10 Easy and Creative Last Minute Christmas Tree Decorations
Christmas is almost upon us, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t have some fun with your holiday decorations. Maybe you’re the kind of person who waits until the last minute to set up your tree, or perhaps you’ve noticed some bare spots on the limbs just crying out for a few more ornaments. Or maybe you need a last minute activity to keep the kids busy while they wait for the impending arrival of Santa Claus. Nothing is more maddening for a child than the last few days leading up to Christmas, before all of their holiday loot arrives.
If you’re in a decorating rut, and need some simple ideas that don’t require a lot of prep time or money, don’t worry –– we’ve got you covered. Here are some creative and inexpensive Christmas tree decorations you can put together with items that are probably already strewn about your house, or that can you find at a local convenience store or thrift shop.
Colorful Paper Globes
In case you're tired of the same old round Christmas globes you’ve used every year, you can make you own colorful paper globe ornaments. You’ll need glue (glue guns work best, or glue sticks), stiff paper or thin cardboard that already has some designs on it (you can create your own designs with pens or paint) and a pair of scissors or a large circular hole punch.
Cut out 16-20 circles, about three inches in length. Fold the circles in half, with the colored parts facing inside, and then glue them together along the folded edge. You can use a hook or a piece of ribbon at the end for your hanging loop, and then presto… you have a great new tree ornament.
If you’ve got kids, you've probably got Legos as well. That’s good news (at least as far as the Legos go), because you can build all kinds of ornaments out of Lego blocks. Construct your ornaments so that they resemble traditional holiday decorations, or be creative and attach a loop of sting onto a Lego Batman, Spiderman or Star Wars figure and hang them from a tree limb. Just try not to put up a Lego Joker, Bane or Darth Vader, unless you want a Lego superhero battle unfolding on your Christmas tree.
If you have some small, old toys that are in disrepair, you can give them a new lease on life with a bit of paint, and a thin wire hook or loop of ribbon or string.
Once you’ve attached your looped ribbon or hook onto the toy with some super glue, use model or spray paint to paint the toy (only if the original color has faded), turning it into a silver or golden decoration, which you can then spice up with some glitter. This decorative idea works especially well with wood and plastic toys, like trains, trucks, figurines and animals (not the stuffed kind, of course).
Ribbons and Boxes
If you already have a few small holiday-themed boxes taking up room in your house, why not wrap them up in a ribbon, decorate them and set them out on (not under) the Christmas tree? You can also make some small present boxes out of cardboard or old Christmas cards.
What could be more thematic than presents on a tree? Colorful wrapping paper, and bright ribbons will add some pizzazz to the boxes. The best thing about these decorations is that you can get them ready in no time at all.
Dangling Gingerbread Cookies
So your tree looks a little naked, and you need to spruce it up in a hurry since you’re running out of time. Gingerbread cookies just might save the day. You can bake gingerbread into any shape you please, and decorate your cookies with chocolate chips, hot cinnamon lava balls and an assortment of other colorful treats.
Gingerbread stars, sports cars, spaceships and hockey sticks are just some of the objects you can create. If you don’t leave your tree up for too long after the big day, you might even get away with eating some of these festive ornaments. Just make sure you gobble them down before they become stale.
Holiday Cookie Cutters
Okay, this idea might seem like a no-brainer, and a little on the simple side. Well, getting ready for Christmas can be a lot of hard work. Sometimes we need to do things fast. Some of us just aren’t up to the incredible Yuletide standards exemplified by Martha Stewart.
The concept here is easy. Holiday cookie cutters already come in interesting shapes (trees, Santa, reindeer, snowmen) and are often vibrantly colored. Once all of your Christmas cookies have been cut out and baked, wash the metal cutters thoroughly, let them dry and then dangle them from your tree. You can complete them with a bow, colored paper, glitter or paint, but the last two items will make them harder to reuse the following year when you want to bake cookies again.
White seashells, or shells painted by you and your kids, make for wonderful tree ornaments. If you’re fortune enough to live by the ocean, you might be able to pick up some shells at your local beach. If not, you’ll have to use the shells you collected on your last seaside vacation, or buy some at a craft store.
You can paint holiday designs on the sides of gray and white shells or attach a piece of folded lace or ribbon to them. After you pierce small holes into the shells, and thread some string or fishing wire though, you'll be able to hang these lovely ornaments from your tree.
Pocket-Sized Alcohol Bottles
Those travel-sized booze bottles you pick up on the plane can also be used to garnish your tree. They’re usually very small and colorful, and can reflect the glow of the surrounding Christmas lights. You can buy some already prepared for your home, or you can tie a piece of red or gold ribbon into a bow at the top of an empty miniature bottle, and suspend it from a tree limb.
True, these are more “adult themed” ornaments, but the kids are going to eventually figure out why the adults keep going back for more of that spiked eggnog. For many families, rum and wine (no matter the size of the booze container) are often a part of the festive season.
Most folks remember cutting out paper snowflakes when they were young. Usually your parents, or your teacher were the people who demonstrated how it was done. You have to fold a piece of paper (thicker paper for ornaments) diagonally in half a bunch of times, and then cut into it to make a snowflake, which you’ll be able to see when you unfold the paper. If you add some ribbons, you can turn your beautiful snowflakes into Christmas tree ornaments, or general holiday decorations. They’re easy and fun to make.
Old Christmas Card Cutouts
If you have a lot of old Christmas cards sitting around –– you know, the ones you get from the bank, or some group asking for donations -- you can use them to make ornaments. They’re already packed with Christmas designs, after all.
You just need to cut them out into geometrical shapes, and put them together in the forms of small paper trees, garlands (strung together with wire or string) or simply keep the initial holiday characters and shapes (Frosty, Santa) that were on the cards in the first place. These ornaments are quick and simple to build, plus they give you a great way to recycle old cards.