Can you believe it is December? I feel like this year has really dragged on in some spots. But here we are, the last month of the year! And honestly, it is often one of the most anticipated times of the year and one of the most magical. It is a time when we put up lights, tinsel, and trees and transform our homes into wonderlands. This year, I am seeing more people put their decorations up early, and it seems we could all use the cheer. But this year has also presented many with lost incomes and tighter budgets. And these decorations come at a cost, it’s estimated that the average American spends $61 on Christmas decorations. What if that’s just not in your budget this year? I’m here to tell you, you can still decorate for Christmas on a budget!
Determine What (If Anything) You Will Spend on Decorations
The first thing to do as you look to decorate on a budget is to determine what, if anything, you will spend on decorations. If you have a Christmas budget set up, or a Christmas sinking fund, can some of this money be allocated to decorations? If you don’t have these funds set up but want to spend a little bit of money on decorations, take a hard look at your budget. You may find expenses you can cut temporarily to free up some money for decorations. Knowing what you have to spend for decorations will make shopping for supplies and decorations themselves easier. When you know what you are comfortable spending, you will find that you can still decorate for Christmas on a budget.
If you want to create a plan to save for Christmas next year, check out my blog post Creating a Holiday Savings Plan. This can help you create a plan for your holiday spending so that it doesn’t sneak up on you year after year.
Look for Deals/Sales
As you are out and about doing your regular or holiday shopping, be mindful of sales and deals that will help you decorate more inexpensively. You may find special local deals that can help make decorating for Christmas more budget friendly. I saw on Instagram yesterday that one of the local non-profits in my community is hosting a “pay what you can” Christmas tree lot this year. And I just love this idea. It allows people to still fill their homes with the magic of the holidays, but on their budget! Keep an eye out on social media and in your local newspaper for similar opportunities in your area.
You can also look at dollar stores and craft stores for less expensive decorations. Dollar stores usually have holiday themed decorations and also wrapping paper and cards. You can often save money and stock up on lots of your holiday needs.
Shop Second Hand
If there are thrift stores in your area, these can be a great place to find Christmas decorations. Often this time of year, as people buy new decorations, they will donate their older, gently used decorations. You can find decorations to brighten your home and get more bang for your buck this way. It’s also a very nice way to make sure that decorations are still used and don’t end up taking up space at the landfill.
Growing up, I was an arts and crafts kid. So, our house was always decorated with a combination of decorations my mom purchased, those passed down for generations, and my newest craft creation. And I haven’t grown out of making decorations yet! One great way that you can decorate for Christmas on a budget is to make your own decorations. Sometimes the decorations you make can end up being the ones that you treasure the most.
A few years ago, my husband and I were settling into a new apartment that was smaller than our last, and we had no room for our 2-foot Christmas tree. My husband was working nights, so I decided to surprise him and knitted us Christmas stockings to hang in the apartment. I knitted them each night with my mom while we watched Christmas movies. We both love our stockings.
I’m even going to make some for our kids when we have them someday. And even more, the year I made them, also happened to be the year my mom passed away. So, the stockings mean even more now. And all they cost me was money for yarn and a few nights of Christmas movies.
You can use what you have around the house or what you find in nature. And making your own decorations is a time to get the whole family involved. I still remember making these little winter hats when I was little (and I think a few still get hung on our tree each year). Or you can use coffee filters to make snowflakes. Get as creative as you want! It doesn’t have to be expensive or outlandish to make it feel like the holidays.
Repurpose What You Have
Another Christmas memory I have from growing up is the holiday themed towels. My mom had hand towels and dish towels for each holiday, and Christmas was no exception. I always loved it when she would get out the towels. It was a fun little holiday reminder. Getting holiday towels has not been in my budget yet. But I do have some red and green dish towels that I bought in a multi-colored set a few years ago. I always make sure to bring them out during the holidays. It makes me feel a little more festive.
This is a great example of how you can use what you already have to decorate for Christmas. Candles left over from your Halloween pumpkin can be put in a jar to make a nice table center piece. A string of white lights left over from an outdoor wedding can bring holiday cheer to a window or room in your house. Using what you already have can give you a new appreciation for it. This can help you feel more content no matter your circumstances.
It’s Ok to Keep it Simple
It can be hard when you are decorating on a budget to see pictures on social media of homes that are completely decked out for the holidays. But remember, sometimes less is more. Keep your decorations simple and enjoy the magic of creating memories with those you love. I know as I look back on the holidays I’ve shared with my husband, some of my favorites are the ones where we were on our own and just getting by. We were grateful for all that we had. We were filled with the love, light, and joy of the season even if we didn’t have a tree or expensive decorations. By keeping it simple and sticking you your budget, whatever it is, you can still decorate for Christmas on a budget!