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24 Thrifty Designer Christmas Decorating Ideas

A round-up of thrifty Christmas decorating ideas using thrift store finds, sentimental details, and free decor solutions to customize your home during the holidays.

The other day (well, during a middle of the night feeding actually #momlife), I was randomly looking around our house counting up all of the thrift store projects we have hanging around. Some of my absolute favorites are ones I’ve whipped up for Christmas decorations, and I realized I’ve never rounded them all up into one big blog post before to have them all in one convenient place.

24 Thrifty and Cheap Designer Christmas Decorating Tricks | A round-up of thrifty Christmas decorating ideas using thrift store finds, sentimental details, and free decor solutions to customize your home during the holidays. #thriftychristmas #budgetchristmasdecor #christmasdecorating #christmasdecor #thriftychristmasdecor

Some of our decor is made up of thrift finds, some is made up of just inexpensive little touches from repurposed items, but all of it is super easy to do.

So just in case you want some budget-friendly Christmas decorating ideas for this season or next year, here they are…

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24 Thrifty Designer Christmas Decorating Ideas

1. ID holder stocking name tags

I made these last year using just ID badge holders that were less than $1 each and safety pinning them to Target stockings to make them look high end. And you can get the printable labels for them here too, if you don’t want to design your own.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: Use ID holders as stocking name tags

2. Jingle bells as place card holders

I discovered that jingle bells can become place card holders totally by accident, but it works!

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: Use a jingle bell as a place card holder

3. Free public domain images as winter botanical wall decor

You can find free public domain images all over the internet (basically antique prints that don’t have a copyright). I change this wall for every season, but these winter prints are my favorites to leave up until February.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: Use public domain images of winter botanicals for wall art

4. Ornaments in a soup tureen as a centerpiece

This past summer I found this soup tureen for $5 at Goodwill and immediately thought up a million different ways to use it in decor year-round. Growing up, my mom always put a big bowl of ornaments on my dining room table at Christmas as an easy centerpiece, so it just seemed right. 🙂

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: Fill a soup tureen with ornaments for a centerpiece

5. Ribbon to change the look of a tree each year

I love how ribbon can create a whole knew look on your existing decor for just the price of 2-3 spools. This blackwatch tartan plaid is my new fave.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: Add ribbon to change up the look of your mantel and tree each year

6. Ribbon as napkin holders

If you have any leftover ribbon scraps from wrapping presents, this one is so easy to do.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: tie a napkin with leftover wrapping ribbon for a napkin ring

7. Fairy lights under a cake dome or old thrifted clock dome

These fairy lights are my favorite because they’re battery powered, can be set to a timer, and work in so many different places- on miniature Christmas trees, woven into garland, or like in our kitchen, underneath a cake dome or an old thrifted clock dome.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: put fairy lights under thrifted clock domes and cake stands

8. Thrifted ice skates for a decor accent

I bought these ice skates in the middle of summer in the sporting goods section of the thrift store, but I knew they’d eventually make a great Christmas decoration. I’m painting a pair of skis right now too that will look super cute once I get them finished.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: Use thrifted ice skates as decor accents

9. Reuse wreaths as candle rings

I’ve had these mini boxwood wreaths for years hung up on the backs of dining chairs or placed on a wall or on mirrors. But wreaths are great at repurposing with candles into easy tabletop accents too.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: Use mini wreaths around candles

10. Print an advent calendar as a candle label

I printed this little calendar this year to stick on a votive candle I had, and it’s a great, simple way to countdown until the big day. And it’s as cheap as printing 1 sheet of paper from your own computer.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: print a calendar on a candle to countdown the days until Christmas

11. Recycle “tree lot trash”

Pick up discarded trimmings from Christmas tree lots to use on tabletops and mantels or make fresh garland. And if you want to keep it looking fresh, you can spritz it all with some Wilt Pruf.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: Use "tree lot trash" to repurpose trimmings into garland and tabletop greenery

12. Spray paint thrifted Christmas villages white for a modern look

I see these ceramic village sets in the thrift store all the time. Paint them white (or any color you want) to make them new again.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: spray paint old ceramic villages for a modern look

13. Utilize the grocery store produce aisle

I love sprinkling a table with fresh rosemary and cranberries. Bonus: it smells amazing too. And if you happen to keep rosemary growing in an herb garden year-round, it’s even cheaper.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: use fresh rosemary and cranberries from the produce aisle to decorate a table

14. Hang family photos on the tree

At our old house, we didn’t have a ton of extra money leftover for Christmas ornaments, so I printed some favorite photos, hole punch them with some twine, and hung them on my tree. Putting them on the branches was a sweet little trip down memory lane… and cost next to nothing!

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: print old family photos to hang on your tree and capture memories

15. Use bud vases as candle holders

I inherited this collection of milk glass bud vases from my grandfather after he passed away. He had a huge rose garden and loved giving roses to friends and family as gifts using those milk glass bud vases. I love having them as a way to remember him, so I repurposed them into candle holders as a simple centerpiece.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: Put candles in old bud vases for a simple centerpiece

16. Repurpose a planter for a Christmas tree stand

Use a planter from the garden department for a tree stand holder. There are so many pretty ones, but this barrel planter was my favorite of the bunch. During the warm months, we just stored it upside-down on our patio as a makeshift outdoor cocktail table.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: Use a planter as a tree stand holder and store it upside-down on a porch or patio in the warmer months as a makeshift outdoor cocktail table

17. Transform an old gumball machine into a snow globe

I found this one in the kids’ toy section of the thrift store and spray painted it a pretty ballet pink for my daughter’s room. Fill it with some fluffed cotton balls and a little house ornament, and you’ve got yourself a snow globe.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: spray paint an old gumball machine and make it into a snow globe

18. Use old shutters as Christmas card holders

A friend of ours gave us these old shutters that I hung on our wall in our last house, and they were so perfect for sliding photos and Christmas cards through the slats to display.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: Use shutters to display old photos and Christmas cards between the slats

19. Utilize a thrifted typewriter to display messages to Santa

I was so excited when I found this typewriter at the thrift store for $9! It’s perfect for printing out funny letters to Santa as whimsical decor. If you don’t have luck at thrift stores, you can sometimes find them on Etsy and eBay for not too pricey.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: write a message to Santa on an old typewriter for whimsical Christmas decor

20. Use decoupaged sheet music on cheap ornaments for a vintage look

I made these ornaments from cheap Walmart ball ornaments years ago using old sheet music I ripped up and decoupaged with Mod Podge. So sweet and pretty and a craft that’s hard to mess up.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: Mod Podge old sheet music on cheap ball ornaments to make them look vintage

21. Incorporate family heirlooms

This sled belonged to my mom when she was a little girl and my brother and I raced down hills many times growing up. If you have any winter gear passed down from decades ago, use them in your decor! Bonus points if they have great stories to tell.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: display family heirloom winter gear

22. Repurpose baby shoes as ornaments

These little boots were Olivia’s when she was born, and every year we nestle them onto a branch to remember that sweet baby phase.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: place baby shoes in tree as memorable ornaments

23. Turn an old sweater into a pillow cover

I see old cable knit sweaters in thrift stores all the time! Snatch them up, wash them when you get home, and rework them into cozy pillow covers. This tutorial can take you step by step. 

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: reuse old sweaters to make throw pillow covers

24. Use an old crate for a hot cocoa station

I found this old Coca-Cola crate years ago at the thrift store, and we bust it out for centerpieces, coffee table trays, and festive cocoa bars throughout the year when we want a punch of red. And you can snag this hot cocoa bar sign here to go with it too.

Thrifty Christmas decorating idea: use an old soda crate for a mini hot cocoa station

Do you have any thrifted items you love using in your Christmas decor every year? Share them in the comments below so we can gather more ideas! Because you can honestly never have enough. 😉

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24 Thrifty and Cheap Designer Christmas Decorating Tricks | A round-up of thrifty Christmas decorating ideas using thrift store finds, sentimental details, and free decor solutions to customize your home during the holidays. #thriftychristmas #budgetchristmasdecor #christmasdecorating #christmasdecor #thriftychristmasdecor

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11 Comments

  1. Ahhh, I love this post so much! Some of these ideas I already do, but you’ve given me inspiration to do more. Ice skating is a special memory for me because one year when I was a teen, we had freezing temps long enough for our farm pond to freeze solid and my dad bought my brother and me ice skates from a thrift store to try out. (In Oklahoma, where both freezing temps for a month and used ice skates at just the right time were a rarity!). I no longer have those, but just recently bought a couple of pairs from Etsy to use as decor. Was just thinking about going through old family photos and finding Christmas ones to frame and display. Love the idea of using luggage tags on stockings and baby shoes on the tree! My youngest child just left for college this year, and I think that has made me even more nostalgic than ever, especially in my decor. One of my favorite vintage Christmas collections are ceramic salt and pepper shakers (mostly snowmen, Santas, and gingerbread bread people) that I’ve thrifted and display in my kitchen window sill. I use red and green in my decor all year and my collection of vintage red and green glassware (mostly goblets, bowls, and candy dishes) works really well at Christmas time in various vignettes. I also like to collect cute stockings to hang with command hooks on the doors throughout my house. Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family!

  2. What a great selection of easy and inexpensive ideas! I love that hot cocoa bar and I’m going to do that when I have a few friends over this season. So friendly and useful! Thank you for this Christmasy roundup.

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