Heirlooms to treasure, or just plain creative family fun — either way, there’s a special magic to Christmas decorations that you make yourself at home, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
Here’s a round-up of very cool free patterns and how-to tutorials for frugal holiday decorations that you can make yourself:
Cardboard, glue, tiny pine cones, and scraps of birchbark — topped off with a sprinkle of glitter, the only special craft item you’ll need to do this — create a rustic miniature Christmas village! Crafty author-designer-teacher Kristin Nicholas (of the much-beloved “Getting Stitched on the Farm” blog) gives us a clear step-by-step tutorial for making our own. Got a few cardboard cereal boxes, scraps of birchbark, glue, and glitter? Tiny houses can be a part of your holiday mantel display, too.
Snuggle the houses on a landscape of poly fibrefill or quilt batting snow, if you’ve got some on hand, or just drape a white cloth over crumbled balls of newspaper to make a winter landscape to showcase the minature village.
Squawkfox makes soft stuffies in the shape of tiny trees from leftover scraps of fabric. Quick and easy to sew, it’s a great project for anyone just learning to sew — and you can have amazing fun in embellishing the simple stuffed trees with buttons and bows and fabric paints, whatever you have on hand! Download her printable 2-piece pattern and make yourself a whole forest of stuffies!
Popcorn garlands were always a part of Christmas when I was a child, for example. Sometimes we’d have a bag of those big burgundy-red cranberries to string along with the popcorn — beauty! And sometimes the family dog would sneak a snack from the Christmas tree. I still smile at the memories…
Becca spreads the seasonal joy (and festive decorations) outdoors, with molded bird seed treats — pretty wreaths to feed the birds while they decorate the trees in your yard. (These would make a terrific frugal gift for a birdlover, too!)
Tiny pieces of felt, a little stuffing, and a couple of paperclips — that’s all it takes to make these cute ice skates mini-ornaments from a tutorial by Not Quite Vintage (inspired by her grandmother). Add sequins or seed beads for buttons, or whip a bit of colourful embroidery floss up the front edge to look like laces.
Homemade Play Dough / Salt Clay Ornaments
Another favourite do-it-yourself Christmas decoration around our place, growing up, was salt dough modelling clay we’d shape like Play-do into stars and trees and angels, bake in the oven until they dried, then add a touch of craft paint and a ribbon for hanging… My salt dough modelling clay recipe is here, if you want to give it a try for yourself.
Maybe paper crafts are more your style?
Do you see an idea here you’d love to try?
This year, the holidays are going to be especially tough for a lot of families — so what better time to rediscover the true meaning of the season, sitting down with the kids to create new traditions that have more to do with sharing the moment than with spending hard-earned money at the mall. Frugal and festive, creative fun!