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The holidays. It’s time for family, time for friends, time for good food, and time for shopping. If once this time of the year inspired people to relax at home around the fire, today it puts people into a frenzy of consuming, consuming and… yep, consuming more. It’s not your fault, it’s just the way it goes in our culture.

So yes, you may have to buy some gifts for your family, friends, and colleagues, but do you really have to buy new Christmas decorations every year? Of course, you can buy them once and then reuse the same ones over and over again. but if you’re bored of the routine or just feeling creative, why not create some of your own decorations? And by using recycled materials, not only will you save money, you’ll break the crazy consumeristic cycle as well!

If you need some ideas to get started, here are some easy decorations and crafts anyone can make at home.

Ball-Shaped Ornaments From Junk Mail


Do you get tons of junk mail? Did you buy too many Christmas cards and have nothing to do with them? Don’t throw it away! All this paper can be used to make impressive Christmas garlands and decorations.

To make this specific decoration, all you have to do is cut your spare paper cards into circles, fold them, glue them, and tie everything with a string. It really is as easy as it sounds. Read the full tutorial for detailed instructions.

Recycled Christmas Garlands


If the first project seems too complicated for young children, this one is going to be perfect. There’s no extra folding and gluing involved — just cut pretty pieces of paper and tape them onto a string. That’s all there is to it. You can use any paper for this, from unused Christmas cards to junk mail and magazines.

Read the full tutorial for a more detailed explanation.

Old Keyboard Ornaments


Using an old keyboard you no longer need to make Christmas ornaments is one of the most original ideas out there, and if you decide to make one, your tree is bound to get some extra attention. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a full tutorial for the ornament pictured above, but if you need detailed instructions, you can make a similar one using this Instructables tutorial.

All it takes to make keyboard ornaments are some keyboard keys and a little bit of creativity. Even if you just tie them in strings that make up words, you’ve already done something special.

Cork Reindeer


Are these awesome or what? Christmas or no Christmas, I’m getting a strong urge to make these.

Making cork reindeer as perfect as the ones in the picture takes a little bit of work and some tools, but it can be a fun project for you or your older kids, and the results are bound to get a response. All you need to make these are corks and twigs, although extra decorations (if you already have them!) can definitely help.

Follow this tutorial for a detailed explanation.

Scrabble Ornaments


Scrabble makes a great gift. This means you may have more than one box of the game lying away in the cupboard. Scrabble pieces also tend to get lost, which means you may have incomplete sets you feel bad about throwing away. The solution? Scrabble Christmas ornaments!

To make these you’re going to need some Scrabble letters and trays, as well as some tools such as a saw and a hot glue gun. If you have these tools available, making these ornaments shouldn’t take you more than an hour.

Learn how to make them in this full tutorial.

Snowflake Lanterns From Empty Jars


Got some empty jars lying about? How about some junk mail? You’re ready to make snowflake lanterns. Follow this detailed tutorial to learn how to cut perfect snowflakes from scrap paper. Then move on to the next tutorial to learn how to make the lanterns. To make a long story short, you need to glue the snowflakes onto some jars, and if you want, light candles inside. You can use the snowflakes in different ways too, such as gluing them to the wall, or any other way you can come up with.

Paperback Garland


Before you get the wrong idea, I’m not suggesting you ruin a good book to make these ornaments, but if you have a paperback that’s already coming apart and has missing pages, what better way to respect it than to re-use it? It doesn’t take much: take some pages from the book, cut them and attach a piece of string.

This ornament is super easy to make, and will lend your Christmas tree a true bookish look. Follow this tutorial for more details.

Yogurt Bottle Snowmen


This is a great craft for those who have young kids and want to get them in on the fun. Just gather up some empty yogurt bottles (or any other kind of smallish plastic bottle) and some extra bottle caps, and using some simple craft supplies, create these adorable snowmen.

The best thing about these? You can fill them up with all sorts of goodies. In this tutorial, for example, the snowmen are filled with jellybeans. Yum.

Lightbulb Ornaments


Don’t throw away burnt out lightbulbs! Cover them with glitter or paint, and hang them on your tree instead of those expensive store-bought ornaments. This one is really easy and requires no more than simple creativity and whatever supplies you have at hand. For an idea on how to make the ornament in the picture above, check out this tutorial.

Cork Wreath


Corks are a great thing to save if you like recycling and crafts. Aside from reindeer, you can also make other ornaments out of them, and of course, this wreath. All you need is a Styrofoam wreath, a glue gun, and of course, corks!

Follow this tutorial for more details.

Coffee Filter Christmas Tree


Feeling especially creative? Gather up some coffee filters you don’t need and make a tiny Christmas tree. As long as you have the filters, a foam cone or something else for the tree itself and something flat for the base, the rest is really up to you. Paint the filters or leave them white, glue anything you find around as ornaments, and find the perfect tree top to suit your little tree.

Follow this tutorial for some inspiration and instructions.

Inspired To Recycle?

Christmas is not the only time of year when you can make use of things you would normally throw away. For example, did you know you can re-use old motherboards Recycle Old Computer Motherboards As Placemats, Jewellery, Notebook Covers & More Recycle Old Computer Motherboards As Placemats, Jewellery, Notebook Covers & More How do you dispose of your old computer hardware? Some people take their old PCs to the local landfill; others wipe the devices and donate them to schools or relatives. I prefer to make as... Read More to create placemats, coasters, and even jewelry? There are also some exciting things you can do to recycle old mobile phones 8 Creative Ideas To Recycle Your Mobile Phone Without Throwing It Out 8 Creative Ideas To Recycle Your Mobile Phone Without Throwing It Out Recycle mobile phones. I wish that should be the catchphrase for all of us to live by. While researching this article, I came across quite a few official mobile industry websites of consumer rich countries... Read More . If you need more inspiration, these 10 recycling websites 10 Websites That Help You Recycle Or Reuse Old Stuff & Protect Our Environment 10 Websites That Help You Recycle Or Reuse Old Stuff & Protect Our Environment Read More can help you find useful ideas for things you don’t want to throw away.

Have you ever made your own Christmas ornaments? Will you make some this year?

Image Credit: Joe Penniston

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  1. Anonymous
    December 1, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    These types of decorations and ornaments was limited only by one’s imagination, creativity and skill. Fantastc, brilliant and awesome, these are the type of things I'm going to make for Christmas ????????as a surprise for my family ???? Now I'm just wondering where I can get the materials...

  2. Kaylee
    December 1, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Excellent Ideas!

  3. Kaila
    December 12, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    All of these handmade christmas decoration ideas are wonderful. Very creative and at the same time easy and very fun to do. I'm glad that you share it here. Thanks :)

  4. dragonmouth
    December 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Way back in the last millenium in the Old Country, before "recycling" and "environment" were just words in the dictionary, part of my Christmas was making our own decorations and ornaments. We used straw, thread and tissue paper to make garlands; egg shells, tissue paper and colored paper to make Santas and other ornaments. The type of decorations and ornaments was limited only by one's imagination, creativity and skill.