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Best Way to Decorate Christmas Trees on a Budget: Inexpensive or Free & Easy Holiday Ornaments & Decorations

Published by Jerry Ormsby

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Holiday and seasonal magazines are filled with pictures of gorgeous, professionally decorated trees that evoke images of Victorian Christmases, holidays in the country, or even Renaissance seasonal celebrations. One common factor with each of these displays, is that expensive, vintage, or one-of-a-kind ornaments are used, which increases the decorating budget astronomically.

However, you can create a beautifully decorated Christmas tree that delivers a theme, without blowing your budget. Follow these simple guidelines, capitalize on your own passions and collections, and get ready to receive the compliments!

Basics & Tree Foundation

Whether your tree is real or artificial, begin your display by securing your tree in the holder, leveling the tree and securing the upper branches if the tree is top heavy and likely to tip. Finally, cover the tree holder with a tree skirt or a length of fabric in a color that coordinates with your theme.

Fill in any bare spots and along the length of the trunk with crumpled lengths of wired ribbon. Shop at your local Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, or Joanne Fabrics to find the best holiday ribbon at a sale price. Select the ribbon of your choice, making sure it has the following qualities:

  • 3 to 4” in width
  • Wired edges
  • Neutral color (i.e. not bright red, blue or green)
  • Glitter or metallic quality to create shimmer and reflection off of the tree lights

To fill in the bare spots, cut the ribbon into pieces that are 2’ to 3’ in length. Crumple and stuff in the ribbon into the “holes” or to hide the pole that acts as a trunk for artificial trees. Twist the ribbon, curl it back onto itself and play around with the edges, to create more angles from which to bounce the light. Don’t forget to string a lot of lights on your tree. Multi-color or monochromatic are both good choices, but use the small light bulbs to draw attention to your decorations and NOT to the lights.


Take Inventory of Your Belongings

If you are a pig collector, you likely have many unique, conversation-starting pig decorations. Be clever and figure out how you can safely attach the pigs to the tree branches. You may find that twist ties, cable ties, and ribbon are extremely helpful here.

Finally, add the one item that will give your tree extra punch. In the pig-inspired example above, the one extra item could be a pig plush toy or a special ornament from the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Try This Simple Northwoods Lodge-Inspired Christmas Tree:

String white Christmas tree lights throughout the tree and use silvery, metallic ribbon to fill in the bare spots. Fill the tree with dozens of pine cones collected from nature. Hot glue a loop of red ribbon to the base of the pinecone and use the loop to suspend the cone from the tree. Add bundles of cinnamon sticks or birch twigs, which have been tied and looped with the same red ribbon throughout the tree. Finish with a generous supply of traditional candy canes and your cozy Christmas tree, done on a budget, is complete!

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