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Christmas Tree thread and told my traditions to save $ decorating a tree. Now I'm curious, assuming you can manage a tree, what do you do to decorate it cheaply?

I'm contemplating buying some tin icicle ornaments to use forever instead of tinsel. I have some glass ones, and some bead ones that were made by a friend, but I've always ALSO added tinsel.

Usually, it's from the bargain bin after Christmas. But, I'm on an kick against consumables that are NOT food, power, etc., so the tinsel won't be used this year. That's one way I'm saving on our tree this year. (If I don't buy those tin icicles.)

What to you do?

Judi
 

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Cookies? I've seen some really nice trees done all in cookies.

Old flannel shirts sewn into ornaments is another really cute homespun theme I've seen. The ornaments were quilted (stuffed) balls.

Just ribbons/bows made from old plaid material and lights I've seen too, just this year at the barn shop. It was really pretty.
 
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Cut out pictures from magazines, glue to construction paper and hang.

Wrap small boxes, add ribbon and hang as ornaments.

Small stuffed toys, small cars , etc. can hang or be nestled in the branches.

I've taken old Mardi Gras beads and used them as garland.

Popcorn garland, and paper chains -

I bought some pretty ribbon after the season a few years ago, and I hang it long wise on the tree, instead of tinsel. If you get metallic ribbons, it shines in the lights almost the same.
 

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i dont use tinsel..... tinsel is evil .... LOL
kills vaccuums and ends up stuck in your house forever
( same reason i dont use that tinsel like stuff in Easter baskets they call grass LOL)

i just re-use things every year - if i have the $ kids get a new ornament - if not we make things - string popcorn etc .
 
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I stopped using tinsel years ago. It was such a hassle, and the cats always got into it. And of course, it's not safe for pets, if they eat it it can really harm them inside.

The first year I had my own tree I made ornaments out of circles of christmas fabric sewn together. They were pretty ugly but they got the job done. Then I discovered post-holiday markdowns.

One year in college I scrounged through the house (I had multiple house mates) and collected up stuff, tied red plaid ribbons on everything and that was our tree. If it was shiny or colorful it became an ornament.

For years after that we had no actual tree, I strung lights in front of the fireplace (we never used it) or against a wall in a tree/triangle shape. Didn't use ornaments.

When I got married I again started buying during clearance sales, 1-2 things at a time. Honestly, it doesn't take long before you have enough ornaments to cover the tree, and I haven't bought new ones in years. I don't understand what happens to the millions of decorations sold each year. Do people buy a whole new tree's worth of junk every year or what? I would think by the time you were 25 or 30 you'd have enough to last the rest of your life with maybe one or two replacement purchases to account for breakage.
 
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We haven't had a full tree since the dogs got bigger and we started being out of town around the holiday. I've made my own:

bundles of cinnamon sticks (the craft variety) and tied them with ribbons
popcorn and cranberry garland (note, the birds do NOT like the string when it is put outside)
slivers of dried fruitsorange, grapefruit, lemons, limes and apples,
curls of ribbon and orange peel the orange peel smells so nice when the lights are turned on
cinnamon ornaments (apple sauce with cinnamon to make a roll-able paste then cut with holiday cookie cutters)
pinecones, walnuts, almonds (in their shell) and pecans that have been painted gold and silver with a ribbon glued on top

Most of these were done over the course of years so no one year had all the craft expenses. If we didn't have the four footed girls I would take holiday wrapped candies and hang them off the tree limbs.... and when company came over they could eat an ornament on the ride home. :D
 
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That's the kind Greebo and I have this year.... I haven't set it up yet as I'm hunting for that little blue blankie still. lol
 
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Another thought.... I have seen nice ornaments going cheap at thrift stores. Sometimes "like new" unopened boxes of ornaments and lights for $1-$2. They usually have other stuff to decorate with, too. I see lots of mugs, knick-knacks, and cookie tins.
 
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We had one like the picture above in college. We told everyone it was 'sincere' like in Charlie Brown. I have a huge collection of made by kid things but our first 'real' Christmas tree had lights and bows. It looked very country-primitive and I actually liked it. There's always popcorn strings, glittered free pine cones, little red candies or cookies.
 
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That's the kind Greebo and I have this year.... I haven't set it up yet as I'm hunting for that little blue blankie still. lol
Does it have to be a particular kind of blankie? I bet a square of blue fleece from the craft store will work. I don't know much fleece is though...

We have a white tree and I just use multicolored lights and multicolored glass ornaments.Sometimes we'll use plain yellow lights and decorate it with white and gold ornaments. I think one year we used red lights and red ornaments. The glass ornaments I have to buy new every year because they won't last.
 
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my favorite was one I learned in HS. I go to the Dollar Store and get a large container of cinnamon. I mix equal parts of that with applesauce to make a dough. Roll out and cut with a Cross cookie cutter (or others of your choice) Poke a hole with a skewer in the middle and let air dry for a few days. I then use a ribbon to attach them to the tree.

I make a batch for less than $3 and make sure to put them near the lights so that the heat from the lights activates the smell.

It's simple and pretty IMO.

Last year money was super tight and I really didn't have it to spend, but believe we should always put up a tree. I purchased a inexpensive artificial tree from walmart for $20 2 strands of lights for $1.50 ea and then made these ornaments. I used ribbon I already had.

I also, purchased a new towel in a pretty green and made stockings for me, BF, and our cats. I had less than $30 total in all decorations and I was happy with it. I think I will continue the tradition this year.
 

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the electric eel??
 
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Ahhhh thanks Palooka. I had no idea what was going on there. ROFL, now I am wondering how much that would be compared to say a solar panel. :coffee3:
I think I would go for solar power and not the eel. :D I bet they get expensive to feed throughout the year. :p
 
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We reuse all the ornaments every year. I've also been adding a new ornament for each kid since they were babies. They'll have plenty of their own ornaments for a tree when they move out. A majority of the ornaments I have came from my mom when I moved out and from DH's mom as well.

We also reuse the same lights until they completely die.

And...I won the tinsel battle for years. Then lost it the last couple years so I will probably be buying tinsel this year as well, although probably only one or two small boxes since I pull it all off the tree and put it in a paper bag for use the next year. Works pretty well and keeps it away from all the wild life when the tree goes outside!
 

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I made my decorations years ago on the cheap and still use them and love them. My theme is homespun. For the garland I took rope(1/2" jute) and tied strips of gingham and homespun plaid material in about 1 1/2" intervals. They were about 4" x 1" strips that I cut with pinking shears. I made wreaths by wrapping the same garland around them. I took plain plastic colored ornaments I had and glued little squares of the fabrics on in a patchwork pattern. Did the same thing to the dress of a paper mache' angel. I had tiny grapevine wreaths leftover from a wedding receptions decorations so I made bows with the fabric strips and twine and raffia and added it to the wreaths..probably have close to a dozen of those. I have picked up a few ornaments over the years that go with the theme but very few. I also use kraft paper to wrap my gifts. I use the same type of fabric to make bows and use twine and raffia to tie it off. This way everything always matches and I can always use the kraft paper throughout the year for other gifts.This year I ordered a bunch of kraft shopping bags. This gonna make things so much easier for me.

Anyhow all in all my decorations cost less than ten bucks. Rope and twine are around a buck. The fabrics I got probably 8 types in a 1/4 yd pieces. Probably $4 total on fabric. Ornaments I had. So not much money at all. Will try to take a picture....tree's not up yet.
 

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Can't seem to figure out how to edit previous post so will just start a new one. Just wanted to add pictures of the decorations I was talking about. The pics are not good but will have to do for now.



This is just the rope garland.



These are the plastic ornaments that I covered with fabric squares. Plus the angel tree topper.





How they look on tree.



The whole shebang! Sorry the pics are so bad. The light was coming in the window so brightly that I had a hard time taking a pic of the tree.
 
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