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7 ways to decorate your tree on a budget

Posted on: 20/10/2022

If you’re feeling the pinch this year, you won’t be alone. But you don’t need to spend a fortune to make your tree sparkle – there’s lots of cheap ways to decorate your Christmas tree which will not only look fabulous, but can be great fun too. We thought we’d share some of our favourite ways to dress a Christmas tree for free (or nearly free!).

1. Festive paper chains

These classic paper chains are easy to make and a fabulous alternative to tinsel. Use them to decorate real Christmas trees, mantelpieces and banisters for a great homemade Christmas look.

You’ll need plain or coloured paper, scissors and glue. Simply cut out strips that are the same length and width, glue at one side to make a loop and then repeat, interlinking the loops as you go. 

Red, green and white is the classic christmas paper chain combo but if you’re going for a rainbow christmas tree theme [link to 2022 themes blog] this year then choose bright colours instead. Classic white paper chains can also look really classy – use thinner strips of paper for more delicate chains to place around the tree.

dried fruit Christmas tree decorations

2. Dried fruit 

Nothing says Christmas like dried orange and lemon slices with cloves and cinnamon. And the smell they give off when hung on the tree is really lovely too. 

The method is easy – simply pop your slices of citrus fruit in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, then leave to cool before adding cloves to the fruit. Hang with thread or ribbon, and add some cinnamon sticks for a proper, traditional Christmas tree decoration. 

3.Gold and silver spray

Although it can be a bit messy, this is one DIY activity the kids will really enjoy getting involved with. You will need gold and silver crafting spray, which is available from most good craft shops and departments. And don’t forget to put down plenty of newspaper to protect the surfaces before you begin! 

Then it’s just a matter of deciding which items to spray. We tend to go natural with twigs, acorns and pinecones, but if you’re looking to do something a bit different why not raid the kid’s toy drawers for any unwanted small figurines. Gold and silver dinosaurs, cars or dolls can look really fab (and very kitsch!) dangling from the tree.

4. Personalised baubles

For a unique decoration that doesn’t cost a fortune, why not have a go at decorating your own baubles? Our decorate-at-home bauble packs come with their own set of paints, and are a great way to create a family favourite you can cherish year after year. Let your creativity run wild – with funky patterns or paint your own Christmas scene (we recommend sketching it out first). You could also decorate with someone’s name for an extra special gift.


5. Popcorn garlands

Another interesting and eco-friendly alternative to tinsel, popcorn garlands add a playful element to the tree and are such good fun to make. Follow these easy step by step instructions and you can’t go wrong. Once your popcorn is popped (always allow for more than half to be eaten!), remember to leave the popcorn to cool. This will make it much easier to thread. It can be a little fiddly at first but once you get into the swing of it, threading is very satisfying! 

You can always add dried fruit such as cranberries to the thread, or add a little food colouring when popping your corn for a bright and funky look.

6. Paper snowflakes

Paper snowflakes are so simple. They can look great on windows or hanging from the tree. To make a snowflake, simply fold your square of paper diagonally to make smaller and smaller triangles, then start snipping to make your pattern. Smaller children might need a bit of help with scissors, but will love opening up the paper to reveal the patterns they’ve made. Again, you can use coloured paper but plain white paper works just as well. 

People at a Christmas tree decoration swapping party

7. Have a decoration swapping party

Clothes swaps have been popular for a number of years now, so why not extend the idea to Christmas decorations too? This is a lovely way to share some of your old decorations and borrow new ones to give your tree a whole new look. Get out the mulled wine and mince pies, and ask your friends to come over with a bag of their old decorations, then swap away! Sociable and good for the planet too.