upcycled Christmas Decor

5 Creative Projects to Stretch Your Christmas Budget

If you’re like me your Christmas budget may already be stretched just buying gifts and extra food. But what if you’re on a small budget and still want to decorate (or give decorations) for the holidays. I’ve got you covered with five upcycled Christmas decor ideas. Spread some holiday cheer around your house (or even the neighborhood) with these great ideas that are also easy on the budget!

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1. Use a Tree Stump or Log for a Beautiful Table Setting or Even Ornaments to Make Upcycled Christmas Decor

If you have cut wood for burning in the fireplace or just trim a small piece off the bottom of your real Christmas tree, you can use that for beautiful, rustic decorations!

Simply cut the diameter of the wood into slices, leaving the bark on, place on the table and decorate using greenery, holly, or even just placing LED candles on them for a little ambiance (without the obvious fire hazard of open flame on top of wood). The awesome thing about these is they work year-round!

pinecones and a fishbowl on top of a slice of wood
fishbowl not required, but the pinecones are a nice touch!

If you have a branch or log that is not as large in diameter drill a hole toward the top and hang the slices as ornaments! Stencil some initials or brush on some glitter for a little extra detail. They’d be adorable with snowmen, stockings, deer silhouettes, or stars painted on them! This is a simple, oh so easy form of upcycled Christmas decor! If you have kids this would make a great craft to do over the break! Have them help paint the ornaments (maybe not cut them). Gotta keep them entertained for two weeks after all…

Related: For more Christmas craft ideas see my latest YouTube video: Episode 108: Christmas Crafts featuring my sister, Cara Davis, and two of the crafts from her Etsy Shop!

2. Wreaths Made of Grapevine or Tree Cuttings Make Great Upcycled Christmas Decor

I was literally just in Goodwill today and saw a substantial grapevine wreath for $5.75. Alas, I was there looking for counter height barstools and don’t have a wreath in the budget, but my point is these can be picked up cheap! My frugal instinct tells me $2 can probably score a pretty good one at a yard sale or other thrift store.

You could even pull the sunflowers off an old summer wreath stored in the attic and upcycle yourself some great Christmas decor! Or, save yourself some trouble, head to Dollar Tree, and pick up a wire wreath form. They even come in 3-D! If you use a real tree and have to trim a few boughs use the greenery to fill the wreath! It’d make a beautiful advent wreath or look great on the door. The best part – you only have $1 in it!

3. Upcycle Pinecones as Ornaments!

Several years ago I made ornaments for a church Christmas bazaar using only pinecones and ribbon. They sold pretty well. Amazingly (to me) they held up pretty well also; I still have a few on my tree! Simply make a loop to hang from the tree out of ribbon, hot glue it to the top, and fashion a simple bow out of ribbon to hide the glue. Easy peasy lemon squeezy as my six-year-old says. And very neutral; it could go with several color schemes or tree themes.

4. Make a Christmas garland with old cards for Upcycled Christmas decor

I used to make gift tags and scrapbook pages out of old card pictures. It was fun, economical, and they were all one-of-a-kind. Even if you’re sentimental about cards, you can still keep the message! Even just hanging them by clothespins on a line of jute rope would be a pretty way to make a blank wall feel festive.

stack of Christmas cards

5. Repurpose Some Childhood Favorites

This requires zero effort and has all the nostalgia. If like me you were allowed to pick out an ornament a year as a child (I picked very random ornaments) why not pull them out and use them with your kids? We have two small trees we use in our kids’ rooms. There was nowhere “safe” to display the tree in our toddler son’s new room this year, but next year I will find a spot for it. He’ll likely have a different furniture arrangement by them.

Most if not all of the ornaments on the tree in our daughter’s room were ours as children! She loves that. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to go through a box of old ornaments with my sister. Some of the wood ones are now on our tree in the living room.

My kids will grow older, be safer around baubles, and our tree will eventually get fancier. For now, I like being able to look at almost every ornament on the tree and have it mean something. Most of the ornaments on our tree were made by yours truly or someone I love; I have ornaments from my sister in years past, ornaments we made together (see the link above), ornaments my kids made, some my mother made, and a few that were made by ladies who were very special to me growing up who have since passed.

upycled Christmas decor

Do You Have Favorite Items to Upcycle for the Holidays?

I love finding new uses for things in general, but there’s something really magical about the holidays. Anything that adds to the magic without upsetting the budget is just grand in my book.

That’s one of the reasons I love upcycled Christmas decor; it saves you money and keeps items fresh and in use. I’d love to hear your frugal and upcycled decor ideas in the comments. Do you have any special ornaments that you hold dear? Tell me about them! Until next time, and stay frugal this holiday season my friends!


  1. Heather says:

    Great ideas. I like upcycling in general, turning unexpected things into art or ornamentation. I work in IT and last year, I took a bunch of old computer parts and used those as ornaments. This year, we did the same. It fits in well on our floor since we’re all IT and people love it. I’m also saving some things from the landfill.

  2. Sarah says:

    So many great upcycled ideas. I love the use of a slice off the bottom of your tree. I see things like that for sale in stores and they look neat but wow are they expensive. But if you are getting a live tree it’s an easy thing to make.I remember making grapevine wreaths as a kid, it was one of my favorite things to do. We would go out into the bush, which was at the back of our property, in late fall/early winter and gather up the vines there and we would make tons of wreaths. Some we sold, some we gifted and some we used to decorate out house. I need to do that again.

  3. goatdogsimple says:

    We need more of these posts. I’m really getting into upcycling as a way to help the environment and save money. Love your idea of the tree stump as table decor. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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