Budget Christmas Tree Style: Put a Bow On It

red-bow-christmas-treeThere’s nothing like heading into a work week after a productive and creative weekend. I got some holiday shopping done, purchased a Christmas tree, and finally settled in to the task of getting it decorated. I realized in the process that low-budget tree trimming doesn’t have to mean low impact.

No money, no problem

Saving to buy a¬†house as well as covering a few¬†recent¬†unforeseen expenses¬†meant¬†I didn’t have much of a budget for decorating a tree. Instead of buying a plethora¬†of ornaments, I opted for a couple of inexpensive touches with a big impact.¬†Besides making¬†polymer clay candy canes, I also¬†created classic¬†bows from¬†vibrant red ribbon. Both have gone a long way toward giving the tree a more festive look, but the bows are a lower cost, higher reward alternative to other pricier options.

Fast, easy, and cheap

Using a $4 roll of wired ribbon plus some leftover ornament hooks, I created roughly¬†14 bows from 25 feet of material. The whole process took about an hour and trust me–if you can tie your shoelaces, you can make a classic¬†bow with wired ribbon..


Why red?

Because I chose a traditional green Fraser fir this year, vibrant red colored ribbon offered the most visual bang for my buck. Red and green are complementary colors and directly across from each other on the color wheel. This spatial relationship creates the highest color contrast achievable. Working with a not-green tree? Let the color wheel be your guide for bringing big impact.

The finished product


The addition of the red bows adds depth and dimension, making the tree appear fuller and more polished for¬†less than¬†five bucks. So if your Christmas tree this year looks like it needs a little somethin’, somethin’ extra and you’re low on cash, here’s my advice:¬†put a bow on it.