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5 Inexpensive Ways to Bring Holiday Cheer to Your Home

Use this guide when you want to do some Christmas decorating on a budget.

Each holiday lends itself to specific colors, objects, and themes, and many of us find ourselves wanting to reflect the changing seasons with decorations to suit. I think of my parents who have nativity sets, pre-lit deer in the front yard, wreaths half my size, and perfectly matching ornaments and get a bit overwhelmed. Transforming our homes and spaces into holiday wonderlands can be expensive and stressful. This year, let’s honor the holiday season in a way that brings us peace, shares beauty, and gets creative. Here are some ideas for inexpensive ways to decorate this Christmas.

Thrift store finds

I am always a proponent of thrift store shopping. I love finding treasures and getting to re-use what someone else no longer wants or needs. Thrifting is economical and environmentally friendly. I always stumble upon holiday décor during the holidays, and even throughout the year — anything from Christmas mugs and dishware to faux wreaths and ornaments in original packaging.

While you never know what you’re going to find, thrifting is a fun, whimsical approach to decorating. And every once in a while, you hit the jackpot! A friend once got an entire Fontanini nativity collection for a steal on Craigslist. By going to the thrift store or looking for decorations on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, you can often find beautiful, quality products at amazing prices.

Inherit from friends and family

Every Christmas, I pull out a “Santa’s Marching Band” set of soldiers that hit bells to the tune of about two dozen Christmas classics. This set is about as old as I am and was given to me by my parents. Now, my kids sit for hours watching the toy soldiers play the tunes I heard as a child.

Similarly, my mother-in-law gave us my husband’s childhood ornaments, which my son helped me place on his tree this year. As my parents and in-laws have gotten older, I’ve noticed how willing they are to “unload” their various things to their children or grandchildren. They want to see pieces that they treasure be treasured and used by family, and are often ready to simplify their lives. Before going to the store or ordering something new, see if your parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, or close friends and neighbors are ready to pass decorations along.

Forage (responsibly)

This Christmas season, opt outside! Get creative with arrangements, center pieces, and wreaths by collecting favorite evergreens, dried flowers, berries, or pinecones from your backyard, a neighbor’s, or while out on a hike. We have several holly trees and bushes around our property that I’ve trimmed branches from to make a table runner, and I’ve sprinkled holly leaves around wooden furniture items.

Foraging in this way is a fun, sustainable, economical way to build memories with friends and bring nature into your home. Just make sure you aren’t trespassing or picking something that’s endangered! Also make sure to keep plants and berries that may be poisonous or harmful if ingested out of reach of pets and children.

Don’t underestimate simplicity

Transforming a space doesn’t have to require an extravagant effort. It’s amazing what a few twinkle lights can do to bring holiday cheer into a room. Find a small tree — artificial or real — and set it up in your home or room. Make bows out of thick ribbon and place them on an old wreath or strategically around your house. Light a holiday-scented candle.

Some friends who couldn’t afford a tree one year made a tree out of colored paper and taped it, along with ornament cutouts, on their wall.  It’s one of their favorite memories and was a creative and frugal way to bring holiday cheer into their home.

Stock up after Christmas

If you’re already thinking about next year, take advantage of post-holiday sales and clearances. Often, vendors steeply discount holiday décor right after the season is over. Be on the lookout for discounts and sales and stock up on a few pieces for next year!

This Christmas, don’t worry about creating a winter wonderland in your home. Choose instead to get creative with these intentional and simple decorating ideas that will create a warm and welcoming environment and leave you with enough money leftover for gifts. 

Grotto quote graphic about Christmas decorating on a budget: "Inexpensive ways to decorate for Christmas: thrift store finds, inherit from friends & family, forage (responsibly), go the simple route, stock up after Christmas."

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