured below:

Dove and Cardinal

Remember the paper chains we made in grade school?   This would be a great project to do with your children or grandchildren.

Here’s a link to a how-to using old books.

I’ve also seen paper chains made out of sheet music.

Don’t happen to have any old sheet music laying around the house?  Print some vintage sheet music courtesy of the Graphics Fairy.

And while you’re printing off sheet music to make paper chains print a few extra pages to make some small wreaths from this tutorial:

Finally I’d like to share with you one more simple idea using no more than a few rolls of wired ribbon you can find at the dollar store and a bit of floral wire (or I must confess… the twist ties from bread.)

Wire ribbon bows

To make the bows, cut a 2 ft or 3 ft length of the wire ribbon depending on how long you want the tails to be.   Make two loops and wrap a piece of wire around the middle to form the bow.  Wire the bows to the tree.

For a few dollars you can make enough to cover the entire tree.

If you have a few more dollars, pick up some Christmas floral picks and add them in between the bows like this:

Floral picks

I hope I’ve  inspired you to make some Christmas ornaments this year; either for your own tree, for your children for their future trees or to give as gifts to family and friends.    Join me again next month for more Christmas on a Budget ideas.

Past Christmas on a Budget Series posts can be found by clicking on these links:

Building Traditions

Two No-Sew Christmas Ideas

Buy Christmas Fabric Only When On Sale

Christmas Fabric – Part 2

Gifts for Less than $2 Each

Homemade Gift Tags

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  • Marlene
    January 4, 2012 12:35 pm

    I love your tree. with the home made ornaments. I’m sure your family enjoy their gifts too. Last year I discovered crochet snowflakes and stuck them on my windows with “sticki dots”. All my family wanted some when the saw them so I have been busy all year round!
    I would love to crochet the dove (from bell, ball, dove) if you could advise where to get the pattern. I’ve searched the web for the dove but only found a couple I didn’t like. Also I would be grayeful if you have any information about the crochet rocking horse.

    • supermom
      January 4, 2012 8:33 pm

      Hello Marlene,

      I’m glad you like the ornaments. I made the dove and rocking horse ornaments several years ago and no longer have the patterns. I believe they were in a magazine called Crochet World, but I’m not sure which issue. The rocking horse was made back in the late 80s and the dove was made in the early 2000s.

      • Marlene
        January 17, 2012 5:40 pm

        Hi, Thanks for your reply. I guess I’ll have to do without some of my own and just admire yours!

  • Sandra :)
    September 25, 2011 4:34 pm

    I like making ornaments out of cornstarch clay – I used to do it with my daycare kids all the time! You can add glitter to the dough, or put a doily on top and roll over it with the rolling pin for a decorative look 🙂 I have cornstarch ornaments that my boys made in their first year of KG — another mom and I took batches of the clay in to do with the kids 🙂 I treasure those ornaments!

  • Robin (rsIslandCrafts)
    September 25, 2011 3:25 pm

    We buy one special ornament each year for each person in the family. I put the year and the kids initials on their ornaments. I also have lots of handmade ornaments for the tree. I tell the kids they can have the ornaments when the move out…maybe.

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