Creative Celebrations With Little Expense

Herald the season with our budget-friendly holiday hints.

Light It Up With LEDs

Nothing sets the tone for a festive season like a well-dressed tree. Decorating with LED lights instead of old-fashioned incandescent bulbs offers significant savings. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a 6-foot Christmas tree lighted 12 hours per day, for 40 days with old-fashioned C-9 light strands costs, on average, ten dollars. A tree lighted with C-9 LED light strands for the same amount of time uses only 27 cents worth of electricity. 

Making Memories

Set aside time with family and friends to craft simple decorations.  Colored paper chains, though simple in design, add impact and texture to tree decor. Arts and craft stores offer papers in assorted bright colors and metallic hues sold singly or in packages. Only equipment required: scissors and glue.

Replace traditional metal ornament hangers with lengths of narrow satin ribbon as a colorful way of attaching favorite homemade ornaments to a tree.

Fashion a garland of popcorn and cranberries to drape around the tree using a needle and thread.

Instead of dropping a bundle on a designer tree skirt, purchase several yards of inexpensive fabric in seasonal hues—think red-and-green plaids, dots, or prints—to adorn the base of your tree. If you prefer a rustic look, substitute a length of burlap.

Bring The Outdoors Inside

Deck the halls using elements handmade by Mother Nature. Create a holiday centerpiece or garland that includes pinecones, berries and evergreens. Rustic décor is fashionable, but if you prefer a little more glitz, gild leaves and cones with metallic spray paint.

Charming Crackers

Craft English-style party crackers as party favors for holiday guests. Fill cardboard cylinders (empty paper towel rolls) with small trinkets and gifts.  Include a printed riddle, joke, quote or gift certificate in each cracker.  Cover cylinders with seasonal wrapping paper and secure ends with ribbons. Tuck party crackers among branches of the Christmas tree, or place at each guest’s seat at the table.  Open crackers with party guests as part of the fun during a holiday gathering.