Turn your home into a winter holiday paradise with inexpensive, homemade decorations. Everyone will enjoy the festive atmosphere, and your home will radiate warmth and joy. Using a few simple materials, you can deck out your home to make it uniquely you.
Mason jars and baby food jars are perfect starters for decorations, and even your children can help. Fill a Mason jar with pebbles or water. Tie a colorful ribbon around the neck, and drop a candle in. Use a small pillar candle for a larger container or a floating candle if you've filled the jar with water. You can also use a votive candle. Find battery-operated flickering votive candles in the local discount store, and let your children have fun setting these candles around the house. You can even light your walkway with them when you are having holiday company.
These small jars are also great for homemade snow globes. You'll need a small Styrofoam ball cut in half (the diameter must be smaller than the jar's opening). You can use laminated family photos, miniature figurines, a small bottle brush as a Christmas tree, decorative plastic toothpicks or mini plastic flowers for the inside. Your children can even use little Lego figures. Using hot glue, attach the half-Styrofoam ball to the inside of the jar's lid, and shave the top so it isn't quite as round. Glue your figurine of choice to the Styrofoam, making sure it will all fit through the opening into the jar. Fill the jar with water to about a half-inch from the lip. You can also add a tablespoon of glycerin to thicken the water and toss in a few pinches of glitter or sequins. Run a bead of hot glue around the inside lip of the lid, and screw it on tightly (with the ornaments attached). Let it dry upside-down. When it's ready, you can add ribbon or glue other decorations to the jar. These would look great on your mantel or tabletops.
Another option is to make your own Advent calendar. For 2020, it has 26 days, starting on Sunday, Nov. 29, through Christmas Eve. Using construction paper, heavy gift wrap or light cardboard (like the kind you get from gift boxes), cut out 26 equilateral triangles. Attach a small envelope or pouch to each. Using masking tape, fix each triangle to your refrigerator (or a closet door) in the shape of a Christmas tree, overlapping from the top down. Fill each pouch with a small candy cane, miniature chocolate bar, verse from Scripture or hint for a fun treasure hunt. Starting at the bottom, every day, have someone unearth the contents of a pouch until you reach the top on Christmas Eve. Another Advent calendar idea is to hang decorative garland across your mantel and, using miniature clothespins, hang 26 numbered and loaded envelopes.
Collect natural items such as pinecones, shells, dried berries, hard nuts or small rocks. Spray or paint the edges of the pinecones; decorate the rocks or shells with positive words; dip the nuts into golden paint. Use these on your mantel, or fix them to plain evergreen wreaths for your door. Use them however your imagination allows. Use thin floral wire to bind a bunch of items together for a spectacular display. Golden-edged pinecones will also make nice tree ornaments among garlands of strung popcorn or berries, braided ribbon chains, candy canes and shiny gift bows.
Peppermint candy canes can do more than decorate your Christmas tree; they can highlight a floral tabletop display. Start with a large glass jar or container and several large candy canes. Put a thick rubber band over the jar, and then slide the candy canes next to one another between the rubber band and the glass. When you have the jar completely surrounded by the candy canes, tie a bright holiday ribbon directly over the rubber band to hide it. Put a bouquet of real or artificial flowers into the jar, and use this as a holiday dinner table centerpiece.