Are you a frugalista? In home decor, are you about recycled, cheap and (best of all) free? At Christmas, you can save big with homemade, recycled, repurposed decorations. Here’s a holiday guide to decorating on a shoestring. Use this for Hannukah decorating, too.
Reuse Christmas decorations. This works great for traditionalists, whose holiday decor doesn’t vary much each year. You don’t go out and buy new Christmas tree ornaments just because they’re trending. You loyally put up the same tattered little paper centerpiece each year because your oldest made it in preschool. And being sentimental has added perks of saving money!
Reconfigure. If you do like to follow seasonal trends, you still don’t have to buy all new. Reuse your old Christmas tree ornaments in different places. Make reversible tree skirts and banners. Buy a few new Christmas decorations on clearance after Christmas. Try new designs in new places. Decorate stairwells, railings and banisters with old. Bring recycled yard decor inside and decorate indoors. Repaint plain Christmas tree ornaments or decorate with glitter glue.
Think ahead. During summer yard sale season, watch for used Christmas decorations. Many people replace decorations each year and purge from seasons past. You can snag Christmas lights, outdoor display items, bead garlands, Christmas tree ornaments, artificial wreath, Christmas tree, holiday centerpiece and evergreen roping for cents on the dollar.
Snap up last-season deals. This author and her husband found strings of purple holiday lights for $.25 at year-end clearances. These were reused all year long to decorate the oldest daughter’s room in a “Lord of the Rings” theme! You can buy super-cheap ornaments, too.
Buy secondhand Christmas tree ornaments. Find used decor at thrift stores cheap. After visiting Louisiana, this author decided to add Cajun elements to Christmas decorations. Strings of chili pepper Christmas lights were $1.50 and make great patio decorations for summer. In fact, use all summer patio lights and Christmas lights interchangeably. Don’t worry if thrift store decor is dated–Christmas decorations never go out of style. Retro-vintage is always in season.
Think reusable (aka artificial) Christmas decorations. Synthetic Christmas trees are a greener, cheaper option than cutting live Christmas trees. Buy pre-lit Christmas trees at end-of-season sales. Remove and replace lights as they wear out. Artificial trees are safer and healthier for people who suffer with allergies.
Use recycled materials for homemade Christmas decorations. Save trimmed branches from live trees, Ask neighbors and Christmas tree dealers for scraps from evergreen. Make fragrant holiday decor, swags and wreaths using different evergreen scraps–fir, cedar, hemlock, pine and spruce. Reuse live trees as backyard bird feeders. Save Christmas cards and string from windows.
Dress up everyday decor. Festoon bead garlands and curled ribbon from curtain rods, ceiling fan and ceiling tiles (raise tiles and sandwich ribbon underneath). Tie evergreen boughs and holiday decor and festive ribbons on pictures. Replace (or recover) throw pillows, rugs, blankets and furniture covers with holiday ones (bought secondhand). Buy end-of-season holiday fabric or used recycled holiday fabric for homemade holiday decor. Cut in pieces, pink the edges and make holiday decor and tableware. From one $2 yard of fabric, you can make 6 doilies, 1 table runner, 12 coasters and 4 arm covers in about 20 minutes.
DIY as much as possible. Save broken jewelry, faux gems, buttons and miscellaneous beads. Restring as garlands. Design homemade “stained glass” by drawing on windows with glass markers like Crayola Crystal Effects window markers.
Go au naturele: Decorate with pine cones, leaves, evergreen boughs, acorns, seed pods, dried berries, twigs, feathers, old nests, stones and shells. Add silk flowers, artificial birds and fake fruit. Spray paint in holiday colors or fake snow to preserve. Frost gold, white or silver and sprinkle with glitter. Leave evergreens unpainted to retain festive holiday smell. Create centerpieces, swags, table decor and tree ornaments. These natural homemade Christmas decorations are very Victorian.