Don’t have a tree, but still want to decorate for Christmas? Here are 27 ideas to decorate with ornaments without worrying about the tree.

When I asked for questions about putting together this series?

This was one of the most popular.

“What if I don’t want to put up a tree? How can I decorate with ornaments?”

I stood up and clapped at the question because if you are looking for ways to decorate with ornaments—you have come to ornament idea central. When I had my first house and tiny littles running around underfoot and a Christmas decorating budget of less than a cup of expensive coffee I figured out one thing super quickly.

If you are looking for an easy, inexpensive way to make your Christmas decor budget stretch like a superhero?

Ornaments are your best friend.

  1. Everyone usually has a few ornaments lying around.
  2. They are so easy to add a little Christmas without a giant commitment.
  3. You can get so creative with them.
  4. And you don’t even need a tree to add a little ornament decor to your Christmas.

All you need are ideas.

And I have 27 of them for you today from all my years of ornament decorating.

So today, on DAY 2 of “12 Days of Getting Ready for Christmas” with my amazing friend Leslie from My 100-Year-Old Home, I’m sharing all the ornament ideas.

Are you ready?

LET’S GO.

// felted snowflake ornament //

27 Ways to Decorate With Ornaments

1. Place an ornament under a cloche

The easiest way to make an ornament look cute?

Place a single ornament under a glass cloche. See how fancy it makes the ornament look?

Here’s a tip for an ornament display like this. I took a single snowflake (I love these felted snowflake ornaments that would be perfect for a project like this). Then I printed out the words “Merry Christmas” using a vintage font—added it to the top of the ornament with double-sided tape and tucked it under a cloche.

You can see the felted snowflake ornaments here.

// snowflake ornaments with birds //

2. Add an ornament to a stack of packages

This is the EASIEST idea.

After you wrap your Christmas packages, stack them on a side table to decorate.

Then?

Add a pretty snowflake ornament stacked against them for a little bling. I got these snowflake ornaments several years ago from Balsam Hill, but when I was researching beaded snowflake ornaments I found these with little birds in the middle of them. I’ve never seen a snowflake ornament like this before.

You can see the bird/snowflake ornament here.

// plaid ornaments (similar) //

3. Group three ornaments and display on a coffee table

All of these ideas are relatively easy.

But this one?

It’s the easiest of the easiests. Take three ornaments. Find something to stack one of them on—a book, a pedestal, a stand—and place one ornament slightly higher than the other ornaments. That’s it.

Simple, easy display.

You can see plaid ornaments similar to these here.


4. Make an advent calendar from ornaments

This is a project I made at the farmhouse and it was so much fun all December long.

Start with an oversized frame or chalkboard like this.

Attach jute twine to the sides of the frame and string from one side of the frame to another. Then clip ornaments to the jute twine and number them on the chalkboard or paper inside the frame.

Then starting December 1, take a ornament off and hang it on the tree.

5. Make a wood stick tree with ornaments

If you don’t want to decorate a large tree with ornaments, make a smaller tree from ornaments instead.

Find five sticks and cut them in graduating sizes from smallest to largest. Tie off the sticks with jute twine and then add burlap ornaments to each of the sticks.

Tie the ornaments onto the sticks with jute twine as well.

Hang the tree on the wall to decorate for the holiday season.

6. Display ornaments on a bookcase

You know how much I love milk glass.

The only thing I love more than milk glass? Milk glass against a navy background with a pop of color.

Yep.

Red ornaments like these are the easiest to add to a bookcase for a little holiday cheer.

// red ornaments with a snowflake pattern (similar) //

7. Add ornaments to a garland

An easy way to make any garland cuter?

Add ornaments.

You can wire them into a basic garland and add as many or as few as you like. Instead of an ornament tree? Why not have an ornament garland?

One quick ornament garland tip: mix in different sizes and patterns to make the garland look higher-end.

Ornaments similar to these red snowflake ornaments work perfectly on a garland.

// ornament wreath (similar) //

8. Create an ornament wreath

I bought this ornament several years ago and I found this one that’s similar if you are looking for an ornament wreath.

But you could always make your own, too. You know me—I’m always thinking DIY.

I’ve made one before and it was easy. Start with a wire wreath form and wire ornaments directly onto the wreath form.

Mix it up with different sizes and colors to create the ornament wreath.

9. Hang ornaments from a chandelier

This was such a fun Christmas dining room I decorated from several years ago.

I took these brilliantly colored ornaments and looped monofilament through the ends and hung them from the chandelier.

The key to this look is hanging them at different heights and staggering the ornaments around the bottom of the chandelier.

10. Use ornament houses to make a village

These little house ornaments look like my grandmother stitched them.

I love them so much and I’ve had them for years.

They came as a set and I just clipped off the top and put them together as a village with some white greenery and batting for snow.

//similar oversized 6″ polka dot ornaments //

11. Fill a bowl with ornaments and add greenery

I like to group ornaments that are similar colors together in a bowl.

Here—I’ve added red and white polka dot ornaments next to the bowl.

You can see similar large oversized polka dot ornaments here.

12. Glue ornaments onto a tree

Here’s a fun project with ornaments—a little DIY.

Take your leftover ornaments and glue them in the shape of a tree onto a board.

You could keep it much simpler than me (#calmdownkarianne) with a plain white background or snowflakes or something simpler than my colorful stripes.

13. Use ornaments as decor at the dining table

Here’s a super simple dining room centerpiece.

I took a vintage sleigh that I found at a yard sale and added ornaments and a plaid ribbon.

Then I just took red ornaments and scattered them around the base of the sleigh.

14. Add an ornament to a stack of dishes

I wish I could find this ornament for you.

Years ago I discovered it at a scratch and dent store in Kentucky.

It’s so beautiful that it needs a place of honor. Sometimes I place it under a cloche (see idea number one) or just stack some white dishes and put it on top. I know it’s a little random combination of dishes and ornaments–but it makes me so Christmas happy.

15. Add an ornament to the top of a present

This is an ornament DIY.

You can make a present topper/ornament out of mini jingle bells.

See the ornament jingle bell DIY here.

// set of white jingle bells //

16. Add to the staircase

I just found this set of bells for under $10 and it was the first thing I just hung up for Christmas.

Yep.

This is the extent of my Christmas decorating so far.

The bells already came on this rope and look so vintage and high-end—but what a fun idea for ornaments. If you have vintage ornaments add them to rope and group them together to display them like these bells.

You can see the bell set here.

17. Hang a group of ornaments from ribbon at the window

This is such a fun, easy way to make a big impact.

Select a group of coordinating ornaments and tie a ribbon onto the end of them.

Then hang them in front of a window at different heights. I attached them to the top of the window with duck tape under the curtain.

I think this display would be even prettier if you had  ornaments that reflect light.

18. Make an ornament garland

You can make a garland from ornaments.

I’m actually in the middle of working on the CUTEST garland with wood beads and these tiny brass vintage-looking cowbells I found.

These snowflakes are actually vintage bedsprings.

You can see the DIY here.

19. Print off the story of an ornament

My sister made this “story” ornament for me one year.

She told the story of the ice storm in Kentucky and found a beautiful ornament to represent the story and wrapped it up with velvet ribbon in the most beautiful box.

I loved it so much that I kept the story tied onto the ornament.

Every year I display it on a stand with the story attached. What a fun idea for an ornament gift.

20. Use ornaments as a place card

Hosting a holiday dinner for Christmas or New Year’s?

Add an ornament at each place setting.

You could write the person’s name on the ornament with paint pen or tie it onto the top of the ornament with ribbon.

21. Fill a dough bowl with ornaments and pine cones

Here’s a super simple ornament decorating idea.

Fill a dough bowl with ornaments in a similar color.

Then you can layer in pinecones for texture.

22. Hang an ornament from a door handle

If you have a fancy ornament like this Santa tassel I was given as a gift years ago?

Give it a place of honor.

Hang it over a door handle. I love to do this with jingle bell ornaments and listen to the jingle as the door opens and closes.

23. Create an advent calendar with ornaments and votives

I found this votive set with advent numbers on it years ago at Pottery Barn (I’ve seen tons of them on ebay).

I used to add candles to them, but now I add ornaments to the top of each one starting December 1.

It’s a fun way to celebrate advent.

24. Fill a sleigh with ornaments

You’ve seen this sleigh a zillion times.

One of the best yard sale purchases I ever made.

Now I see these sleighs everywhere. If you find one—just fill it with ornaments to decorate.

25. Decorate a hutch

This is my beloved gray hutch.

My favorite yard sale find ever.

Easy Christmas decorating idea. Add white dishes and add red ornaments.

(total aside: I was laughing when I found this picture when I compared how many more dishes I added to this hutch compared to this display from several years ago.)

// similar mercury glass finial ornaments //

26. Hang ornaments from a mantel

These mercury glass silver and gold ornaments like this make a fun mantel display.

I hung them from hooks on the mantel and just lined them up across the front of the mantel.

Here are some similar mercury glass finial ornaments.

27. Use ornaments as stocking toppers

And in sad news (maybe happy for some) we come to the end of our ornament decorating list.

You can add ornaments and personalize this for individual stockings.

I made these ornaments from wood slices.

You can see the stamped ornament stocking topper DIY here.

Ornaments to use with ideas from this post:

I never realized it before this post—but I’m so all about an ornament.

Who knew they were so much fun to decorate with?

Here’s to all the easy, simple decorating ideas.

We GOT THIS. 🙂

And now?

My wonderful friend Leslie from My-100-Year-Old Home is answering another question about getting ready for Christmas.

How to make gifts extra special with these fun and creative gift tags.

You can see all the ideas and gift tag inspiration here.

disclosure: affiliate links are used in this post. Please see my disclosure page for more information.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.

Comments

  1. Image for Bootsie Bootsie

    Hi Kari Ann...first of all congratulation on the Rangers World Seriers win !!!!! I know you and all Texas are so excited..I have another idea to decorate with ornaments...fill a tall apothecary clear glass jar with pretty colored round ornaments...

  2. Image for Barb E Barb E

    Thank you for all of these inspiring ideas! You have really put me into the Holiday spirit! I will definitely be using several of these beauties!

  3. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Before I read your post I had to say congrats! so....Congratulations to the Rangers! I bet your husband is very happy. The Giants retired coach was a smart move. I am still very sad for my Phillies

  4. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I love the Walmart bells, the ornament story is so special. All of them are great!! Thanks you have the best ideals!!

  5. Image for Lee Stearns Lee Stearns

    Great ideas! Any idea where the fabulous plaid ribbon came from at the end of the post? Shown on black/white checked fabric, red/green/blue/black plaid!!! That’s what I’ve been looking for! Thanks for helping us decorate simply, beautifully and budget-friendly! Something for everyone!

  6. Image for Rizae Rizae

    Love the ornament ideas! Now I have questions... would you please put your how to make #1: felt tree w/wood ball and #2: white twig wreath on here again? I remember them from 2012 and loved both. Memories.... 😘 Big Hugs,

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      Rizae, Wow! Those are the original DIY’s from this blog! You are so sweet to remember them! Here are the felt trees: https://thistlewoodfarms.com/layered-felt-trees-12-days-of-christmas-day-11/ And here is the white twig wreath: https://thistlewoodfarms.com/winter-twig-wreath/ happy day, karianne

  7. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    You are so correct, ornaments make anything and everything shout CHRISTMAS!!!! I love all the ideas and have used some will be using more. Happy Thursday.

  8. Image for Anita Anita

    Some great ideas Karianne, Everything grand always begins with something simple. I decorate with ribbon bows, (ribbon I've bought on sale off-season or like 50% off at Joanne's) I always tie small bows with trailing tails from the cabinet pulls on my kitchen cabinet doors. Also bows on candlestick lamp bases, the back of a chair, etc. It makes everything look so festive! The next year, those ribbons can be quickly pressed and used again.

  9. Image for Debra Hoskins Debra Hoskins

    Hey...loved the ideas. I even started to order the bells until it went from 9.96 to almost 17$. The shipping was almost as much as the item. Tell Walmart we don't like those expensive shipping prices for a small pkg of bells. Work your Kentucky-rooted charm and tell them, sis. Debbie

  10. Image for Deb E Deb E

    Love all the ideas on how we can decorate with ornaments - you had so many great ones! Just one question - can you tell us all what the 'story' says on the ornament? I couldn't zoom in enough, and even if I did it was too fuzzy to read! Thanks so much - and thank you for your lovely blog. I have my tea every morning ready when I open yours.

  11. Image for Karen B. Karen B.

    Hi Keri Anne, I love the ideas and plan to incorporate a few into my Christmas decorating this year, so thank you. I'm so ready to get started but I'm trying to be patient. I'm really trying, honest. 🤞🎄 Karen B.

  12. Image for Shirley thompson Shirley thompson

    Love your ideas. However, I couldn't find where to make a copy of the ornament story. What a neat gift idea.

  13. Image for Teddee Grace Teddee Grace

    This was a fun post! I am intrigued by that one ornament that you indicated you purchased at a shop in Tennessee. Are the bird and nest part of the original? I think it would be fun if you could provide a tutorial for making one of these!

  14. Image for Anne from Simply2Moms Anne from Simply2Moms

    These are some of the best ideas we've seen for decorating with ornaments! Can't wait to share with our readers.

Comments are closed.