Makeshift ornaments personalize your tree on the cheap

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This is my first Christmas away from home, and while my family suggested I bring some of their ornaments with me, I thought it would be nice to leave them there for their tree. When it came time to decorate, though, my partner and I realized we didn’t have any sentimental crap for the tree at all. Sure, we had the super sparkly purple baubles, but let’s be honest: I bought those for year-round decorating cause they’re just so pretty.

So how do you make a tree special when you haven’t yet collected sentimental ornaments? You use the keepsakes you have around the house.

That photo above has a diamond napkin ring, my graduation tassel and his favourite childhood keychain, my name tag from when I was a camp counselor eight years ago, and one of his goofier-looking downhill biking season pass photos.

pooh topper

For the topper, he had the genius idea of using my Winnie the Pooh puppet from when I was a baby.

xmas tree 2012

Now our tree is completely personal without spending a dime. Bonus: when it’s time to take the tree down, these “ornaments” go back on the bookshelves and cork boards they came from. Less storage space is required for holiday stuff!

Comments on Makeshift ornaments personalize your tree on the cheap

  1. Love this! Though some of our sentimental ornaments are spheres that my husband made out of chainmail specifically for the tree.

  2. I’ve used keychains and stuffed animals to decorate Christmas trees too! You can also use medals, small pictures/picture frames, and the Christmas cards you receive to decorate.

  3. When I was little, we made ornaments out of all sorts of toys and they’re still some of my favorites! We also hung booties and heirloom ornaments. When we put up the tree, we’d chat about little memories or where each ornament came from. It’s super sentimental of me, but I think that’s what the holidays should really be about.

  4. My husband and I did this for our first christmas together. We couldn’t afford a tree, and he ended up getting a free piece of trimmed tree, and it look just like a mini tree. We decorated it with yarn and all kinds of random things around the house! Since then we’ve collected an ornament that represents us for every christmas. I love that we are slowly building up our tree <3

  5. This is great! Ornaments don’t need to be fancy, just special for you. When I was in grad school, we decorated our tree with kitchen implements and a bag of plastic dinosaurs from the dollar store. Because we had many running jokes about dinosaurs and penguins, that was meaningful for us. I think some of the dinosaurs may still be hanging from my house plants.

    • I love the idea of using a bag of plastic dinosaurs!

      Speaking of dollar store stuff, it’s amazing what you can do with “real” ornaments from the dollar store. When I had my first Christmas alone I didn’t have anything, and I bought a whole bunch of stuff at the dollar store for very little money. The ones that work the best are the clear plastic ones that look really cheap in the daytime, but when you turn the lights off and look at the lit tree at night they look sparkly and amazing.

  6. I make mine from what I have, which also includes funky earrings (already have hooks) and necklace pendants.

    Another idea: I’m graduating college this year in legal office admin, and my legal transcription class is using a new book and dictation CD for next semester, so I took my CD (which has the course name and book title on it) and added “2012” in blue glitter – a symbol of the field I graduated in. The college grad tassel will be joining it, too, after graduation (thanks for the idea).

  7. The oddest thing on my tree is a tag of a pack of underwear my other half purchased. It’s this funky little skeleton with silver trim 🙂

  8. me and my dad always used to use a wizard troll doll as our tree topper when I lived at home.
    One year most of our decorations were Barbie limbs and red tinsel. I always liked doing tree like that 😀

  9. I would never have thought to use my graduation tassles as ornaments, but it not only makes sense, but gives me something to do with the darn things.

  10. This is wonderful. I love the idea of using passes – bike passes, movie passes, museum passes, my mind is off and running! We’ve been using a Princess Peach (holding a star) figurine as our tree topper for three years now, and she’s now tradition.

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