Decorating for Christmas on a Budget

decorating for christmas on a budget, elaina avalos, elaina m. avalos

I love Christmas. I love the lights, the music, the movies, and the childlike hope of it all. Decorating for Christmas is a pure joy for me. But one thing I’ve never done is spend a lot of money on Christmas decorations. I like to see Christmas everywhere I look, so that includes additional bedrooms and bathrooms. And while that’s not hard to do in my tiny apartment, this is only the second Christmas in ages I’ve lived in an apartment {thank you, Hurricane Florence}. Decorating my houses took a bit more effort.

But I have a lot of decorations now, so when I finally get back into a house again, I’m all set. So how does one decorate on a budget? I know the temptations this time of year. When you don’t, won’t, or can’t use credit to create a Christmas like you see on TV, or one that keeps up with the Joneses next door, how do you create the beauty you envision, without the price tag that comes with it?

I wanted to share a few of the things I’ve done over the years to create a collection I love – even though the vast majority has cost me very little. If you want to add to or change your decor and don’t have a lot of cash to do so, it just takes a little patience to get there.

First – Start with a goal. Do you want a color or theme? Do you want a variety of themes? Are you a white lights on the tree person, or a color light person? Once you have that figured out, there are some great ways to start your tree out inexpensively and then add from there.

Decorating Your TreeDollar Tree is your best friend. If you’ve never bought Dollar Tree ornaments, you’re missing out. The photo above is the first set of ornaments I bought about eight years ago. They’re sold in sleeves of multiples – so for $1.00 you get, depending on the colors, at least 6. I believe the larger packages have 10-12. When I wanted to change over from a red/gold theme, to something more coastal, I went with the white and silver. I honestly bought more than I needed, over a couple of holiday seasons. Filling the tree with those ornaments, plus the silver beads shown, allowed me to fill in as I could, with the various shades of blue I’ve added. While I’d hoped to link the balls at Dollar Tree, they’re not on the website {but likely still in your local store}. These are similar and reasonably priced at $7.99 for 24 pieces.

Now that I’ve added more ornaments to my tree, some of the white and silver ornaments have found their way to vases, trays, etc. for other rooms in the house.

Decorative Hooks – While this might sound kind of silly, one of my favorite inexpensive finds was the pretty decorative hooks I found at Wal Mart originally. They add a nice touch, in my opinion. These ornament hooks can be found just about anywhere – including Target, Wal Mart, and Amazon – like these.

I went with a variety of shades of blue and silver as my accent colors. When I receive ornaments as gifts that are either clear glass or silver, I also add these to the main tree that sits in my living room. Because I adore all things vintage and mid-century, I bought blue, glass, or silver ornaments, when priced right, at thrift stores, small boutiques, or antique stores.

When Hobby Lobby starts it 50% off sale on Christmas decor, I also purchase 1-2 boxes of ornaments using them around the house – not just on the tree. This Santa came as a set of three. There is one on the tree and the other two are around the house.

Also purchased in the Hobby Lobby half-off sales – two different types of icicle ornaments in shades of blue.

I spent full price on two sets of glass ornaments in the last few years. But that’s a rarity. I love them though!

When I decorate around the house, I remove much of my day to day decor, placing it in the same boxes as my ornaments. It’s a one for one switch. My shelves {what little space I have for them in this apartment} are all decorated. The small glitter houses I use on the display below, have been added to my collection over the last few years. I have never spent more than a couple of bucks {Wal Mart, Hobby Lobby, or Big Lots} on each piece with the exception of two of them – which are ceramic. Those were purchased at Hobby Lobby on sale and came to about $10.00 for the two.

Most of these are ornaments take up a couple of shelves {top & bottom} with my white ceramic Nativity set {given to me by my mom} in the middle. I highly recommend buying multiple sets of glitter Christmas trees for a village like this, as it adds to the sparkle. They can be used and moved anywhere for new displays. They are sometimes sold in sets, but are often available individually for very little.

Because of my love for vintage decor, any time I was offered ornaments or decorations from my Grandma Light, Mom, or my Aunts, I said, “YES!” That includes my Grandma’s ceramic Christmas tree. I usually display it with some of the colorful ornaments I’ve started buying in recent years that aren’t mid-century – but have that look.

The white tree is a mid-century piece owned by my Grandma Light. It is an appetizer holder {see small holds for toothpicks}. The others are new but fit my vintage Christmas theme in the kitchen.

Finally, I had always wanted a Christmas village, but couldn’t ever imagine paying full price for any items for it. I’m such a cheapskate. And honestly, I wouldn’t want to trade my mismatched one now. I’ve included a special set of items from my Grandma’s collection and then added to it over the last couple of holiday seasons with . . . you guessed it, Dollar Tree, Wal Mart, and Big Lots. Big Lots has some fun sets {for around $16.00} that come as complete scenes. These are fun ways to add to your village or finish one. I used their sets for inspiration {for instance a Christmas tree lot} and made my own. I found the bridge at a flea market. The silver barn is from the Target “Dollar Spot” and has battery operated lights inside.

I have two Christmas trees. But this post is long and my Sunday afternoon responsibilities are calling me. The second tree is all of my childhood ornaments, things my kiddo made me, and eventually will be come a vintage-themed tree. I am ridiculous for fitting two trees into this tiny place, but whatever. I’m fine with being ridiculous.

Additionally, I haven’t shared the other decor I have around the house. But my Nacimiento in the entry way and the small trays or vases used in other rooms – all make me just as happy to see – even in rooms I’m not in as often.

This sits on the side table, next to my couch. The vintage ornaments are sitting in a vintage glass appetizer tray. But DT’s silver trays work great for this purpose too.

Use Pinterest and even those pesky IG influencers, with their perfect houses to inspire you. But don’t feel like you can’t decorate your home in a way that makes you happy, when you can’t afford to keep up with others. Find what you like online to inspire you & then keep your eyes peeled for sales, glittery baubles that look expensive – but aren’t, and go to Dollar Tree {even if you have to find one in another town that’s better than yours}.

Do you have an heirloom pieces or favorite decor that has cost you very little but has become a favorite over the years? I’d love to hear about it!