If you welcomed a Christmas tree into your home this year you're obviously going to need something to decorate it with besides that string of lights leftover from your college dorm. Luckily you can create your own tree ornaments with ingredients already in your kitchen cupboard. It takes a little effort to make some of these ornaments but it's a heck of a lot cheaper than buying them in a store. So fix a big batch of winter cocktails, throw on some Christmas tunes and get decorating.
- Popcorn and Cranberry Strands: These strands are incredible easy and very inexpensive and add a nice contrast against the dark green of an evergreen tree. Pop a large bowl of popcorn (air popper works best because you don't have to use oil) and set aside a cup or two of fresh cranberries. Thread a needle with string—or you can use a large gauge needle and unwaxed dental floss—but don't cut it from the spool. Carefully string pieces of popcorn one-by-one, alternating every few inches with a cranberry or two. Depending on the size of your tree, you may need to create multiple strands and then tie them together to avoid any tangling.
- Clove-Studded Oranges: Not only are these golden orbs beautiful to look at, the combination of citrus and spice will make your entire apartment smell spicy and festive. In order to hang your orange, you'll need to use ribbon to make a little harness (instruction video here), otherwise you can just make a few of them and set them in a nice-looking bowl. To create the ornament: using a knitting needle or a small nail, gently puncture the flesh or the orange, creating lots of tiny holes where you'll push in the cloves. You can do a traditional striped design or make any shape you want. Push the pointed end of the cloves into the hole up to the bulb at the end. Just keep in mind, these puppies are heavy, so chose your branch with care.
- Gingerbread/Salt Dough Ornaments: Baked ornaments can be created in any shape, size, color or design, meaning you can make them to match whatever color scheme you want. This step-by-step guide from The Imagination Tree takes you through making salt dough ornaments, which are very easy to make but are, sadly, inedible. The Kitchn has a great guide for Gingerbread ornaments that are both functional and tasty. Regardless of which recipe you use, the finished product can be decorated with frosting, glitter or paint.
- Blown Egg Ornaments: Though typically an Easter-time craft, blown eggs are just as easily translated into Christmas ornaments. Poke holes in both ends of the egg and blow out the white and yolk. The eggs can then be dipped in food coloring or decorated with glue and glitter. String a thin ribbon through both holes, knotting the bottom so it doesn't pull through, for easy hanging.
- Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees: Sugar cones do a remarkable impersonation of a Christmas tree when turned upside down. Dye some vanilla frosting with green food coloring then spoon onto the cones, leaving a little bit unfrosted at the bottom. While the frosting is still wet, garnish with candies (rainbow sprinkles, gumdrops, M&Ms, coconut flakes, whatever) to resemble little ornaments. The trees can either decorate a table top or you can carefully poke a hole through the top and string with ribbon to hang from a tree.
Or you can just be extra lazy and tie a ribbon around a candy cane. No judgements!