Christmas Lights And Decorations:
Frugal, Primitive Christmas Decorations To Make

primitive christmas decorations made with glasses, nuts and apples

Christmas lights and decorations: Make your own Christmas candle lights and mantel decorations with recycled glasses, tea lights and natural objects!

1. Ideas For Primitive Christmas Decorations

Multiples always look great on a mantel, or as a Christmas table decoration.

Just fill simple glasses with 'Christmassy' things:

  • Frugal Christmas lights and decorations: Use mismatched, clear glasses of different heights (e.g. thrift store finds). Fill with nuts and almonds. Paint a few walnuts in gold or silver and/or red & place one or two atop each filling.  Gilt walnuts are a genuine Old-World Christmas item. (Glasses need to have classy shapes - no jam jars)!
  • Coastal Christmas decorations: Fill glasses halfway with sand, add a thin layer of small white shells or pebbles, and top the filling with a fir cone, gloss-painted in red or gold.
  • Variation on the coastal Christmas decorations theme: sand & shells as before, but top with a tea light (choose colored tea lights to go with your Christmas theme, e.g. blue tea lights to go with blue Christmas decorations). Make a dip for the tealight so the metal casing doesn't show.
  • For retro Christmas decorations, use a set of 50s colored (shot) glasses, fill with sand or gritstone, stick a slim beeswax candle (chime candle) into each. Or, try Louise's pine cone candle holders!
  • Blue Christmas decorations: Fill a row of cocktail glasses halfway up with blue craft sand, then top each with a perfectly gilded, shimmering walnut or fir cone. Would also look great with silver walnuts ... and sand in any color that goes with your other Christmas decor.

2. Christmas Light Decorating Ideas:
From Cast-Off To Gorgeous

creme caramel glasses

I seem to remember it was crème caramel that came in these little glasses from the supermarket.

They're perfect for creating Christmas lights and decorations, because they're just big enough to hold a tea light, and they have this lovely groove around the top. It will hold all manner of ribbon in place, even if you attach heavier objects to it.

I've turned each of them into a 'prototype' of Christmas light decorating ideas:

  • red-and-green 'traditional' with big bow and evergreen twig
  • cool and contemporary, with colored string and lots of Christmas balls ('baubles' if you're British), and
  • cute and fruity, with cranberries and ribbon and a tiny bit of glitz.

2a) Traditional Christmas Lights and Decorations

christmas light made of dessert glass with red bow, evergreen twig and tealight

Well, it doesn't get much more traditional than big-red-bows-and-evergreens.

Wired ribbon works best because you can shape it, and work the bow into a really lush sculpture.

Wind the ribbon round the neck of the glass twice. That way, you make sure that the ribbon looks the same width all round the rim. I made two knots; the second one holds the twig in place over the first.

If you're using many of these Christms decorating lights together, you could vary the display a little. For example,

  • try different types of evergreen leaves, e.g. holly, thuja, juniper, cypress, box, or conifers like fir or pine
  • include a small pine cone here and there
  • add a few nostalgic Christmas tree ornaments to some of the glasses
  • use slightly different hues of red for the ribbon (this will look good if you've got a fair number of lights assembled).

2b) Contemporary Christmas Lights and Decorations

christmas light: dessert jar with string, tealight and christmas baubles

This glass has a broad band of colored string around the rim. Starting at the top, wind the string tightly around the glass and then knot the two ends together carefully.

It might help to glue the string down at the start and at the end to keep it in place. (This is the most fiddly bit; the rest's a piece of cake!)

Thread small Christmas tree balls onto one or both ends of the string, and knot the string together. This pulls the balls into a tight bunch.

For variations, particularly if you're using these lights for Christmas table decorating, you could

  • add a name tag to each light and use them as 'place cards' on the dinner table
  • vary the size/number of balls in the decoration
  • tie in a few Christmas balls in odd colors for added punch
  • instead of ball ornaments, use other Christmas tree decorations.

2c) "Fruity" Christmas Lights and Decorations

christmas light made of a glass filled with cranberries and gold stars

Of the three, these Christmas decorating lights are the easiest to make. Place a tea light in each glass and then fill the sides around it up with fresh cranberries.

At the end, slide a few glitzy bits (stars, little balls...) down the sides so they come to sit right behind the glass and reflect the sparkle from the other Christmas decorating lights.

Make sure the bow is of a generous size; leave one or both ends trailing a little and twist them into graceful wavy shapes. This looks particularly good if you're using several of these lights together.

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