If you’re like most of us, when you’re planning your holiday budget, you spend a lot of your time thinking about ways to save money on gifts. But if you’re not careful, holiday decorating can also end up costing you a pretty penny. Here are some smart ways to make your house look festive without overspending:
Save green on the tree. Shop on a weeknight—some tree lot owners are more willing to negotiate about prices during the week, when sales are slower. Or go smaller: If you have young children, consider a tabletop tree. They’re just as fun to decorate as full-size ones, and you won’t worry about the little ones knocking down ornaments. A mini tree is also a good solution if you’re traveling during the holidays and won’t be around to enjoy (and water) a full-size tree. If you’re OK about missing the fresh-cut scent, an artificial tree (bought on deep discount after the holidays) is another money-smart option.
Concentrate your décor. You don’t need to wrap your entire house in holiday spirit. Focus on the parts of your house everyone sees—such as your front entry, living room, dining room, and powder room.
Use what you have. A clear bowl filled with holiday ornaments, holiday cards adhered to a long ribbon, and leftover cuttings from your Christmas tree can all be used to festiv-ize your home. Do you save your kids’ “visit to Santa” photos—or other family holiday pics? Collect them in a tabletop album or pop them into inexpensive frames to add holiday spirit to your main rooms. Another idea: Tie bows around solid-colored throw pillows so they look like presents.
Put the kids to work. Kids and teens love to get creative during the holidays. Charge them with making simple decorations like popcorn garlands, colorful paper chains, or cut-paper snowflakes. If you need ideas or inspiration, look for easy DIY projects on sites like Pinterest.com. If your kids are grown, display their sweet holiday school projects from years past.
Light up the night. Line your driveway or sidewalk with handmade luminaries—perfect for a party night. Fill brown paper lunch bags halfway with sand, then add LED candles or real votives in glass holders.