15 Insanely Easy Ways to Decorate for the Holidays

'Tis the season for sparkling lights, beautiful trees, and garlands galore! Decking out your home for the holidays is always enjoyable, but it can also be time-consuming and expensive. This year, instead of fighting the crowds at the stores, craft your own decorations with these incredibly simple yet festive DIY projects that will have your home merry and bright in no time.

By Debra Immergut | Updated Nov 20, 2020 06:16 PM

Glittering Garland

DIY Garland

This sophisticated feather garland adds a nature-inspired touch to any mantel or tree. After crafting your templates, use metallic silver and gold cardstock to cut out feathers of all shapes and sizes. Apply extra-fine glitter to the ends for a shimmery effect that reflects the warm glow of holiday lights.

Related: 10 Imaginative Garlands to Add Charm and Whimsy to Your Holiday Tree


Let It Snow

DIY Snow Globe

Dream up your own winter wonderland scenes, then turn them into magical snow globes with this simple and sweet DIY. To make, gather together a few glass jars in a variety of sizes, then glue mini trees to the inside of the lids. Fill the vessels with water, sprinkle in a little (or a lot!) of glitter, screw on the lid, and then turn the jar upside down for an instant blizzard of sparkly holiday spirit.

Related: The 8 Best Tools for Conquering Ice and Snow


Magical Marquees

DIY Christmas Ornament Marquee

These lively marquee letters may look complicated, but they're easy enough to make with a little scrapbook paper, a hole punch, and pretty strands of mini twinkling lights. Once the letters have been assembled, display them on a mantel or in your tree for a glowing holiday decoration that brings joy—literally!

Related: 7 Ways to Transform String Lights from Holiday to Every Day


Colorful Countdown

DIY Advent Calendar

Advent calendars, those classic heralds of the season, are ripe for a mod reinvention. Start by drilling 24 small holes into a wooden board. Next, cut out colorful paper trees, number them attractively from 1 to 24, and on the back write family-oriented activities like "have a movie night" or "bake cookies." Tape each tree to a toothpick and insert one tree into each hole, then let one family member choose a tree each day to ensure an action-packed December.

Related: 12 Simple Woodworking Projects for Christmas


Washi Wonderland

DIY Washi Tape Christmas Tree

Washi tape might just be the easiest and most versatile holiday decorating tool: It’s removable, simple to hang, and available in a huge range of festive colors and patterns. Use washi tape to craft a graphic tree and then string a simple line of ornaments through it, or let your imagination run wild and create a reindeer, snowman, or other seasonal character instead. 

Related: The Tree-Free Christmas: 14 Alternatives You Can DIY


Homemade for Hanukkah

DIY Menorah

To celebrate the festival of lights in style, craft this vintage-cool menorah. Collect nine small bottles (thrifted perfume bottles work perfectly) and spray them with primer for a chic matte white finish. Arrange them on a tray or stand, and finish by adding a collection of colorful candles.

Related: 10 Unexpected Uses for Spray Paint



Paper Winter Village

Many of us have fond memories of the holiday villages we used to set up with our families. Start your own tradition by creating a modern take on this time-honored decoration with some foam board, vellum, and a strip of LED lights. For a festive finish, outline the windows and doors of your little hamlet with puffy paint.

Related: 25 Insanely Easy-to-Make Holiday Ornaments


Shiny Shout-Out

Christmas Decorating Ideas

If you have a large mirror hanging in your living room or entryway, why not dress it up for the season? This solution is so simple, you'll wonder why you didn't think of it before: Use craft paint to write a merry message—it's that easy! The dried paint comes right off with a glass scraper and a little soap and water when the holidays are over, although you should do a test run in an inconspicuous spot beforehand to make sure. 

Related: Living Room Paint Colors: 9 Top Picks from the Pros


Santa Was Here

DIY Santa Footprints

This whimsical, Santa-inspired surprise is a fun and easy way to delight little ones on Christmas morning. Trace shoe shapes onto foam core, cut them out using an X-Acto knife, and then spray the footsteps with fake snow for a convincing finishing touch that brings good cheer to everyone in your home.

Related: Control Kids' Clutter with 7 Creative DIYs


Tree Treat

Natural Christmas Ornaments

To craft this charmingly rustic (and incredibly simple) decoration, you’ll need to collect a handful of small twigs. Cut them in graduated sizes to form a tree, and then brush random sections with a swipe of white paint. Use pliers to bend a piece of copper wire into a star shape, and then wrap another straight line of wire around the bottom of the star. Complete the project by hot-gluing the twigs onto the wire strip. Let dry before displaying on your tree or mantel.

Related: 10 Holiday Ornaments to DIY with Everyday Stuff


Cheery Text Message

DIY Wall Decor

Fill a blank wall with loud, proud holiday cheer. This craft is incredibly simple to re-create—all you need to do is trace a phrase onto foam board, cut it out, and cover the message with duct tape in the design or color of your choice. Hang your creation with Command strips to make this seasonal DIY as easy to take down as it is to put together. 

Related: 10 Ways to Fill a Blank Wall for Under $20


Makeshift Mantel

DIY Christmas Stocking Hanger

If you lack a chimney, you'll have to find somewhere else to hang your stockings with care. Why not hang them on this cheerful mantel alternative, assembled from copper pipe fittings and wood? This playful structure will make your holiday decor even more enchanting, and when the season is over, you can repurpose it to hold blankets and throws. 

Related: 11 Lessons to Learn from AirBnB's Tiniest Homes


Tie One On

DIY Gift Bow Wreath

Add a little funky flashiness to any door or mantel with this 20-minute wreath that you'll be eager to display season after season. Pin a slew of gift bows (saved from holidays past or purchased at the dollar store) to a straw wreath form, hang it up, and collect compliments.

Related: 10 Alternative Wreaths to Make You Forget About Evergreens


Fun-Filled Gingerbread Man

DIY Gingerbread Man Pinata

Catch him if you can! This adorable gingerbread piñata comes together with cardboard, tape, crepe paper, and felt. Fill the inside with presents or tasty treats for a rollicking kids' game, or just display your creation on a table or mantel, where it's sure to put a smile on visitors’ faces.

Related: The Morning After: 13 Lifesaving Party Cleanup Tips


Rustic Tree Skirt

DIY Christmas Tree Skirt

Trick out your tree with this amazing no-sew skirt project. Although it takes a little time and patience, the result packs major wow factor, plus you can use it year after year. To make your own version, pin burlap strips to a circular felt base (or an old tree skirt), then hot-glue them in place for a rustic, ruffled tree display.

Related: 9 DIYs to String Together with Twine


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