These are pretty easy to make, and one year I even sold a few to non-crafty friends of the family.
Small set of lights (20-25 bulbs, nothing bigger)
Basket, bucket, or large tin you like. Again, don't make it too big.
Lots of different sized pine cones, be sure to get the small ones too. (Free, if you take an additional bag for scooping pine cones when you walk the dog)
Little dollar store decorations.
1. Fill the basket/bucket with newspaper about 3/4 of the way. You want it high enough so that when you glue the pinecones in, they stick over the bucket.
2. Glue your lights to the newspaper and sides of the bucket. Note
, if you have a corded set, make sure to leave enough cord sticking out of the bucket to plug it in somewhere. If it's a battery pack like mine, make room to shove the battery pack on the inside against the side of the bucket, and that it's easy to take in and out.
3. Fill in your pine cones around the lights, glueing them down. I usually use the bigger cones and do the first layer around the rim of the basket/bucket, and then as I move inward fit the smaller cones where they'll go. Don't worry about the empty crooks made by pinecone gaps. If you're using a battery pack, don't glue the pinecone covering the battery pack. You'll need to remove it somehow to get at the batteries.
4. Fill in the gaps with acorns, tiny pinecones, and your trinkets from the dollar store. Here's where you can get personal. Giving it to someone who loves snowmen? Buy the plastic pack of 8 (or whatever) plastic snowmen, and glue them in here. You can use anything you want, be it matching or totally not.
5. Wrap ribbon around tin, or on handles, or in weird pattern, etc.
This is a great craft to tailor to different people, because it's very easy to customize themes and colours. I went with pure white lights, but you can use the colour ones if you want too. Be creative!
*If you have cats, watch your acorns. Mine ended up under the fridge*
(Finished lit. The two acorns at the top/back are where my battery pack is, the pinecone above them is not glued down. I can easily take them off ad get at the batteries/switch.)