glittery bits: Open up small or large crisp bags that are foil lined. Either cut these into narrow strips with scissors or even better, run them through a paper shredder. Drape these over the tree to catch the light. These are also good used as packaging for a home-made gift food hamper. Cut very narrow strips of kitchen foil and wind them tightly round a pencil or something similar, then carefully slide off and they will hang down in coils, another deco for the tree.
streamers: Take a strong plastic carrier bag, or any large plastic bag (crisps work well), cut down the sides and flatten it out to a long strip. Keep the handles (if any) on the ends. Pleat the plastic to about an inch depth (hold together with paper clips as it will slide around), then start snipping with scissors about 1/2" apart along the length but not right up to the other edge. Then turn and repeat cutting between the slits, but not up to the edge again. This will then be able to be pulled out to a sort of zig-zag, but once carefully and fully opened out will turn into a wonderful long streamer which can be draped around a room, around banisters etc. If it sounds daunting, try making it first with newspaper.
candles: this could be something older children might like to make as a present. You need one or two blown egg shells, a household candle and some Edam cheese with red rind (you can also get this with green rind). This rind is pure wax.
Break up the candle and put it into a bowl standing over hot water. When it has melted, remove the wick. Pull this straight and the wax on it will set. You can then cut it to thread through the egg leaving a bit at the top to light. Hold in place by sticking a needle or pin through it top and bottom, just where it leaves the shell.. Melt the cheese rind and pour some into the egg shell and swill around, when set, pour in the melted white wax. Or mix the red and white wax together to make a pink candle. When the wax is firmly set, just remove the egg shell.
Once upon a time, we all had the knack of enjoying ourselves at little or no expense. Apart from buying a turkey and a bottle or three, Christmas was mainly a family affair, presents and decorations home-made. Everyone was happy.
But years and industry moves on, until now every festivity, be it births, marriages, deaths and every anniversary in between, is now so controlled by manufacturers that it has reached the stage where paying out money, and lots of it is - they lead us to believe - is the only way to prove that we love and care.
Always remember one thing - home-made fun can still be free, or assuredly be low cost, and that is something the industry won't tolerate. Time to stop being brainwashed before its too late.