How to Decorate Your Christmas Tree With Found Objects

Public Domain. Max Pixel

From baubles and pompoms to cookies and cutters, avoid the waste of new stuff with these quick and quirky DIY ornaments.

Where is it written that one must go to the store and buy a suite of ornaments to outfit the holiday tree? This Christmas-tree-hugger says resist! You might very well have everything already on hand to create a fun and festive display. The rewards are many: A unique tree, a new tradition, less money spent and less waste all around. Scour the house and outdoors, make it personal, have fun. Some of these may require a small amount of DIY, but other than that, get some ribbon, string, or ornament hooks and ta-da! Instant fa la la.

Borrow from your hobby or a collection


sboneham/Flickr/CC BY 2.0 Shown here is a collection of dinosaur origami; but anything could work. Dolls, sea shells, felt creatures, vintage photographs, souvenir spoons ... the possibilities are endless.

Dazzle with baubles from the jewelry box


© pxhere Because what holiday tree doesn't love a little bling? Keep the valuables stowed, but break out the costume jewelry for sparkle and glam.

Accept an assist from the hens


© Melissa Breyer One year we blew out all the eggs we used for holiday baking; washed them, glittered them, and used discarded ornament hardware we found in the trash. You could take it even further and paint them or decorate them further. (And by the way, ours have lasted for more than a decade now.)

Go with the tree theme

Pine cone

StockSnap/Public Domain While it may be pretty meta, Mother Nature already makes the prettiest tree ornaments.

Display the kids' crafts


John Morgan/Flickr/CC BY 2.0 If you have school-age kids, there might be crafts. Lots and lots of crafts. A tree beats the refrigerator for displaying them.

Put the cookies to work


Max Pixel/Public Domain Wouldn't this beautiful swan cookie be a sight to see hanging from a tree? If you have cookies that you don't plan on eating (even though a laughable proposition in my home), string 'em up!

Pilfer from the fruit bowl

Orange slice

pxhere/CC BY 2.0 Because dried fruit is the perfect compliment to a wintry tree.

Forage in the forest


pxhere/CC BY 2.0 For a tree that looks fit for a fairy, think seed pods, dried flowers, bird nests, pretty leaves, strips of bark, tufts of moss and any other treasures the forest has to offer.

Raid the toy box


JD Hancock/Flickr/CC BY 2.0 Because why not protect your tree with superheroes? Of course, you could also go more tradtionial with things like wooden alphabet blocks or train cars.

Or the game cupboard


© Max Pixel If you find yourself with spare game parts from a game you particularly love, why not? Scrabble is obvious, because Scrabble. But you could also use poker chips, dice, puzzle pieces, etc.

Pom-poms with aplomb


© Melissa Breyer Tasked with decorating our rescued, very-fake Christmas tree, my kids and I decided to tone down the kitsch by adding rustic pom-poms that we made from scraps in the yarn basket; they look like funky pine cones and they are unbreakable and easy to store. In our case, this was more DIY than found, but if you happen to stumble across a flock of pom-poms, now you know what to do with them!