Greetings from Nashville, Tennessee! This weekend, we have been visiting my husband’s side of the family for an early Christmas, so I’m feeling my usual holiday spirit but on hyperdrive.
Yep. I’m blogging from the road, complete with a toddler singing her own version of Jingle Bells from the backseat of our SUV, but since I had given y’all the full Holiday Home Tour of our 1 year-old builder grade house, I felt like I should give you the scoop of how I decorated on a nonexistent budget for this year’s escapades.
So if you have hardly enough mulah for presents to put under your tree, let alone enough to deck your halls with lovely decorations, then this is the post for you, my friend.
1. Check thrift stores year round.
I visit my neighborhood thrift store fairly regularly, and I would always find the coolest holiday decor at the most odd times of the year. Our NOEL stocking holders for our mantel were 50 cents each. I even found a pair of ice skates for $5 in the middle of July. I can’t even tell you how many lovely wreaths I saw this year.
2. Find ways to make everday items more festive.
I love shopping my own home for decorations, so I was really excited to find a way to make our office typewriter more Christmas-y. Got a pickle jar? Turn it into a snow globe. Look around your house and try to think of unique ways to use what you already have. Most of the time, it won’t cost you a penny.
3. Use greenery and natural elements wherever you can.
Since we bought a real tree this year, I made sure to use every little sprig of the trimmings. Even if you don’t buy a real tree, many tree lots will give up their cuttings for free or for very cheap if you ask. Use them on your mantel, on tabletops, in centerpieces, on shelves, wherever you want to add a little holiday spirit. Use clippings from magnolia trees and holly bushes or collect pine cones to put around your home.
4. Accept hand-me-downs with open arms.
This year, probably half of our house was decorated with hand-me-downs thanks to my mom and grandmother who were cleaning out their attics. My mom wanted a new wreath for her door this year, so I put her old one to good use on my entry mirror. My grandmother generously gave us an old tree, ornaments, and a snow village she no longer used. One gal’s junk can be a thrifter’s treasure.
5. Believe in the power of paint and Mod Podge.
We had a few boxes of old, chipped gold ornaments that I wasn’t very fond of in the beginning, but once I wrapped them in old sheet music with Mod Podge, they had a whole new life.
6. Make it personal.
One of the beautiful things of DIYing decorations is it makes them an expression of your own family. Make your own ornaments from old photos, build a gingerbread house together, make those cheap plastic decorations become something special.
I guess I could put tip #7 on here and say to shop the after-holiday sales, but really I’m terrible at planning ahead like that. If I’m out of my food coma on December 26th and somehow get the nerve to set foot in a store, it’ll be miraculous. So have fun early birds! I’m with you in spirit. Send me an 80% off Christmas tree, and you’ll be my friend forever.
No matter what though, don’t get caught up in making your home magazine-worthy because, in the end, the most beautiful home of all is one full of laughter.
Be thankful for what you do have. And remember that a Christmas filled with loved ones is worth a thousand times more than a Christmas with just pretty decorations.
What ways do you decorate for Christmas for next to nothing? I’d love to know!