Christmas is coming faster than you might imagine - better get prepared for the holiday season in time. Holidays usually involve heavy shopping and preparations, and put a serious dent in our budget, but there are some ways to save a few bucks even at this time of the year. Like making your own Christmas decorations, for example, instead of buying ready-made, overpriced ones that are usually made in China. Here are some great ideas that you can realize yourself, at home, at a small cost.
The basics - popcorn, pine cones, apple candle holders
One of the simplest Christmas decorations I have learned as a child was popcorn strings hung on the Christmas tree. This is the most budget-friendly decoration ever: all you need is a bag of popcorn (preferably the plain, salted kind), a piece of thread and a needle. Pop the corn and let it cool down, thread the needle, and one by one push the needle through the pieces of popcorn. Create a string of at least a few feet long, and when the time comes, simply put it on your Christmas tree. It looks adorable, and it's cheap (and even edible).
Pine cones are easy to come by - try to find a pine tree in your local park, and you will almost certainly find some fallen cones underneath it, especially after a windy day. Let the cones dry out, paint them in your favorite colors (silver and gold go best with the Christmas spirit), or leave them au naturel and hang them on the Christmas tree or use them as a table decoration.
Another very simple Christmas decoration is an apple used as a candle holder. Choose nice, red apples and nice, red candles, combined with a few smaller pine cones (see above), some fresh, green pine branches and some gold or silver ribbon tied in a nice bow, and you have an adorable and inexpensive decoration for your Christmas table.
Painted peanuts and paper punches
Another adorable and cheap Christmas decoration I have seen involves some creativity, some paint and a bag of unsalted peanuts in their shell. Paint them in various colors - red for Santa, white for a snowman, brown for a reindeer, and so on. With some wire and some cotton you can add the details - Santa's beard, and Rudolph's antlers, and you are done. Hang them all around the house or on your Christmas tree.
Another nice idea for decorating at Christmas time is to invest in a large paper punch with a festive form (I have seen one on Amazon for under $10 that, considering that you can re-use it year after year, is a good investment). Use it to cut out various forms - snowflakes, circles and so on - from a piece of colored felt, and you have the best Christmas decorations at hand.