As every miser and cheapskate knows, Christmas trees are huge, bulky, and they come in and take over your whole house (or tent, if you live in a tent). On the other hand, pinecones are teeny, weensy, and tiny. Mostly, though, they are cheap, because you can often find them lying around on the ground near pine trees. If you collect your own cones from the forest, be sure to bake them in your oven at about 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about ten minutes to drive out any bugs and moisture that may be in them, or place them in a dry, airy place to air-dry for a month or two. The oven heat and air-drying may cause the cones to open up, allowing you to more easily paint them or glue on decorations such as beads, glitter, yarn, or sequins. Wobbly pinecones can be glued to a round, flat cardboard base. Next comes the really fun part for misers and cheapskates: finding presents small enough and inexpensive enough to fit under an itty-bitty Christmas pinecone!
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