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written by Sam Greenspan

Not everyone has the time or budget for Christmas decorations — sometimes you’ve got to improvise.

I recently noticed that Christmas is in a few days.

As a Jewish person, I’m not necessarily qualified to go too in depth about Christmas (and, if Bill O’Reilly is to be believed, I’m actively working to destroy it)… so I’ve picked a Christmas list topic that knows no boundaries. That topic: Turning poorness into magic.

Here are 11 jerry-rigged Christmas decorations I’ve found after an exhaustive search, each of which is ugly… yet beautiful in its own way. Kind of like Moe Szyslak. Or a building by Frank Gehry.

Enjoy the list, and Merry Christmas! (Except to you, Bill O’Reilly. To you, I wish a very happy holidays.)

1 | The shopping cart tree

I mean… if you don’t pile up a bunch of shopping carts to create an improved Christmas tree, they’re just going to get filled up with aluminum cans or, even lamer, actual groceries.

2 | Bushels of reindeer

It’s a tough call what I prefer — that the reindeer are made out of hay resting on sawhorses, or that the stickman Santa is driving a motorcycle sleigh that has a sidecar. It’s a completely ridiculous amalgamation of stuff… but you know if this was in a Christmas movie, some little kid would “believe” and bring back the spirit of Christmas and the reindeer and Santa would come to life. (And, I’m just guessing here, but I think I’d prefer stick Santa to Tim Allen.)

3 | Beer advent calendar

I like this idea for an advent calendar. (Even if it’s confusingly out-of-sequence… can they do that?) What would you rather get each day during your countdown to the 25th — a look at some picture of a miscellaneous Christmas scene… or a bottle of beer? Even beer that’s been room temperature for a few weeks gets the win.

4 | The beer bottle trees

And after you drink your advent calendar beers, recycle them into a tree. It saves the environment on the front and back end — you’re not cutting down a tree AND you’re recycling. (There are several photos of beer Christmas trees on the Internet, I chose these two because they’re well assembled… and I couldn’t only show the Canadian Molson tree.)

5 | Ditto

This light display has made the online rounds this year, and it perfectly sums up the ultimate broke-ass Christmas.

6 | The hanger tree

I guess, on some level, this is crafty… the kind of thing you’d see in the one non-gossip magazine that the grocery store puts next to the checkout. On the other hand… making your Christmas tree out of 99-cent store hangers is just way too depressingly Charlie Brown.

7 | The Natty Light nativity scene

Great little details — the three wise bottles, the napkin over Mary, the Natty Light box crib. I also love that they couldn’t even upgrade to Bud/Bud Light/Bud Ice here… they had to make the statement with Natural Light.

8 | The ladder tree

I mean… yeah, it’s kinda ghetto, but at least this makes it exponentially easier to get the star on top.

9 | The tire wreath

I’d give them even more credit if they hung it on the door. (Would probably take a railroad stake and do tremendous structural damage to said door… but I’d definitely be impressed.)

10 | The keg pyramid

The thing is — if you just returned those kegs and got your deposits back, you could afford to buy a tree.

11 | The tampon lights

I tried to write about 15 different jokes about these, but nothing was flowing right.

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