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BestReviews DIY expert shares low-effort holiday decor that will impress your guests

The holidays are full of surprises. For instance, who would have ever expected the Philadelphia Eagles offensive linemen to release a Christmas album? But they did, and it's a hit (at least with Philadelphia). It's that homegrown personal touch that makes it so special.

You can tap into that same DIY magic this holiday season and craft low-effort holiday decor that will dazzle. Beth Allen, BestReviews home improvement expert and founder of HIP Chicks (Home Improvement Project Chicks), is a DIY savant. She can show you the secrets of taking items you never would have considered using to make a crafty artificial Christmas tree. Or, she can teach you how to turn an ordinary pair of ice skates into treasured holiday decor.

In this article: Fangoo Artificial Red Berry StemsJuvale Galvanized Metal Buckets (12-Pack) and HC Companies Plastic Planter Pot.

Low-effort DIY holiday decoration ideas

A glass of nature

"When I think of DIY holiday/winter decorations, I really like to turn to nature for inspiration," Allen said. "For instance, you can take a tall glass cylinder or vase and fill it with water and cranberries. Then, float a candle on top." Allen also suggests filling it with clementines, cranberries and a few holly berry branches to make a festive centerpiece.

DIY charger plate decorations

"If you go to a big fancy restaurant, there’s a big plate that goes under your dinner plate," Allen explained. "That’s a charger plate. Just put three chunky candles of different heights on there, and then add cranberries and holly berry branches and you’ve made yourself a very simple centerpiece."

Outdoor gifts

If you're up for a little more effort, Allen suggests making three different sized wooden boxes out of two-by-fours and wooden panels. You can paint them and decorate them to look like large gift boxes. To make them easy to store, she advises leaving them open on the bottom so they can stack inside each other.

Wooden centerpiece

Another project for the slightly more adventurous DIYer is to take a few 1-by-4-inch pieces of wood and make a rectangular frame. Again, Allen suggests filling it with a variety of items from nature to make a woodsy centerpiece.

Giant Christmas balls

"A couple of years ago, I made giant outside Christmas balls using playground balls and small galvanized buckets," Allen recalled. "You glue the bucket to the ball and hang it from your front porch. It makes an inexpensive yet impressive decoration."

Christmas ball tree

A very simple project you can make with your kids is a Christmas ball tree. According to Allen, all you have to do is take a styrofoam cone and glue a variety of Christmas balls to it and you have a festive tabletop decoration.

Ice skate wreath

When your kids outgrow their ice skates, you can fill them with evergreen branches, Christmas balls and ribbons to make a seasonal decoration to hang from your front door.

Cabinet door gift boxes

"If you buy a nice big roll of pretty ribbon, you can put it on your upper cabinets, one horizontal and one vertical strip, to turn them into presents," Allen said. If you want to get a little more festive, you could add a large bow to the intersecting point as well.

Flower pot bells

Buy a few plastic flower pots, and paint them silver. Then, tie a little ball from the center, and hang them upside-down to make giant silver bells that can be hung outside. Alternatively, you could use galvanized buckets instead of the plastic flower pots if you prefer.

Tomato cage Christmas tree

A tomato cage makes a great Christmas tree. If it's a green one, even better. Allen notes you can get creative decorating it however you'd like by using artificial greens, garland, lights and more. 

Staircase art show

If you have kids who have made Christmas crafts and decorations over the years, Allen suggests making sure you save them all. Use them to line your steps to curate a wonderful holiday craft display.

What you need to craft handmade holiday decor

Whole Foods Cranberries

This 10-ounce bag of organic cranberries can be used for holiday decorations. Whatever is left over will make a great healthy snack that keeps you going throughout these hectic weeks.

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Fangoo Artificial Red Berry Stems

These artificial Christmas berry stems are a bright, lifelike option for decorating. Add them to an organic centerpiece for a festive splash of color.

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Lumabase Floating Candles

Depending on your needs, you can get these unscented floating candles in small, medium or extra-large sizes.

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Threshold Glass Vase

Available in a variety of sizes, this cylindrical glass vase has a clean, contemporary aesthetic that makes it a solid option for a broad range of DIY holiday projects.

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Nambe Skye Wood Charger Plate

You could buy a cheap plastic charger plate that you throw out after one season, or you could get this high-quality item that will last for years and make a gorgeous focal point for your holiday decor.

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Juvale Galvanized Metal Buckets (12-Pack)

Whether you want to use them as is to display seasonal flower arrangements or flip them upside-down and glue them to a giant playground ball to make oversized Christmas balls, these 5-inch galvanized buckets will do the trick.

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Bright Creations Foam Cones (12-Pack)

You get 12 small styrofoam cones in this package, allowing you to make a whole forest of DIY Christmas trees.

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SLK Christmas Ball Ornaments (24-Pack)

Each container features four Christmas balls in six styles for a total of 24 ornaments. Simply choose the colors that best suit your aesthetic needs, and start decorating.

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Model Worker Wide Satin Ribbon 

Highly versatile, this red polyester satin ribbon is 2 inches wide by 25 yards long. It has a satisfying blend of softness and shine, making it a splendid choice for several holiday DIY projects.

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Iceyyyy Large Christmas Bows

This set of large, 30-inch red velvet Christmas bows can be used to decorate any area of your home that's lacking in holiday spirit. Place them on cabinets, hang them on your front door or find your own creative use for these impressive indoor/outdoor bows.

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HC Companies Plastic Planter Pot

This affordable plastic planter pot comes in a variety of colors. You can paint it or leave it as is. Just turn it over and hang a bell or a Christmas ball from the center, and you have a beautiful oversized DIY Christmas bell.

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Sunpro Tomato Cages

These four conical tomato cages are made of durable steel, and they have a rust-resistant plastic coating. Just flip them over so the wide end is at the bottom, and start decorating to make a fabulous DIY Christmas tree.

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Celebrate a Holiday Garland

This soft, affordable, nonlit garland is highly versatile and can be used in a wide range of holiday DIY projects. With 50 feet and your imagination, you can work wonders.

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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