Frugal Christmas Decorations

The simplest and nicest holiday decorations are the ones you make yourself. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy wreaths and centerpieces. Look around your house at items you already have and consider using more natural materials you can find in your backyard in your decorating scheme. Thrift stores are also great sources for some fun holiday decorations.

1. Make a candy cane vase using an empty coffee can. Glue candy canes, curved side up, around the entire can. Fill this with red flowers for a spirited holiday table decoration.

2. For a children’s holiday party, use a colorful woolen scarf as a table runner. Tuck silverware into matching mittens and fill hats with small bags of candy or cookies.

3. Group a collection of nutcrackers, teddy bears, or favorite ornaments together for a simple centerpiece.

4. Put some bare twigs in a vase and insert gumdrops or cranberries on the ends of the branches for an unusual tree centerpiece.

5. A nice natural centerpiece can be made by lining a wooden bowl with colorful leafy greens. Fill with a selection of winter fruit.

6. If you are handy with wrapping paper, wrap up some empty boxes with holiday wrapping and pile them in the center of your table.

7. Bread dough makes a beautiful wreath. Braid a long strand of your favorite bread dough and attach both ends. Add a ribbon at the top for an unusual wreath.

8. Spray pine cones and whole walnuts with gold or silver spray paint and scatter them around your house for a touch of shine.

9. Go beyond the traditional Christmas tree garlands of popcorn and cranberries and try stringing pasta or cinnamon sticks instead. You can also dry orange and apple slices and string them for a country holiday garland.

10. Make small bowls of potpourri and place them around the house. Mix together some cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and allspice, citrus peel and pine cones.

Nanette Blanchard is the author of ‘Tis the Season: A Vegetarian Christmas Cookbook (Simon & Schuster, 1995). You’ll want to pick up a copy now before the holidays.