Christmas is a joyful–and beautiful–time of year. I enjoy sharing my love of the season by decorating my home both inside and out.
This year Walmart offered me a $50 gift card to show how to shop for Christmas decorations on a budget. It was actually sort of a difficult challenge for me to wrap my head around-you see, I already have 15 boxes of Christmas decorations down in the basement! Did I mention I really love decorating for Christmas???
The long and short of it is this-you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a beautiful Christmas. You just need to adjust your thinking a bit. Never fear-being frugal me, I have a few tricks up my sleeve.
Here is my philosophy on how to decorate for Christmas on a budget. Then I’ll tell you how I used the $50 giftcard . . .
1. Use a consistent color scheme.
In the Frugal Upstate home we use traditional colors. Dark green, burgandy, red, silver and gold are the mainstays. I like using the traditional color scheme because it always looks “right” for Christmas and is always available in the stores.
By using a set color scheme I can mix and match various items from year to year, move them from place to place as we’ve switched houses and changed our decorating ideas, and be confident they will all “go” together.
For example the small balls hanging on the branch were decorations on my original “I’m a single gal” Christmas tree. The big “shatterproof” bulbs in the scale I bought a few years back at Walmart-some of them are hanging on the porch, the “leftovers” went here.
The candlesticks are year round decorations, but the vase is filled with additional “single gal” ornaments that no longer make it on the tree. The basket was part of a gift one year-I’ve filled it with some odds and ends of garland.
The front door wreath started it’s life being used inside.
Another benefit of having a color scheme is it makes it easier to fit any new purchases into your home –I don’t even bother buying that fun hot pink and orange mirrored tree because it doesn’t match anything!
2. Buy at little at a time.
Going all out and buying an entire house worth of decorations all at once is NOT the frugal option! I’ve found the best plan over the years is to slowly add to my stash.
For example-when we moved to our current house with it’s lovely wrap around porch, my big investment for the first year was garland to drape on the railing. The nice, big fluffy garland is expensive, so the first year I got just enough to reach across the front, plus some inexpensive bows. The second year I purchased additional garland so it would wrap all the way around the side.
Then the third year I bought the shatterproof red Christmas ornaments to hang from the porch eves.
3. Have a plan.
Shopping for Christmas decorations can be like grocery shopping-if you head into the store without a list you will come out with all kinds of crazy things that looked good at the time but don’t go with anything you have in the cupboard!
My plan for the front porch has been unfolding for several years now, as I outlined above. . . but I am not done. I have always wanted to have wreaths and candles in every window. I am continuing to plan for and purchase the items to make that a reality.
Another benefit of having a plan–when they mark down items “post Christmas” you can snatch them up for a song-because you know what you are looking for!
Now it’s time for me to share what I did with my $50 giftcard. At 11 years of marriage, Yankee Bill and I have purchased most of the items we want for our holiday decorating and only add a replacement string of lights or small item here and there on the interior of the house.
We’ve got more ornaments than we know what to do with for the two 7′ trees that we decorate. (The second one isn’t actually decorated yet for photos-it’s hubs “Harley” tree. You’d be surprised how many motorcycle ornaments there are out there!)
We’ve got an entire area set up to celebrate Advent, and an advent wreath that the kids helped decorate on the table.
We’ve got a fully decorated mantle and swags that we put over the bookshelves in the living room.
So what DID I buy with the $50?
Well, I went back to my plan! Remember how I said I wanted wreaths for the windows? I headed off to my local Walmart’s Christmas section and purchased plain wreaths (5 for $4 ea), red velveteen bows (5 for $1 ea), 30 ft rolls of 2.25 inch red velvet ribbon (2 for $3 ea) a string of battery operated red LED lights ($6, I think) and a pack of C batteries (for the LED lights). I had some money left over so I bough extra ornament hooks and a couple strands of white lights (which was lucky as we had a few strings burn out).
Don’t the wreaths in the upstairs windows look great? I feel like I’m living in a postcard! I’m hoping to add a few each year till all the windows on both sides of the house have them.
Adding the battery operated LED lights to the front porch wreath is such a lovely extra touch! I’ve never been able to light things on the front porch easily since there isn’t an outlet out there. Battery powered ROCKS.
But what about if I were starting from scratch?
I’d still say that you could have a lovely home for $50. Assuming you already had a tree, you can buy a big color coordinated set of unbreakable ornaments at Walmart, along with strings of lights and tinsel, a wreath for your front door and some other small decorations for WELL under $50!
So now I’d like you to share your knowledge with me-what do YOU do to save money on Christmas decorations?
Disclosure: This post is part of a campaign I am participating in with the Walmart Moms. Walmart has provided me with compensation for this post. My participation is voluntary and opinions, as always are my own.