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.
- Everyone usually has a few ornaments lying around.
- They are so easy to add a little Christmas without a giant commitment.
- You can get so creative with them.
- 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Red ornaments like these are the easiest to add to a bookcase for a little holiday cheer.
7. Add ornaments to a garland
An easy way to make any garland cuter?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Ornaments to use with ideas from this post:
- these felted snowflake ornaments
- bird snowflake ornaments
- plaid ornaments
- red ornaments with snowflakes
- oversized red and white polka dot ornaments
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. 🙂
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.
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