How to Recycle Your Christmas Ornaments Year After Year
When it comes to holiday decor, it can be downright expensive to change every year, so I’ve got some awesome ideas to help you recycle your Christmas ornaments year after year for a totally new look!
But, before we dive into the good stuff here, let me introduce you to my 2018 Christmas tree!
As you can see, it’s red this year – well, red and black, actually. Can you believe it, I stepped out of my comfort zone of all neutrals and went for a bold look this year…buffalo check!
Here are a few closer up photos, so you can get a better look at some of the ornaments and decoerations I used to decorate the tree this year.
While the color scheme is slightly different this year, this tree looks pretty similar to my trees from the past several years and I love that!
Now let’s talk about ornaments. Since replacing hundreds of ornaments every year (yes, that’s about how many I use on my 9-1/2 foot tree!) isn’t realistic or cost-effective, I’ve found that the best thing to do is create a solid base of neutral ornaments.
Brown, gold, silver, and white are great colors to start with. You’ll also want to look for different shapes and sizes and of a variety of textures (glittery, twine, or burlap for example) and definitely buy some giant pinecones! And remember, ornaments don’t have to cost a ton to look gorgeous. See those brown reindeer cutouts? Those are cardboard…from Walmart, they came in a pack of 6 and were $2.99. For real!
All of the balls I use on my trees came from one of those giant color cordinated shatterproof sets at Target or Walmart. I bought a brown and gold set, a silver set, and an all white set of different size and shape balls.
Here are my trees from 2015 and 2016. Things that I carried over – neutral ornaments, curly sprigs, and giant pinecones. Things that are new – the gold ribbon instead of burlap, angels instead of gingerbread men, and acorns and snowflakes instead of white poinsettias.
From 2016 to 2017, I only added some new glittery burlap ornaments, some new white and twine ornaments, and strands of pearls (from Amazon).
Here are my trees from 2017 and 2018. Things that I carried over – neutral ornaments, curly sprigs, burlap ribon, giant pinecones, antlers, snowflakes, and acorns. Things that are differnt – buffalo check ribbon instead of burlap, omitted dark brown balls, bow at the top instead of the angel, red ornaments.
How to recycle your Christmas ornaments year after year for a whole new look
Year 1 – Build your base
- Start by building your base of neutral balls – all shapes and sizes, glittery, plain, and different shades. Browns, golds, silver, and whites are great ones to start with.
- Add some textured ornaments, ornaments covered in material, made from twine, covered in burlap, wrapped (rope, twine, or even natural materials), etc.
- Pick up some pinecones. The giant ones are my personal favorite, but any shape will do. I also prefer the ones that are painted white on the outside, for that added pop of white.
- Choose one accent piece, curly twigs, sprigs with balls, glitter sticks, poinsettias – something to add texture to the tree. Again, stick to neutral colors.
- Choose something for the top of the tree and/or ribbon to wrap the tree, stick with neutrals.
- Select one set of specialty ornaments. Hobby Lobby has tons of ideas and most of the time, they come in packs of 2, 3, 4, or more. For an average size tree I would suggest at least 10-20 specialty ornaments.
Year 2 (and subsequent years) – Add some flair/omit ornaments/add a color
- Use your same base of neutral ornaments.
- Use your specialty ornaments.
- Use your same tree accent pieces.
- Pick up something new, another set of 10-20 speciality ornaments (maybe in a color, if you’re changing or adding color this year), some new ribbon, a bow, new accent pieces or sprigs.
- Leave off something from a previous tree. Deciding what to carry over and what to omit is the fun part, and is totally up to you. Using some of the same ornaments and decorating the tree evenly will be what gives it that feeling of uniformity year after year.
Great places to shop for ornaments:
- Hobby Lobby.
Looking for more neutral Christmas decor or tree decorating tips? Check out these posts, how to add holiday charm, 3 tips to make a Christmas tree look magical, and Christmas tree decorating tips!
Kristine is a self-taught cookie baker and photographer. She's passionate about finding time for everything and making baking, crafting and homemaking simple. More...
Your trees are BEAUTIFUL!! Thanks for the advice. Where did you get your tree? Or is it real? I also love the bucket the tree is in.
Hi Teri! Thank you so much!! My tree is from At Home; I found it on clearance a few years ago. It’s a 9-1/2 footer. The bucket I made myself, from a galvanized tub I bought at the feed and tack store. Just banged it up a little with a hammer and white washed it with some paint. I have since seen them all over at the antique stores for cheap! Happy holidays!
I have boxes of different colored ornaments – red, white, blues, gold, silver. When I decide upon a theme for my tree each year, I have the basics ready. This year I have chosen a handmade ornament theme. You will never know how much I’ve enjoyed making them. I decorated old balls and candy canes with fabric and twine, made clothes pin ornaments, burlap poinsettias, and even gone back to trees from many years ago to get red wooden bead garland and an angle tree topper that was handmade. No 2 trees are ever the same at my house. (My inspiration was a visit to our local museum’s parade of trees and Pinterest.) Oh, the beautiful Christmas trees you can design!
Hi Suzanne! I do that too, having the basics on-hand is essential for me. What a clever idea to do all handmade ornaments – I would LOVE to see a picture when you have it all decorated. I don’t ever do my tree the same way twice either, I’m always changing/adding something to make it different and new! And I agree, Pinterest is such a great place to find inspiration! Wishing you a very happy holiday season! XO
love your trees. Do you have a rule of thumb as to how many ornaments of the same kind you buy? I kinda of like symmetry. Thanks, Merry Christmas!
Hi Lauren! Thank you so much! I usually try to buy at last 10 of each kind, sometimes as much as 20 depending on how dominant I want that ornament to be. It can also depend on how much variety you have going on with color, texture, and pattern. Happy holidays!
Hi, love the different versions of the tree!!! Very clever!
Do you remember the name of the tree? Is gorgeous, I will love to buy something similar, Thanks!
Hi Feyzi! Thank you so, so much! Unfortunately, I don’t know what variety of tree it is and I no longer have the box. I picked it because I liked the shape of it and that it wasn’t too wide and had nice full branches. I also liked the color – not vibrantly green. I hope that helps you pick out a tree! Happy decorating!
I absolutely love your trees!!! But I even more love your book shelf, or maybe it’s an entertainment center…any chance you’d share or make a post on it and how you balance the decor to make it look so nice, traditional and classy.