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How to Decorate a Christmas Tree on a Budget: The Holiday Season Can Still Sparkle with Homemade Decorations

Published by Marty Dubon

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The young and the young at heart love to decorate the Christmas tree and yet around the world, families are dealing with smaller holiday budgets and looking for ways to keep the spirit of Christmas shining bright, but for a lot less money.

Decorating a Christmas tree is a traditional and beloved part of the holiday season. However, store-bought Christmas ornaments can be expensive, especially during a time of year when so much excess money is being spent already. With these inexpensive decorating ideas instead, a budget constraint no longer means a lonely, barren ‘Charlie Brown’ Christmas tree.

Of course, any tree can begin with time tested and homemade favorites such as popcorn garland, popcorn ornament balls, sugar cookies tied with ribbons for hanging and cranberry garland for a more elegant look. However, here are a few other fun ideas for decorating a Christmas tree on a budget.

Snowflakes Bring the Magic of the Holiday Season

Snowflakes are cheap and fun to make for kids and adults alike. All that’s needed is some paper, in various colors if desired, and scissors. There is no wrong way to make a snowflake, and it’s exciting to see the results when the paper is unfolded. A nicely made snowflake is light, elegant, and lacy; perfect for a Christmas tree. For a little more sparkle, spray the snowflakes with spray adhesive and then sprinkle with gold and silver glitter dust.

Candy Canes are a Perennial Favorite

Cellophane wrapped candy canes are a seasonal favorite to eat but they also look terrific hanging on a Christmas tree. Their hook is perfect for hanging over the branches of a Christmas tree so they are kid friendly for decorating with no sharp ornament hooks.


They are delicious and may be happily consumed once the tree is taken down or a little at a time throughout the holiday season; and they’re quite inexpensive. A package of a dozen candy canes costs $1, more or less, at most supermarkets or dollar stores. For added fun, decorate the candy canes in the shape of reindeer using pipe cleaners for the antlers and black paper circles for eyes.

No Christmas Tree is Complete without Traditional Glass Ornaments

For some fancier ornamentation, families might try do-it-yourself glass ornaments. Crafting stores like Michael’s Crafts carry items like empty glass balls, acrylic paint, and bags of tinsel. Crafty Christmas crafters will also want to grab a cheap package of ornament hooks to attach to the finished product, and should save an empty egg carton if they intend on using paint.

  • Painted Ornaments: Glass ornaments filled with different colors of acrylic paint is unique and beautiful – and certain to become instant family heirlooms. To make these, a crafter will squirt a moderate amount of paint into the glass bulb and turn it so that the paint evenly coats the inside. Then, the ornament should be placed upside-down in an egg carton so that the excess paint can drain. Once dry, the cap of the ornament may be reattached and it can be hung on the tree.
  • Tinsel or Paper Ornaments: Store-bought tinsel or simply colorful shredded papers are fine fillings for clear glass ornaments. Simply remove the cap, stuff tinsel or paper inside, and reattach the cap. The result is lightweight, pretty, and immediately ready to hang on the tree.

A beautifully trimmed tree doesn’t have to be expensive, and many families will enjoy the experience of sharing a fun crafting project with family and friends. Better yet, host a family ornament party and let everyone take home the true spirit of Christmas.

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