I had some photo paper laying around, so I got on my trusty Yahoo! Images search and typed in a few phrases and got some really cool pictures, which I copy and pasted into a Microsoft Word doc., sized them to my liking, and printed them on photo paper. Key phrases I used were: 'Pagan,' 'Green Man,' 'Pagan holiday,' 'Crusades,' 'consumerist Christmas,' xmas', 'consumerism Christmas,' corporate Christmas.' Here are some of my favorite's that I found.
Then I went to the craft store and got some scrap booking paper that came in an assorted pack of shiny black, brown, silver, and white paper(expensive! How does anyone afford scrap booking as a hobby?!). I cut out my pictures, glued them with a paste stick to a whole sheet of scrap booking paper, being sure to leave enough room for a border and trying to put similar sized pics in a line so the cutting process could be streamlined. Then I cut them out using a paper cutter and used a hole punch to leave a place for ribbon or hanger. Stupid me didn't foresee how many pictures I was going to make, and ran out of ribbon, so I just used regular ornament hangers for the rest of them. So below is my final product, finished with a garish, ironic bow. Starting with pictures of pagan related items on top, crusades in the middle, and ending with baby Jesus, then presents, Disney characters, wads of money, and pictures of Santa telling you to "Spend!" My favorite Xmas tree to date, and the whole thing only cost about $20 to decorate. So moral of the story, be creative this year! It's cheap, and much more satisfying than putting out the craptastic, meaningless ornaments you have been recycling each year.
*Amended since first published:
My grandma shared a really cool story with me yesterday. She said, growing up, she never had store-bought ornaments or lights. She is the baby of nine kids and told me all year long the kids would save the foil that came from the cigarette wrappers from their older siblings (everyone smoked back then!) and they would cover the "prickly balls" from maple trees with the foil, string popcorn on string and paint pine cones to decorate their tree every year. I thought this was such a cool idea, to know that even a family who didn't have much money could all pitch in, kids and all, to make a really cool Christmas tradition. Which reminds me, if you have kids, or plan on having kids, always include them in the decorating. That was one of my fondest memories as a kid. I would get out my Chipmunk's Christmas record and my mom and I would decorate the tree with ornaments I made in school while listening to Alvin and The Chipmunks.
PS: I also loved making our Xmas card this year! I made this by finding a Grinch pic on Yahoo!, then used Photoscape (A free photoshop program I found on PC World) to insert our pictures and text, and there ya go. Personalized Xmas cards that didn't cost me one red cent. Love it!