There’s something really special about taking the time to decorate for the holidays — a garland, a wreath, some perfect paper snowflakes or paper stars. And what is it about little lights that make everything so festive and warm?

For freelancers on a budget, or for those with a bold streak of DIY, here are a few great ideas for easy, do-it-yourself holiday decorations.

DIY wrapping paper

For simple, crafty presents, I like wrapping gifts in brown butcher paper (cheaper than wrapping paper!) and tying them with green floral twine or a classic red and white striped string. A sprig of holly or pine adds a nice natural touch. For a fancier approach, try making your own potato-stamp wrapping paper (pictured above), using a tutorial like this one. Red, silver, or white ink will give it a festive spirit!

Garlands

There are a bunch of ways to make creative garlands without breaking the bank. Try making your own pom-poms like the garland pictured above, or spray-painting uncooked bowtie pasta (totally not as crazy as it sounds!). Or go old-fashioned and do a paper chain garland that even the littlest freelancers can help put together.


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Paper stars and snowflakes

I’m a big fan of paper snowflakes. Here’s a tutorial on how to make a 6 pointed, ~fancy, special, perfect~ snowflake like the ones you see on Pinterest. Of course, you know that not every snowflake is unique, right? But don't let that stop you from making as many as you want!

And if paper stars are more your style, check out this tutorial from the DIY queen herself, Martha Stewart. Six pointed stars make great Hanukkah decorations, too.

Cinnamon ornaments

I have a real soft spot for old-fashioned cinnamon “cookie” ornaments -- they remind me of craft projects from when I was a kid. These cinnamon cookies aren’t edible, but they do smell wonderful and they look just like gingerbread. They also last forever! Here’s a step-by-step on how to make them, with the results pictured above.

All the things you can do with… mason jars

You’ve probably got a few jam-jars lying around, right? Try making "snow" with epsom salts and put votive candles inside for a festive touch. For even more mason jar ideas, check out this crazy-long list.

Don’t forget to support your fellow freelancers and small business owners by buying local and handmade! Got any ideas for fun DIY holiday decorations? Let us know!

Larissa Pham is an artist and writer based in Brooklyn, New York. She put pom-poms on her IKEA cactus because her apartment is too small for a Christmas tree.