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8 Ways to Deck the Halls on a Budget

Learn how to make inexpensive Christmas decor.

Decking the halls this season doesn’t have to take the cheer out of your budget. While trimming the tree, stringing the lights and hanging the stockings are on the Christmas checklist, we’ve found some sustainable, DIY and budget-friendly ideas to bring the merry without breaking the bank. 

Winter greens

Nothing says Christmas spirit like some beautiful greenery throughout your home. Fresh garland and pine wreaths can be expensive when purchasing from nurseries and big box stores, but there are budget-friendly ways to spruce up your home. 

DIY garland

This garland hack is sure to be an easy and affordable way to decorate your mantle or table centerpiece. Check out your local arts and crafts stores to see if faux garland is available for purchase. Usually, this garland can hang up to 6 feet and comes in a variety of greens, such as boxwood or even magnolia leaves.

Once purchased and placed in your home, you can add to the garland with actual fresh clippings of a pine tree, or even eucalyptus leaves, which dry beautifully. Places like Trader Joe’s sell these clippings for an affordable price and once woven into your fake garland, a full and natural centerpiece is created for a fraction of the cost of a living piece. Added bonus, once the holiday season is over, you can repurpose the garland for the following year or another seasonal event. 

Topiary trees

Topiaries are a fun way to bring the outdoors inside this season. You can find these balls of greenery at your local nursery or even online, and they come in different shapes and variations. From Lemon Cypress to Thyme to Myrtle, topiaries make a big statement in a small form. Adding festive ribbon to the bark of the topiaries, as well as planting them in ceramic pots that are green or red will add to the seasonal decor in your home.

Cost can vary from $20 to $30 a tree, but they will last longer than your New Year’s plans. Topiaries can grow all year long if you continue to maintain and water them, possibly even staying fresh for the following Christmas season!

Decked out in ribbon

Ribbon is an underrated decor item that can really zhuzh up the home during the holidays. Look for sales at local craft stores and stockpile ribbon in your favorite color, material or print. Not all Christmas ribbons have to be green or red, pretty blues and whites look striking against the greenery of the season. 

Tree bows

A cost effective way to decorate your real or fake Christmas tree this year is with ribbons. Many of us have not collected boxes and boxes of ornaments, so tree bows are the perfect way to fill in the empty sections of the tree.

Following Instagram personality Melissa Smrekar’s bow tutorial, you can make your very own bows with just ribbon and floral wire, both of which can be purchased at a craft store. Start by cutting a piece of ribbon, depending on the size of the bow, you want, and laying the cut piece vertical on a flat surface. Bring one end of the ribbon to the center, making an “X” and then repeat with the other end of the ribbon. Scrunch the bow in the center, using the floral wire to secure the middle. Twist the floral ribbon around the middle and then secure the bow to the tree with the wire on the back of the bow. Voila!

Ribbon card holders

Another option for ribbon is to utilize it as a Christmas card garland. Once you have found some ribbon you like (velvet is a very pretty option for this time of year), you can take all the Christmas cards you have collected and display them throughout your home.

There are two ways to do this: if your ribbon is thin enough, you can punch two holes at the top of your cards and weave them onto the ribbon. From there, you can continue to string cards to display, hanging your ribbon in a doorway or mantle. Another option is to hang the ribbon first, and then taking small clothespins, clip the cards to the ribbon as well. 

Kid-friendly decor

Kid art is the perfect way to display Christmas in a frame. The constant shuffle of art from school to home can be overwhelming — to say the least — but it is possible to turn these masterpieces into framed decor. 

From school to frame

Whether it’s a painted wreath or a hand-print Rudolph situation, art from school can be used as decor! After inspecting your child’s (or niece or nephew’s) art work, choose a piece that will work well in a frame. Then, visiting your local Target or Home Goods (or even Goodwill!), find frames that are already matted, making the artwork look more professional when framed. Save the frame and artwork for the following season, or swap out the art for another holiday, either way your artist will be very proud to see the fancy display. 

DIY ornaments

Kids and adults alike will love creating their own ornaments to grace the Christmas tree this year. Visiting your local craft store (again!), find clear plastic or glass ornaments and acrylic paint in a few different colors. At home, unbox the ornaments, opening the silver top to expose the open and empty ornament. Next, place 2–3 squirts of paint into the ornament and roll it around until the inside is covered with a marbling effect. Turn upside down and let dry for at least 24 hours. Once dried, place the top back on, add a pretty ribbon, and decorate the tree or top a present with these very unique and kid-friendly ornaments. 

Orange you glad it’s Christmas? 

Believe it or not, oranges are very affordable Christmas decorations, bringing both beauty and scent to mark the holiday. 

Dried oranges

One of my favorite ways to add color to my green garland or my tree is a dried orange, which is very easy to make and brings with it the most incredible scent. To make the dried oranges, preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the oranges, about ¼ inch thick and blot them dry with a paper towel. Lay the orange slices flat on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the oranges are completely dried out. Using floral wire, hang the oranges from garland, wreaths or the tree. 

Pomander balls

Take firm oranges and stick them with whole cloves to create a scented orange that captures the season. These pomander balls can be placed throughout the home as a natural scent enhancer or even used as part of a centerpiece. The more cloves used, the stronger the scent. 

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‘Tis the season to cherish the memories made in the spaces you create — whether it’s a dried orange peel or a faux garland wreath, joy comes from sharing your home with those you love!

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