It's easy to get carried away decorating your house, apartment, and office space for the holidays. We're here to let you know you can still go all out without seriously injuring your end-of-year budget. When you are out shopping for the holidays, think about these seven ways to save when spending for your seasonal decorating.
1. Have a decoration swap with friends
Instead of spending a ton on new decorations this year, exchange past holiday décor with friends. Decoration swaps are a great way to change up your theme and spend time with friends and family while saving money. Before swapping items, make sure you establish which decorations will be returned and which will be kept.
2. Host a decoration making "potluck" party
Choose some DIY projects from the below tips or find your Internet favorites based on the age and skill level of your guests. Invite friends over to create original holiday masterpieces or simple additions to your home. Make it a potluck-style get-together by asking each guest to bring a few supplies. Making decorations as a group will give you a bigger selection of supplies and ideas, not to mention the added together time—an favorite part of the season.
3. Turn items you already have into simple decorative touches
There’s no need to buy all new items to switch up your holiday decorations. All you have to do is think creatively and use what you already have rather than stick to the same presentation year after year.
- Place hardcover holiday children’s books on end tables and coffee tables
- Use a festive seasonal scarf as a table or mantle runner
- Frame attractive holiday cards and use them as wall art or on tabletops
- Turn branches, pinecones, and acorns into a multi-layered display depending on the size of your table
- Use old books and magazines, or sweaters into tabletop-size mini trees
- Create a centerpiece with ornaments in a pretty glass bowl or vase
- Cover family pictures in wrapping paper to make them look like hanging presents on your tree
- Make your own garland with popcorn, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, or pasta.
4. Turn pretty paper into beautiful ornaments
Who knew paper ornaments could look so classy? Dress your tree this year with DIY ornaments that don’t require complex origami skills. Chances are you have most of the supplies lying around the house already. Get creative and use any paper you can find: construction paper, wrapping paper scraps, old books, magazines, and more.
- Add to the color in your style with a few striped paper ornaments
- This collection of ornament crafts gives lots of fresh ideas for existing items
- Any craft, such as this geodesic paper ball, allows you to accessorize with existing colors and styles
- Even scrap cardboard from the boxes that arrive before the holidays can be transformed into this cardboard igloo
5. Save on your power bill by using LED lights and timers
If you love covering your house in hundreds of strands of lights, you know that leaving them on all night can drastically increase your electric bill. Save money and hassle by using an outdoor timer to turn your lights off automatically at a specified time each night after all the creatures are done stirring.
If you want to keep lights on all night, or want to save even more with a timer, buy LED bulbs. The initial cost is a bit higher, but LED lights use only 10-15% of the energy regular bulbs use, which can save you a bundle. Not to mention the average LED light bulb lasts up to 100,000 hours compared to the standard bulb life of 2,500 hours.
6. Choose everlasting over evergreen when picking a tree
Real Christmas trees have the perks of a great look and piney smell, but they are also notorious for shedding plenty of needles, having sticky, sappy branches, and being quite expensive. The average real tree costs around $80 (depending on the type and size), and that’s an annual cost.
One great way to save money and avoid the mess of a real tree is to buy an artificial one. They typically sell for around $100, but you can reuse them year after year, saving money in the long run. Plus, if you long for that fresh pine smell, you can spray your tree with a pine scented room freshener or light some pine candles (but not too close to the tree).
7. Create unique wreathes out of unconventional, fun materials
Save money by avoiding expensive floral or evergreen wreaths and opting for a more custom DIY option.
- Highlight winter with a white twig wreath
- Paint and use old clothespins for a card and picture wreath
- Save those same cards for next year's recycled card holly wreath
- Traditional light bulb wreath (you were planning to toss those old bulbs anyway)
- Frame your ornaments wreath like a work of art
One more tip: if you do plan to buy new items, buy decorations for next year early to get all the great sales prices. Consider these best times of year to buy decorations if your budget allows.
- After-Christmas sales – save at least 50% on all holiday-related items at the end of December, including LED lights
- Outdoor decorations – the best sales are in early November
- Indoor decorations – buy these in mid-November for the best savings
- Tree trimmings – after Thanksgiving you can find these during Black Friday sales
We hope these ideas inspire your creativity and help you save money by reusing and repurposing our decorations this year!