December is the only time I feel compelled to decorate for a holiday, but I'm not about to spend a lot of money on things I'll only use one month of the year. Fortunately, with a little creativity, my and your shrunken sweaters, old mail, and leftover yarn can become colorful holiday ornaments, garland, wreaths...etc., etc.
Scrap paper, including old mail, catalogs, and newspapers, is your best resource for inexpensive and quick decorations. Snowflakes cut out of test prints or office paper are classic. Trim your paper into circles and staple it, and you've got an ornament (Image 4). Cut it into strips and tape or glue it, and it's a simple garland (Image 8). You can also make your place more festive with handmade newspaper trees (Image 6).
Similarly, you can let your friends and family do the work for you with their holiday cards. I'm a fan of the simple card swag approach (Image 5), but there are lots of options for displaying them.
Your stash of fabric, yarn, and containers can be useful too. Image 2 shows a menorah made from re-purposed and spray-painted bottles, and the pom pom garland in Image 1 is festive but subtle.
Finally, winter is as good a time as any to bring nature indoors. Trees and cut greenery are great, of course, but fallen pine cones are free and make quick ornaments (Image 7). A strategically used, inexpensive bag of cranberries adds Christmas color (Image 9).
Images: 1. Elsie Marley via Creature Comforts 2. Ready Made 3.Bugs and Fishes 4. Lauren Smith and Derek Fagerstrom for Design*Sponge 5. Elizabeth for Apartment Therapy 6. Martha Stewart 7. Air Kiss 8. Martha Stewart 9. Better Homes and Gardens 10. Ready Made