16 Ideas and Tips for Budget Christmas Decor

If you’re looking for some cool ideas for budget Christmas decor, you’re in luck. Read on to learn how to deck your halls without breaking the bank. 

It seems that right after Halloween, the aisles of stores are flooded with Christmas decorations (sorry, Thanksgiving). It’s tempting to envision those adorable glass trees on your mantel or giant, inflatable reindeer in the front yard. But if you’re on a budget, brand-new decorations can often be one of the first things on the chopping block. Don’t worry–decorations themselves don’t have to get the boot!

Here are some of our best tips for budget Christmas decor:

1. Re-purpose What You Already Have.

Sometimes, a little spruce-up is all you need. Whether it’s a fresh coat of paint, a can of spray snow, or a brand-new ribbon, old things can be made new with attention to detail. 

budget christmas decor

2. Wait for After-Christmas Sales.

We know. You want to use the decor THIS year. But if it’s an item you really love, you’ll likely still love it next year. Wait for those after-Christmas discounts! If you absolutely need something new this year, do some comparison shopping and look for coupons.

3. Use Natural Materials.

This is my favorite tip because it costs very little and brings a homey, warm touch to any room. We like to use magnolia, holly, or pine branches to spruce up empty spaces around the house. We also like to skip the pricey candles and make our own stovetop mulling spices with water, orange peel, vanilla, star anise, and cinnamon! DIY Christmas decorations aren’t just cheaper; they’re better for the environment, too.

Salt dough ornaments and dried orange slices by @vibrantchild_

4. Check Out the Thrift Stores.

So many people donate their Christmas decorations as they’re pulling boxes from the attic and making room for new things. You’d be surprised at some of the great seasonal items you can snag at second-hand stores. Almost all of my Christmas decor is thrifted. It’s especially great if you appreciate vintage items. Some of my favorite finds include train garden houses, Christmas tree skirts, stockings, and adorable seasonal knick-knacks for the mantle. 

5. Hit up the Dollar Tree.

One of the best ways to save money is shopping at Dollar Tree. While the products aren’t necessarily built to last, do they really need to if you only use them for one month of the year? Dollar Tree also has a wide range of styles in their seasonal decor–whether it’s modern, rustic, or tacky, there’s something for everyone. 

Ideas for Budget Christmas Decor

Now that you have some general tips for frugally navigating the season let’s look at some specific ideas for budget Christmas decor.

6. Bring Back the Classic Paper Snowflakes.

Listen, these aren’t just kids’ crafts. Just ask Buddy the Elf. Look up a beautiful and intricate design on Pinterest and make it a fun family craft project. Whether you go for a square or hexagonal structure, there’s no shortage of ideas out there.

budget christmas decor snowflakes

7. Wrap Prop Presents.

One of the best ways to fill up empty spaces is with prop presents. You don’t even have to buy gift boxes–just wrap any spare amazon boxes or any extra boxes you have lying around. Just make sure the younger kids know they’re fake–that way, they won’t be disappointed on Christmas morning.

budget christmas decor

8. Upcycle Jam Jars/ Oui Yogurt Containers into Votives.

If your family eats Oui (Yoplait) yogurt in those adorable little glass jars, you know how hard it is to toss them when you’re done. I like to clean mine out and use them as propagation jars! You can use some paint on the outside or just leave them clear! Add some tea lights or LED faux tea lights, and you have low-cost, dreamy Christmas decor!

9. Wrap Your Front Door to Look Like a Present.

You don’t need a big front yard display to make a statement. Even something as simple as sprucing up the front door can make a big difference. One of the simplest ideas is to wrap your front door to look like a Christmas present. All you need is an extra-long roll of paper and a big bow!

10. Use Embroidery Hoops or Wreath Rings. 

These crafting tools are great for more than just embroidery–they also make great decor! However, if you don’t already have one, they’re not exactly the cheapest option. A 6-inch hoop will cost you about 6 or 7 dollars. But you can get three floral garden brass wreath rings at Dollar Tree for $1.25, and they work just as well. You can add dried flowers, pine branches, pinecones leaves, or anything you’d like that matches your style!

11. Make an Alternative Advent Calendar. 

It may be tempting to buy a new Advent calendar every year. This isn’t one of those years. One of my favorite creative ideas for an advent calendar is made with–here me out–toilet paper rolls. Those little tubes can easily hold small toys, wrapped candies, or money. Just fold one end, slide the treat in, fold up the other end, and arrange the tubes however you’d like! If you’re not into the tube idea, there are plenty of different budget ways to have an Advent calendar decoration without spending tons. Even something as simple as little burlap bags hung on a string with painted numbers is simple, classy, and timeless.

12. Adorn the Chandelier With Ornaments

If your formal dining room needs just a little *something*, but you can’t figure out what it is, try stringing some extra ornaments from your chandelier. You can even use clear fishing line to make it appear like they’re effortlessly suspended in mid-air.

budget christmas decor

13. Make an Ornament Bowl Centerpiece. 

One of my favorite ways to use up extra ornaments is so simple. Just grab an empty glass bowl (the Dollar Tree even has these), and fill them with all your leftover ornaments. We like to use just the round ornaments so they look cohesive.

budget christmas decor ornaments

14. Use Spare Fabric as a Tree Skirt. 

If you’re unable to use last year’s tree skirt for some reason, here’s a little secret. You don’t have to use an actual tree skirt. Even the cheaper ones can cost up to 40 or 50 dollars. That feels like a lot for a piece of round fabric. I thrifted a beautiful piece of gold fabric this year for $3. I scrunched it up and around my tree. It doesn’t have to be perfect, especially if one side faces the wall. Even if you’re not on a budget, this is a great way to have fun with different color schemes or themes without spending a fortune.

budget christmas decor
My DIY gold tree skirt

15. Use Pinecones as Mini Trees or on a Wreath. 

If you have pine trees in your neighborhood, you’ve probably seen all the pinecones lying around. Not only are they free, but they’re also the perfect shape for a DIY Christmas tree craft. You can leave them brown or paint them green to look like trees! You can add little stars on top, frosty white tips, glitter on the edges, or even dots of colored paint to look like Christmas lights. There’s no wrong way to use pinecones in your budget-friendly Christmas decor. We like to line ours up on the mantle–but you can use them anywhere!

16. Make Homemade Ornaments. 

Never fear if your ornaments are a little run-down this year and there’s no room in the budget for new ones. You can make your own ornaments with flour, water, and table salt! I did this in 2020, a point in my life when I had no budget for ornaments nor anywhere to store them. We made adorable salt dough ornaments with my grandmother’s old cookie cutters, painted a few, and hung them on the tree. At the end of the season, we just used the ornaments for compost. Now, it’s a tradition, and we get to make new ones together every year!

Stick to Budget Christmas Decor and Spend on What’s Really Important

Christmas doesn’t have to be one big spending fest. While decorations are sparkly, festive, and fun, they’re not really what the season is about. Even if you find some inexpensive Christmas decorating ideas, focus on what’s important. Share memories, play games, watch movies, or sing some carols. Look at neighborhood lights, build a gingerbread house, or bake cookies. There’s plenty more to the season than just the festive decor. Share some of your favorite ways to stay on a budget during the Christmas season and tag us @getfamilyapp on Instagram!

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