Unusual DIY Christmas décor ideas

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Check out these tips for creating eye-catching Christmas decorations that won’t break the bank.

It’s becoming more and more difficult for many to make ends meet. The cost of everything seems to go up almost every day and even staples such as eggs and cheese are becoming something of a luxury for a large percentage of the population. Unfortunately, Christmas is an expensive time of the year - there are presents to buy and a feast of food to cook, not to mention the cost of decorating your home to make it look festive.

We’ve scoured the web and watched endless YouTube videos in an effort to help you cut the cost of Christmas decorations and although it may take a little time and effort, you will have the satisfaction of enjoying all the festive frills without breaking the bank.

Here are some ideas we particularly liked:

Book it

Make a Christmas tree out of books. This is ideal for bookworms who have piles and piles of books stashed away. Figure out how high you want the tree to be - obviously you’ll need dozens and dozens if you’re planning on creating a skyscraper and fewer if you’re looking to make something a little smaller. You can use all types of books into your design, but do try to incorporate as many in good condition as possible to prevent the ‘tree’ from looking shabby. Choose the spot where you want the ‘tree’ to stand and create a circle using the heaviest books. Use as many books as you can to ensure you have a solid foundation. The key to creating the illusion of a tree is to place the books so the spines are facing outward with the spine edges jutting out. Build the ‘tree’ layer by layer, ensuring that it remains stable. Decorate with Christmas lights. We found a number of videos giving step by step instructions on how to build a book tree and it’s incredible just how effective the finished product is.

Spice up your tree

Gingerbread goodies literally shout Christmas and while they are great to eat, they also make for cheap Christmas tree ornaments.

Festive ginger biscuit decorations (makes 30 – 40)


  • 6 tablespoons shortening (butter or margarine)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • I cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 7 cups flour
  • 1 and a half cups water


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease cookie sheets. Beat the butter or margarine and sugar in a large bowl and add the molasses. In a separate bowl sift the dry ingredients together. Slowly combine the water and butter mixture with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours. Cut the mixture into three equal pieces. Knead lightly and roll out each piece to a thickness of 600mm.

Use an overturned glass or cookie cutter to create the desired shapes. Anything goes - gingerbread men, candy canes, Christmas trees, angles or even plain round ones – you are limited only by your imagination. Use a straw to pierce holes in the top of the biscuits so you will be able to hang them from your tree. Bake for around 20 minutes, turning once after 10 minutes. Place on rack and allow to harden for at least two days.

Before you start decorating, cover the biscuits with a clear acrylic paint or varnish and let dry completely. Decorate as desired (the experts maintain acrylic paint works the best) before threading ribbon through the holes. Revarnish to preserve the paint for years to come. Hang the finished product on your tree, on door handles and even from the chandeliers.

Keeping it frosty

Turn your (white) fridge into a snowman by sticking on a couple of black cardboard eyes and an orange cardboard nose. Make a scarf by folding Christmas wrapping paper or tinsel into the desired shape and stick it below the face.

Get caned

This terrific idea will transform your Christmas table, and they are really simple to make.

You will need:

  • Small candy canes – each decoration requires three
  • Glue gun
  • Cards for names
  • Pens
  • Ribbon


Place a small strip of glue along the side of one candy cane and firmly press the second candy cane against the first. Continue holding until the glue has cooled, then glue the third candy cane to the back of the first two, creating a tripod, so the holders can stand on their own. Tie a ribbon around the completed article and write out the cards as required. Prop the cards in the crook of the candy canes.

Centre of attention

Fill a glass vase with baubles. To save on the number of baubles required, place a toilet roll or kitchen towel tube in the centre of the container and fill only the gap around the cardboard.

Half fill a glass container with Epsom salts and add a layer of cranberries. Decorate the top with green foliage.

Half fill a glass bowl with water and add a sprinkling of cranberries as well as a number of floating candles.

Flip long stemmed wine glasses over and place a bauble in the ready-made glass dome. Put a tea light candle on the top and voila, you’ve got an elegant centrepiece.

Take the time to trawl the web for other ideas. There are thousands of tips to help you put the merry back into Christmas, and save money for that extra festive spoil at the same time. Have fun!

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