Frugal Decorating For The Holidays

You don't have to go broke for the holidays. You don't have to max out your credit card to buy store items to decorate your home. And, if you're like me, you can just stop spending money on presents altogether. 

You can always donate to your favorite charity or volunteer to help feed the poor. That is so much more rewarding than buying presents for the sake of buying.

Decorating for the holidays does not have to mean trips to the store. Once you start doing that, then you'll find something else when you get there. It's easy to go to the store to get tinsel, and end up with a basket full of things that you didn't intend to buy. 

If you're on a strict budget, my advice is to stay out of the stores altogether.

Look at what you have and see if you can think of a way to embellish it for a holiday look. 

Take the candles in a vintage sewing machine drawer above. You can take scraps of paper and images downloaded off the internet to dress them up for the occasion. I just took clear tape and added the paper and some ribbon.

I have been making ornaments for years. And each year I go about the house and find something else to use that I haven't thought of before. I added some large keys to the tree this year. Gave it a vintage vibe. 

Add simple things like ribbon and bows and burlap and anything your heart desires. 

If you have a sewing or craft area, I promise you there are ornaments "just waiting to happen" right there in that spot. Ribbons and buttons and felt and fabric make beautiful ornaments and decorations.

Put small candles into tea cups. This happens to be one with a poinsettia on it. But it could be any tea cup. And now you've got something that can be counted as Christmas or holiday decor.

Everything seems to look prettier under glass. See what you might have that you can use under a cloche as a table center piece. It could be most anything. Add a sprig or two of holiday picks to it and it becomes decor.

For this one I added a white pitcher and several little gold trees, because I liked the effect of the gold sparkling against a white backdrop. Then I added the little church under glass. It looks more balanced when used together. It becomes "a vignette."

Add a vintage Santa mug with a small tree inside. It adds just a bit of holiday cheer to ordinary objects on the coffee bar.

I love to decorate with reds and whites at Christmas, so the creamer and little house container for sugar becomes Christmas decor with a small tree behind it. 

The vintage suitcase full of various trees. I actually store these trees all year long in this suitcase. So I know right where to look come December!

And the red colander with a candle. Before I had seashells surrounding the candle. But by wrapping strands of gold bead garlands around and around the candle, it becomes a holiday candle.

Add a strand of gold stars to a lampshade, and you've given it a touch of holiday spirit..

Create a little cocoa station on a cake stand. By adding candy canes, it suddenly looks Christmas-y.

Blog Land is absolutely full of very talented ladies who can take something, even what appears to be junk, and turn it into a decorating treasure. So you have lots of creativity to draw from. Pinterest is another gold mine.

It's a mind set. You just have to look at what you have, and think what you could add to it that would turn it temporarily (or permanently) into holiday decor. 

By doing this and staying out of the stores where you are tempted to buy, you can have a holiday on budget. And still have a home filled with color and cheer.

Put away the credit cards. Save your cash. And make do. Then pat yourself on the back for not spending too much money at the holidays.

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  1. Brenda, Your decorations are very pretty . I like that you make do with what you have on hand...we need to do more of that. Blessings to you dear Brenda. I think of you often. xoxo,Susie

  2. Your house is beautifully decorated for the holidays! You always have a special touch, making things look perfect. I'm not buying anything new. I'm using what I have or thrift finds. Enjoy your weekend!

  3. Your home is charming. I love using what I have. I cannot justify spending money on ornaments year after year.

  4. Yep you always do it up right whether it's big or small.

  5. I was about to panic. I hadn't seen a post from you and went to your blog. Your last post was 2 weeks ago. I knew that wasn't right, but then I found this one. I signed up my email address hoping that I won't miss posts now. Your house looks nice and cozy. You are so right. I do stay out of stores. I do buy Christmas but I buy things that are wanted and I shop for good prices. Happy Holidays.

  6. Great advice Brenda, and so true. I love your collection of cloches...they are getting so hard to find around here now.


  7. At work we decided on a potluck and said that was our gift to each other. Suddenly everybody is buying a small gift for each employee. We're all at the age where we don't need any more ornaments, etc. so I find it's a waste of money and adds more stress trying to come up with a small gift for 8 or 9 people. I enjoy the potluck, the gift exchange not so much. I'd rather we each donate a food item or two to the food shelter and I think I'll suggest that...again. Good post, Brenda. It's easy to buy way more than what's on your list at this time of year.

  8. This is a great reminder post - less consumerism is a good good thing - look at your lovely treasures, and you never had to leave the house! How great is THAT!???

    Have a blessed weekend.

  9. You've done such a creative take on Christmas...there are so many things to love, like the trees in the suitcase, cloche-covered greenery, and, one of my favorites...the candle in the colander! This is a great lesson not only for Christmas, but for everyday decorating. I was wandering around Home Goods earlier today, looking for new things, but left empty-handed, and decided to "shop" my house to use old things in new ways. Thanks for the reminder, Brenda!

  10. I totally agree with you! A friend of mine who has a PT job at Michaels, told me today that all their Christmas stuff was 70% off. I said, "That's nice. I wouldn't want any of it even if it were free!" She just laughed. I explained to her that I already have enough. Even with giving away lots of Christmas decor last year. Don't need or even want anymore.

  11. More sexism and misoginy from the infamous Return of Kings site

    If you haven't signed the petition to remove that site from the internet yet, then please do so now:

    Good news- we got over 12,000 signatures now.

  12. Every year I just start putting things out and it never goes in the same place twice, so it's always different! A great idea is to take a wreathe, whether you want to use a white Styrofoam or a faux green one is up to you, but take your old and beloved broken Christmas ornaments, you know the ones the kids made or that are missing a leg, feathers have fallen off, a crack in it and you're afraid to use it, just start putting them into the wreathe, either with pins or ties, hot glue, add a bow if you want, and you'll have the cutest wreathe when you are done.

  13. Great advice, Brenda. I've used items I already had, (or that the kids and I made!) for all our decor this year. We have plenty of everything we need (except money- haha) No need to stress about what we can't have, we just make do and have fun with it. Love all your cute things!

  14. Everything looks so pretty and festive, Brenda. There was no money spent on Christmas decorations this year. We had more than enough. xo Laura

  15. Beautifully done Brenda. I love to use what I have to decorate. It's just part of the challenge. Less is so much more!! Your home is true to your blog name!!
    Have a great weekend. Hugs

  16. Beautiful and sweet vignettes, Brenda!

  17. Amen! No wasting money and time buying more valueless decorations! And gifts, goodness! I Totally dislike buying gifts for people because it's
    the season and one feels pressured
    to do so. And I even more dislike
    receiving gifts given in such a
    fashion. Then there is always the
    one upmanship factor. You know,
    the person who says "no gifts", but
    then gives you something and then
    acts all smug. Ugh.
    Food to animal shelters is the only
    gifts I give. People always tend to
    forget the animals with the big push
    to give toys to kids. Shelters really
    need any type of donation this time
    of year.

  18. Brenda, I find this post and your advice to be so encouraging! Thank you!! My husband and I are down to one income so that I can stay home with our baby girl. I so want to try and do fabulous things to decorate but it's just not a good idea now that we're so budget minded. I'm trying to look around and find things to decorate with. Have a great weekend! ~ Jamie

  19. These are great ideas for decorating. I agree that you don't need to break the bank in setting up for Christmas ... it all starts to miss the point then doesn't it. I like to decorate with greenery more and more ... some bought, some snipped from the trees (sparingly!) from my backyard. It makes it feel woodsy & cozy inside. And who wants to store all that strictly Christmas decorating stuff?! Best to change what you have with a little imagination. Great post! I'm following the Tis the Season tour a bit late, but I've been a bit busy ;) Wendy x

  20. So pretty Brenda! You did it up just right. I went super light this year and I am enjoying it much better myself.

  21. We need more people like you in "blog land"...instead of all the glitz and glamour I am finding! Thank you! ;)

  22. Great post! I love how you make bright and festive arrangements using some of your everyday pieces. And these are great tips. There is so much temptation in the stores. I did know I wanted some gold for my mantel this year and I was pretty good about just picking up some candles and garland. I also find it hard to avoid shopping on the internet when I get the sales in my email box. I've learned to just delete them without looking. It's not easy though, the advertisers and media are very savvy.


  23. Great "free" decor ideas! Red is such a happy color!

    By the way, I have your blog on my sidebar (under blogs I read) and it hasn't updated in two weeks. I didn't know you had posted for a few days until I checked to see if you had posted in the comments about the beeping noise that was bothering your poor baby so much. Any ideas why it hasn't updated in two weeks?

  24. I love the way you take ordinary things and turn them into Christmas decor such as the colander filled with beads around a candle. Beautiful! And I love the cloches. I could use a few of those to keep things safe from the furbabies, but can't find them now. Enjoy your pretty house and stay warm!

  25. I actually got rid of a lot of my Christmas décor this year. Gave much to charity. It was great to pair down to just a couple of plastic boxes. Most that I used this year are things I can keep up until spring, except for the tree.

  26. Brenda your home is just perfect for Christmas decorations! Touches to your regular great red and white decor. I have bought only one thing new for my Christmas decorations and a couple of new ornaments which I do each year especially for my Grandson. A few gifts and no debt! I've made a couple of donations also. I am so blessed this year I am trying to share where I can. Wishing you a good week! Hugs!!! Linda

  27. The red and white gingham touches are particularly charming. I realize that if I just pull out a checked cloth and put it on the table, my dining area will be ever so much more festive. Thanks for the lovely photos.

  28. These are some fun ideas! I tried to do more of this.




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