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How to Decorate for Christmas on a Budget

The holidays are supposed to be filled with joy and love. Not endless amounts of debt and regret. I know what it’s like to want to do all the decorating, but also be limited by money. You can have a beautifully decorated house without all the debt. Follow along for some amazing ideas for Christmas decorating on a budget!

I get it. I want to go all out. Christmas is one of the most festive, colorful, and joyous times of the year.

But – it kinda takes the fun out of it if January rolls around and you realize that you’re in mountains of debt. Especially if your debt is all packed up in boxes in the attic or garage and won’t even be seen again for a year.

Christmas decorating is a very personal thing. Some people are minimalists and some are so over the top they spend weeks on end getting everything just perfect. Neither way is wrong and trust me – there is no judgment here.

If you wanna throw that tree up when the date strikes November 1st, you go right ahead. But there’s no sense in struggling to buy groceries or pay bills when January comes because you spent all your money on new decorations this year.

Get crafty, thrifty, frugal, or whatever you want to call it. It’s possible and it will still look every bit as amazing. Get ready for some great ideas you might love this year for Christmas decorations on a budget.

White ornament that says \"Merry Xmas\"

Christmas Decorations on a Budget

I know how hard it is sometimes to scroll through Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest and see these incredibly decorated rooms and not feel a slight twinge of envy. But then I remember that what I see on those images in no way reflects on me. I don’t know their life or their finances and it’s not my concern.

There’s no shame in being on a budget. Even for Christmas.

Set A Christmas Decoration Budget

This might be the most important part. Decide what you have to spend on decorating for Christmas and stick to it. And if that’s something you forget to include every year in the budget and decorating is a big deal to you, make it a budget item each month.

If December sneaks up on you every year, check out this guide about why you need a Christmas budget in January!

Budget Christmas Decor – DIY Ornaments

DIY Ornaments are one of my favorite ways to decorate for Christmas but still save money. And if you have kids, they love to help with these! You can get inexpensive supplies from virtually any home store. And if you want a sappy DIY ornament memory, don’t miss the end of the post!

Favorite Inexpensive DIY Ornament Supplies

Here are a few of my favorite Budget Friendly DIY Ornaments:

Popsicle Stick Ornaments

These are cheap and so easy. You can use them for ornaments for your tree, stocking ornaments, or even string them together for a garland. We made a few varieties last year and put them on the tree and our stockings. Check out our easy popsicle stick ornaments here!

2 pictures of popsicle stick ornaments

Wood Shim Ornaments

These are another super budget-friendly Christmas decorating idea. You can grab a pack of wood shims at any hardware store for a few bucks and they are the perfect tool for creating a neutral and rustic holiday theme. You can use a marker to paint to dress them up any way you want! See the full details on our DIY Wood Shim Ornaments here.

Close up of DIY wood Christmas ornaments

DIY Ornaments from the Dollar Tree

These are the most adorable ornaments from my friend Leah at Thrifted Nest. Gorgeous, thrifty, and they only require a few supplies from The Dollar Tree (where everything is literally one dollar!). Budget Christmas decorating doesn’t get much thriftier than using $1 supplies! Check out how she did it here!

DIY Christmas ornaments with words

DIY Paper Straw Ornaments

Some people come up with the craftiest ideas like using paper straws for ornaments! This tutorial from Jess of Make and Do Crew is amazing. I love how pretty they are and you can find paper straws in any pattern or color scheme to match your decor. These are definitely on my list for this year!

Cheap DIY Christmas ornament from paper straws

DIY Marbled Ornaments

These DIY Christmas ornaments turned out so pretty and are another that you can customize with any color scheme. Wendy from At Lane and High has two different ways to make them and she’ll tell you why she prefers one over the other. Check out her tutorial here!

Red and silver Christmas ornament

DIY Ribbon Ornaments

These ribbon ornaments from Pamela at DIY Vibes are another option that you can easily match with any theme or color scheme. You can find super inexpensive ribbon and beads at craft stores or hobby stores and affordably fill a tree with these gorgeous handmade ornaments. Check out exactly how she made them here!

Inexpensive ornaments made from ribbons

DIY Felt Ornaments

How cute are these DIY Felt ornaments from Kippi at Home?? These are the perfect budget Christmas decorating project for those of you that have a stash of craft supplies just waiting to get used! Check out her tutorial and patterns here!

Homemade felt Christmas ornaments

Budget-Friendly DIY Christmas Decor

You don’t have to be an expert crafter to make some amazing Christmas decorations on a budget. It just takes a little planning and time and it makes it even more special that it’s something you made yourself. Some of my favorite Christmas memories are the crafts I’ve made with my kids.

We usually try to make one or two things each year and it’s such a fun time to just hang out and each of us makes something. I let them do their thing – I help if they need it but I don’t take it over to make sure it’s just right or perfect.

Mason Jar Snow Globes

These have become super popular as mason jars just exploded into popularity with the farmhouse style trend. Find a junk store or thrift store and snag some jars for cheap and then add fake snow and a few little Christmas props. You can see all the details of several kid-friendly Christmas crafts including our mason jar crafts here.

Homemade Christmas snow globe made from mason jars - an easy craft for kids

DIY Rustic Christmas Tree

This is another budget Christmas decorating idea that uses basic craft supplies. I used wooden dowels, shims, scrap fabric, and popsicle sticks to make this simple little rustic Christmas tree.

DIY Rustic tree from sticks and popsicle sticks

DIY Cone Trees

My daughter loves crafting and these DIY Cone Trees from DIY Vibes will be a perfect project for us this year. They are crazy affordable and 100% customizable for your decorating styles and colors. Check out how easy they are to make here!

DIY Cone trees decorations

DIY Letters to Santa Mailbox

Wait until you see what this incredibly crafty mailbox is made from!! This is a cost-saving decorating idea that the kids will love! See the full tutorial from Houseful of Handmade here.

Letters to Santa mailbox

DIY Winter Centerpiece

This centerpiece from Sustain My Craft Habit is another Christmas or winter decor project that is easy on the budget. You can raid your craft closets or repurpose items from around your house to make one that fits your style. See how it’s made here!

DIY winter centerpiece

DIY Pom Pom Tree

This Pom Pom Tree from Agnes at Just That Perfect Piece is adorable! Another fantastic use for leftover yarn if you have some sitting around. Check out how she made this cutie here!

White pompom tree decoration

Dollar Tree Nutcracker Makeovers

Another Dollar Tree win from Becca over at Hello Central Avenue! Nutcracker decor can get pretty pricey and she transformed these budget finds perfectly! See her tutorial here!

Nutcracker Christmas decoration

Decorate A Tree

Nothing says Christmas like a tree! And it doesn’t have to be crazy fancy, huge, or elaborate. There are no rules that you have to have Christmas decorations on every wall or every room filled to the brim with twinkly lights. Sometimes simple is perfect.

Small trees, tabletop trees, hand-me-down trees, DIY trees – it doesn’t matter. Throw on some lights and inexpensive decor and your room becomes instantly more festive when it has a glowing tree.

Small Christmas tree
Close up of Christmas tree needles
Colorfully decorated Christmas tree
Christmas tree with DIY ornaments

Make Your Own Christmas Wreath

Christmas wreaths can get expensive if you’re buying new. A good way to save money on Christmas decorating is to make your own wreaths. You can use a variety of inexpensive supplies and then the possibilities are endless.

DIY Sweater Wreath

Another money-saving idea from Leah at Thrifted Nest is this beautiful sweater wreath. This is the perfect use for those old sweaters that are just taking up space in your closet. Go all Marie Kondo on them and use them for something to spark joy!

Homemade white wreath

DIY Hoop Wreaths

Or these DIY wreaths using hoops from the talented Colleen over at Lemon Thistle. Aren’t these gorgeous?? You can use any variety of greenery or floral stems. OnIfou don’t get a real tree, one good tip is to visit a tree farm and ask for some scraps.

DIY wreaths from lemon thistle

Buffalo Plaid Wreath

This buffalo plaid wreath from Carrie at Lovely, Etc is one of my faves. It’s simple and beautiful and she shows you how she makes them so she can easily switch them up with different decorations.

DIY Buffalo plaid wreath

DIY Neutral Christmas Wreath

This one from Southern Yankee DIY really speaks to my neutral and rustic loving heart! The sign in the middle is the perfect touch for this wreath. See her full instructions here.

Homemade wreath from grapevine and faux flowers

DIY Rustic Wreath

This rustic wreath from Rebecca at Zucchini Sisters is the epitome of budget Christmas decorating. She uses a scrap frame and all the trimmings from the yard. It’s a gorgeous and natural element that will compliment any rustic decor scheme.

Homemade rustic wreath with pinecones and bird nests

Shop Your House

One of the easiest ways to be successful at Christmas decorating on a budget is to shop your own house. You likely have more than you think. Change things up. If you always put the same things in the same exact places each year, switch it around a bit.

Sometimes just varying your arrangements make it all look new to you again. I changed up our dining room table last year and pulled out some hand me down glasses from my mother in law. They were a set of Christmas glasses she no longer wanted and they looked perfect! I added a few Target dollar spot finds and used everything else that was already in my house.

Dining room decorated for Christmas

Pull out a random collection of vases and throw some greenery in them to add to your mantel. Hang ornaments you already own from your chandelier. Hang mini wreaths made from greenery scraps on the backs of your chairs.

Once you commit to decorating for Christmas on a budget, you’ll be amazed at what you can DIY from materials you already own. Or if you aren’t into DIY, simply changing the location of your old faithful decor makes a difference.

Keep It Simple for the Holidays

You don’t have to use every wall and room for Christmas decorations. Pick one space and deck those four walls. If you spend most of the time in your living room or family room, choose that one so you get to enjoy it the most during this special time of year.

Or if decorating stresses you out to no end every year, then stop. Simplify and focus on what’s truly important. I skipped several things I normally do last year and I didn’t miss it one bit. It was too stressful for me at that time to get everything out and put up so I just didn’t. Lots of things stayed packed in boxes.

If you’re too exhausted to even enjoy the holidays because you’re killing yourself decorating, it’s ok to scale it back. Now again – I’m not passing judgment on those that go all out. If you love it and it brings you joy, then there is nothing wrong with that side of the coin either.

And I promised a sappy Christmas budget decorating tidbit, so here you go!

When I was growing up, we were pretty broke. Very broke actually for many years. My mom made ornaments using tin foil wrapped around styrofoam and hung them up with red yarn. Those ornaments stayed on our tree for as long as I can remember. Seriously. Foil, styrofoam (probably from a meat tray she washed) and yarn.

For years as a little kid, I was envious of my friends perfectly decorated and themed trees. I wondered why we had the same old tiny tree and ornaments that were clearly handmade and free. Now that I’m a mom, I totally get it. She didn’t have any money to spend on decorations. None. There were no lines of credit to be used freely. She couldn’t run out to the Dollar Tree or Target and buy new stuff.

But she wasn’t going to let us go without a tree and decorations. And so she made the prettiest and shiniest ornaments she could and I wish I could’ve appreciated it more as a kid. So thanks Mom if you’re reading this! I get it now. And I’m sorry it took me way too many years to “get it”.

My mom was the perfect example of Christmas decorating on a budget. She did what she could and made it pretty for us in any way she could.

So there you have it – there are so many ways that you can still have budget-friendly decorations for Christmas. I hope you’ve found something to inspire you to create, repurpose, simplify, or reuse.

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Image with text: How to decorate for Christmas on a budget

Amelia Jackson

Friday 2nd of December 2022

The DIY hoop wreaths have my heart! Our holiday decor budget is a bit slimmer this year since we just got our floors resurfaced. I've been looking for cheap, DIY projects to still create a Christmas-y environment, and I hit the jackpot with your post! Thanks!

create and find

Sunday 4th of December 2022

That's awesome! I'd love to see what you create!


Friday 8th of November 2019

I'm definitely making some of these--such cute ideas in one spot! Pinned!

create and find

Friday 8th of November 2019

Thanks Pamela - Happy to include your great ideas in this post!


Friday 8th of November 2019

Great post Melissa! I can't ever get enough budget decor. Thanks for including my Rustic Wreath, too :) Pinned!

create and find

Friday 8th of November 2019

Thank you Rebecca - It's making me want to spend all weekend making these great projects!


Friday 8th of November 2019

This is a great resource I will be pinning and sharing. It can get super expensive at Christmas and I am always looks for budget friendly ways to save money at Christmas too. Merry Christmas, Kippi Ps. Please share on my site at You're The Star blog hop

create and find

Friday 8th of November 2019

Thanks so much Kippi! I can't believe it's even time to start thinking about budget Christmas decor but it's never too early to plan! Merry Christmas to you also and I can't wait to see all of your creations this season!