In just a few short weeks, we’re going to enter what retailers call “The Golden Month.” It’s the month that falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when our consumer spending habits can get out of control. We shop, we decorate, and we entertain far more than we do the rest of the year. And as we all know, it adds up.
There are plenty of ways to have fun yet cheap family holidays this year. And one of them revolves around our holiday decorating.
I know how tempting it is to drape your home in rich, holiday greens and reds, to put twinkle lights on anything standing still, to have a dinner table that looks as if it was just featured on the cover of Martha Stewart Living. But over-the-top decorating can get really expensive.
The good news is that there are some easy, frugal ways we can decorate without buying a ton of stuff which usually just ends up being stored 11 months out of the year. And most of the time, we can use stuff we already have lying around both inside and outside of our homes.
1. Use Pictures
You don’t have to frame pictures for them to look cool. In fact, with this decorating idea, a higher quantity will make just as big an impact.
Lightly tape photos to a wall to form a collage, leaving no space in between photos. You can “‘frame” your collage with wrapping paper or festive ribbons.
And don’t be afraid to go big here! One of my friends did this in her home, and she filled up an entire wall in her living room with photos. Many were holiday themed: her kids opening presents, old photos of past holidays when she was a little girl. It was impressive, and it looked awesome. Every guest who came over gravitated to this space immediately because it was so interesting.
It didn’t cost her a dime.
2. Use Fruit
You can creatively use fruit to make some really cool candle holders. I found the following really unique idea on the Care2 site. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I bet it smells amazing when you light the candle!
Orange Clove Twinkler
Knife, whole cloves, beeswax candle, whole orange.
1. Cut the bottom of the orange so it can sit flat.
2. Cut a hole in the center.
3. Scoop out the insides enough to fit a candle.
4. Decorate the rim of hole by pressing cloves into the orange skin.
5. Insert beeswax candle in the center hole.
Variation: Make an artichoke twinkler by cutting out and scooping the center of an artichoke for a candle.
3. Cranberry Garland
Cranberry garland is a wonderful way to make use of this abundant winter berry. It’s a gorgeous red color, and it’s often on sale during the winter holiday season.
Simply buy whole berries and string them up with a needle and thread. You can drape the garland over mirrors, on your holiday tree, snake it around your table…there are endless ideas for using this natural decoration.
4. Make Paper Snowflakes
I make paper snowflakes every year, and I use this simple folding technique from, you guessed it, Martha Stewart.
The reason why I love making paper snowflakes is because they’re fun and easy to make. You can also make some really intricate designs. I’ve made some in years past that were simply stunning and trust me, I’m not a crafty whiz, which means you can easily do the same.
5. Use Those Christmas Balls
If you have boxes and boxes of colorful glass Christmas balls (more than you could ever fit on a single tree), then you can use them in your decorating.
Hang them from the ceiling. Put them in huge vases. Hang them off your porch. Decorate some small pine trees outside. These colorful shiny balls are so festive, and most people have plenty lying around.
6. Go Natural
Pomegranates, pine cones, and pears mixed with ornaments and garland can make a beautiful centerpiece. You can also use extra tree trimmings (which can often get snagged for cheap or even free at Christmas tree farms or lots). I’ve made some of these through the years that turned out awesome.
You can also slice apples and oranges extremely thin and dry them in your oven (on its very lowest setting), or in a dehydrator. When they’re done, string them up to make a beautiful garland.
7. Showcase Your Collection
Do you have a collection of something that’s sitting in boxes in your attic or garage? Well, pull it out! Display it with some festive ribbon or powdered snow to really make it festive.
8. Scent Naturally
Commercial sprays and candles are full of chemicals that we really shouldn’t be breathing in. But, we can naturally scent our home for the holidays for a fraction of the cost.
My favorite way to scent my home for the holidays is to take an apple and stick it full of cloves. Put it in a warm area, like on the back of your stove. It will keep for quite a long time, and as the apple dries out, it will smell really good with the cloves.
Do any of you have some frugal or natural ideas for decorating for the holidays? If so, I’d love to hear them (and would love some new ideas for my own home).
(Photo Credit: lejoe)