Frugal Christmas Decorating
By Nikki Willhite
We like our homes to look festive at Christmas, yet it can be
costly to decorate them. It can also be hard to compete with the three foot
moving carolers or the full-size reindeers and giant Santas. Sometimes
I wonder where people store these things the rest of the year.
We have to be creative to keep costs down and within
our budgets. As I look at the ornately decorated homes on television
this year, what strikes me is how every square foot of their homes seems
to be decorated in some way.
This is not necessary. We do not need to be that ornate. A
few well-chosen decorations will set the mood. We do not need this
overly ornate and lavish type of display in our homes to set the
Christmas mood. Personally, I like to contain the decorations to a few
rooms or I tire of them very quickly.
are some ideas for decorating your home. Some will be more economical
than others. One or two of them, strategically placed in your home, is
all you need.
*Use the resources you have. Colorful, fun displays can be
made of groupings of dolls, teddy bears, trains, wagons, and other toys
or stuffed animals. If you have larger stuffed animals, decorate them in
scarves, hats and other winter clothing. To make them look cute and
festive, add human touches.
A teddy bear could be holding a piece of food or a
Christmas book. You could even wrap a small box like a present and let
him hold that. The more human and festive he looks, the cuter it will
be. I like to put at least one good size doll and teddy bear under the
tree. If you have them, little red wagons, and train sets look wonderful
under the tree.
*If you have a good window for this, hang a dozen or so
small toys in the window- each on it's own string (yarn, floss, thread,
*Spray on window snow doesn't cost much and is a nice
touch. Take the time to plan a design. Cut out stencils before you
spray. As an alternative, cut snowflakes out of white paper and put them
on your windows.
*Stockings always look good, no matter how simple. Try and
display them prominently.
*Wreaths exude warmth. I've made them through the years in
everything from just yarn to flowers. Look for inexpensive wreaths at
Goodwill type stores. You can add your own touches to them to make them
*Use pinecones around your displays. Leave them plain, or
spray the ends white or glue cotton on them.
*When you make a display, remember to vary the height to
make it interesting. Candles give height and always look good. Use
ribbon to add texture and interest. It is better to have one nice
display than several which look sparse
One idea to add drama at night to a display is to use
lights. Cut out a Christmas shape or use a picture, and then light it
from behind. You can do this indoors in a dark corner, or on a larger
scale outside. Cut a Christmas shape out of plywood, and then light it
*Make good use of any resources outside your home. If you
live in an area with evergreen trees, bring some of the greenery inside.
*Use your saved Christmas cards! There are so many things
you can do with them. Here are some ideas:
Display them standing up Display them hanging from strings
Display under glass on tables Cut out pieces and place on bulletin
boards Cut out pieces, attach a magnet, and put on your refrigerator
Make a collage.
(Also, remember you can make presents tags, postcards, and
tree ornaments out of Christmas Cards).
*If you leave your computer on, and it is in one of the
main living areas, download one of the many free screen savers with a
*If you want to use lights, remember you don't have to
light up your whole house. Again, one small area that is very nicely
done is better than trying to do the whole house and having it look
One idea is to take a piece of wire (if you don't have any
wire you may be able to use a hanger), and bend it to a Christmas shape,
like a tree, star, or bell. Then run your lights along the shape of the
wire. Hang this on the wall next to the entrance of your home. It's a
big effect for a small expense.
*Red and Green accents around your home help set the mood.
If you have fabric in these colors, drape it over tables or as part of
your displays. You can also use colored paper. If you have a piano, cut
a sheet a little larger than your music, and set it behind an open piece
of sheet music on your piano. Use it on bulletin boards and for
bookmarks in the reading pieces you have lying around.
*Remember to set the mood with music. If you have a wreath
on the door, attach a bell. That really adds to the holiday mood. You
could also make up some tingling bells and hang them from the doorknob.
*Poinsettias are lovely. I don't buy them, but often find
that people give them to me. I do have a silk one that I bought many
years ago. I take it out each year, and it looks as good as new.
*And finally, remember the importance of building
traditions for your family. You can do this with your decorations also,
whether it's for tree ornaments or house decorations. One tradition we
have is to buy a new candle each year shaped in a fun Christmas theme-
like a snowman or reindeer. It's fun to watch your collection grow, and
then keep an eye out to add to it each year.