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In this guide, we show you just how fun, easy and cheap it is to make your own Christmas tree decorations. You’ll find out how to source craft supplies for free (or very cheaply), where to find inspiration, and how to put everything together to create something unique for your home.

Due to the events of 2020 so far, many families are planning to have a slightly different Christmas than usual this year. Many of us won’t be travelling to see family and friends over the holidays, and will be opting for a safe, quiet Christmas at home instead.

You might be concerned about the cost of the festive season too, -you‘re not alone. A recent Toluna study has shown that 52% of people in the UK are concerned about affording Christmas, and 31% are planning to spend less money on gifts this year. Making your own Christmas decorations instead of buying something new not only saves money, but is also kinder to the environment and provides some learning opportunities for children along the way. You could even give them as gifts! Here’s how to get started:

Collect Your Materials

Creating things doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, many crafting materials can be sourced for free if you know where to look. Hunting down materials can be just as fun as the crafting itself -particularly for younger children - it can also be a good opportunity to teach something new to kids of all ages.

Craft materials from nature: Craft materials at home:
Twigs Newspaper & magazines
Pine cones & acorns Toilet roll & kitchen roll tubes
Autumn leaves Cardboard & egg cartons
Holly Plastic bottles
Mistletoe Cotton wool
Pebbles Old light bulbs
Fruit Unwanted clothing

Some craft supplies might cost money, but there are cheap ways to find them:

  1. Check out the charity shops in your area – they may have crafting materials for sale at a fraction of the price of new. Look out for coloured wools and twine, festive clothing (for the material) and bargain bin costume jewellery (for the beads).
  2. Paints, PVA glue, sticky tape and glitter can be found on local selling sites or in discount stores. It’s also worth requesting crafting materials through sites like Freegle and Freecycle, or asking your friends & family – many will be generous if asked, but might not have thought to offer items they have to spare.

Christmas Crafting Ideas

There’s plenty of ideas online, but sometimes the simplest crafts make the most impact. Remember you don’t always have to follow instructions – if you’re inspired by your materials and you want to give something a go; just go for it! You might accidentally create a decoration that’s treasured for generations to come.

Simple shapes

Use free festive templates for Christmas characters like snow people, ginger bread people and candy canes (if you’re not confident drawing your own). Cut these out of cardboard or thick paper, and decorate with paints, beads and embellishments to create a unique piece of art, before adding some string at the top for hanging. Top tip: cotton wool makes a perfect Santa beard!

Paper crafts

Paper crafts are perfect for younger children and can include paper chains made from festive paper (instead of tinsel), cut-out snowflakes (full instructions can be found here) and folded paper angels. To make paper angels, fold the paper in a concertina fashion to create a fan. Once you have three fans, use one for the body (wide end at the bottom) and two for the wings. Glue these together and add a ‘head’ in the middle, which can be a large decorative bead or even an acorn, then add string at the top for hanging on the tree.

Glitter light bulbs

Ask friends and family if they have any light bulbs that have recently blown, and request to take them off their hands. As long as they’re not smashed, you can coat the glass in a thin layer of glue, and then roll the bulb in glitter; alternatively you can also paint the glass or use permanent markers to decorate it. Wrap the metal end in twine and add a loop for hanging, and you’ve got a unique glass Christmas bauble! This is a great way to repurpose something that would usually go into landfill.

Twig stars

The basics of making a twig star are relatively easy to master, and once you’ve managed some smaller ones, you may want to try a larger, more decorative version for the top of your tree. Twigs can be glittered or painted prior to assembly for some extra sparkle, and could also be embellished with beads and ribbon that matches your colour scheme. You can fix this to the top of your tree with more twine, or suspend it from the ceiling so that it hangs in the right spot.

Dried fruit

Dried orange slices make great tree decorations, as they’re both beautiful and they smell amazing. If you don’t want to dry them in a low oven for hours on end, it can be done in the microwave. These can also be glittered once they’ve cooled, or you could string a few of them together along with a cinnamon stick to really bring out the smells of Christmas.

Painted pebbles

As many of us will be buying and receiving fewer gifts this year, it may also be nice to create some decorations to go underneath the tree. Painted pebbles look great in groups, and can be placed amongst the presents. It can be fun to get everyone in the household involved, so each member of the family is represented by ‘their’ Christmas pebble. You could paint penguins, snowmen, Santa Claus and his elves, or simply your own name. These will last for many Christmases if you look after them well, helping you to create memories for the years to come.

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By H&T Pawnbrokers