five things | budget decorating for Christmas

by | Nov 1, 2020 | All Things Home, Decorating, Holiday, Winter | 21 comments

I don’t know about you, but I am very excited about decorating for Christmas this year!  I think it’s, in large part, due to the fact that I wasn’t able to fully decorate for Christmas last year due to my healing shoulder.  Everything was harder and took twice as long, so I did a lot less.  I think I can also attribute the anticipation to the fact that we’ve done so many home projects this year and I’m looking forward to seeing my “new rooms” decked out for the holidays.  I know, for some people, it’s completely annoying to even mention Christmas before Thanksgiving, but the stores are already filling the shelves with their Christmas decor and the holiday magazines are already on the stands.  It’s just time to start thinking about it and planning for it (but I assure you all of these photos are from past Christmases. ) In this post, I want to offer up a few budget-friendly Christmas decorating ideas…

Christmas budget decorating idea no. 1 | use what you have

This is the absolute, number one, no doubt, best way to save money when decorating for Christmas this year.  Just use what you have!   That doesn’t mean you have to use your old Christmas decorations in the same way you have in the past.  Try setting up the tree in a different spot or limit the ornaments you use to a specific theme or color palette.  Just using what you have differently will make everything feel fresh and new without spending a penny.

Christmas budget decorating idea no. 2 | forage

I recognize that some locations are going to offer more options for foraging than others, but that can be a part of the challenge and what makes your holiday decorating unique.  Forage branches, greenery, pinecones, seedpods, feathers, and anything else that captures your attention.  The process of foraging gets you outside and looking for the beauty in nature that speaks to you and then encourages you to be creative.

I like beefing up store-bought, artificial greens with foraged live branches and pine cones.  They add more color and texture and make something run-of-the-mill a little bit more custom and special.


Christmas budget decorating idea no. 3 | use inexpensive materials

I love using inexpensive, humble materials to make beautiful decorations.  In fact, when I used to sell out of a retail space, almost all of the ornaments and decorations I sold were handmade with paper, yarn, glitter, and twine.  I still use many of those decorations today from yarn pom-pom “snowballs” to glittered chipboard letters and milk-painted painted papier-mache ornaments.

They are fun to make with friends, as a family project, or just as a calming project to soothe stress.  And they make great gifts, too.  I enjoy pulling them out each year and appreciate the various stages of crafting I have gone through over the years!


Christmas budget decorating idea no. 4 | make your own “new” decorations

Making new gingerbread ornaments and little houses each year has become a favorite holiday tradition for me.  While I use the same patterns and cutters year after year, they are always a little different.  HERE is a tutorial on how I make gingerbread.

I have most of the ingredients on hand, but even if I do have to buy a few ingredients, this decorating idea costs only a few dollars.  

Christmas budget decorating idea no. 5 | use things that aren’t Christmas decor

I feel like it’s a bonus when I find a way to use an everyday item to decorate for the holidays.  The piece can be used year-round but can find a new purpose when decking the house for Christmas.  An ironstone ring mold can become an advent wreath…

…mittens can become a cozy, textural addition to a holiday vignette.

Use platters, plates, bowls, and glass jars to hold a bundle of lights, mini pinecones, ornaments, and fresh branches,  Wrap bows around tins, baskets, and wood boxes.  Plop a Christmas tree in a crock, basket, crate, bucket, or an antique goat cart!  Everything should be fair game when you’re decorating for Christmas!

Above all, I think the key to a budget-friendly Christmas is contentment.  Most of us already have so much that even our lean Christmases would be a bounty for many families across the globe.  When we are thankful for what we have and focus on contentment, we just don’t need to spend a lot of money to make Christmas special.

I am going to focus on those things as we head into the holiday season…

For more budget-friendly Christmas decorating ideas, please visit the blogs of a few of my talented friends…


Ella Claire & Co. | Miss Mustard Seed | French Country Cottage | Zevy Joy

Dear Lillie Studio | Craftberry Bush | City Farmhouse


  1. Beth A. Christoff

    Foraging… yes! This is the woman who stopped the minivan full of children in the Wal-Mart parking lot to gather pine cones. I’m also blessed with many neighbors evergreen trees! Also… your advent “wreath” idea is ingenious. Now why didn’t I think of that?! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas. God Bless.

  2. Erika

    I love this list because these are all things that I like to do each year, changing up my holiday decorating with fresh greenery, baking and handmade things from my Christmas boxes or my own imagination. I will usually add one or two new pieces each year to work from -last year it was a beautiful pine needle garland. I take out my green and red Transferware and mix it with my ironstone, pine cones, greenery and tiny white lights, along with a few antique Christmas books or mercury glass ornaments, all things I’ve collected slowly over the years. I’m looking forward to the season and hoping for better days ahead.

    • Jen C

      Thank you for your wonderful tips on decorating for Christmas. I’m definitely going to try some different things with what I have this year. Your home looks beautiful.

  3. Connie

    I grow few in backyard just to use at Christmas. It is a soft needle and lasts so well.

    I am looking forward to decorating this year too!

  4. Victoria

    I normally rant at people/shops starting Christmas before Halloween or Thanksgiving (I’m not even American!) but this year I’m ok with it. I’ve been reading old Christmas magazine issues this week and I think it’s because I need something shiny to look forward to.

    I have different colour sets of decorations and mix and match each year so I don’t get bored of them. Means I rarely buy new stuff. I do the same with cushions and throws. I think I’ll go with red and white this year, probably for the same reason as thinking about Christmas so early, wanting something traditional and comforting..

  5. beverlee b lyons

    Everything is so beautiful, and some I remember and still love. I made that pom pom wreath years ago, still a favorite. And, I still use the ruffled tree skirt, even tho all those bucket things are all the thing now.
    Thank you for it all ….your ideas are always so doable and so much what a lot of us love.

  6. Sandi

    I love your idea of putting a tree in the vintage cart or a wagon. I will definitely be foraging this year!

  7. Teddee Grace

    Isn’t that the truth! I grew up poor on a small farm in northwestern Missouri and when I look back and recall what we made do with…and did without…,my bounty today is astounding even though I’m living on Social Security and do most of my shopping at thrift stores. What people donate today would have been considered too fine to give up back in the 50s. With Thanksgiving around the corner, we should all consider our blessings!


    You are such a blessing to all of us, Marian! You always give us so many great ideas for every season.

    I have always enjoyed seeing your Christmas tree in the goat cart! This is so unique! I would love to be able to find a goat cart and put our Christmas tree in it!

    Our Canadian Thanksgiving is over so I have started to do some decorating for Christmas. I know its early but with all the uncertainty we have all been going through this year, I am really looking forward to doing my decorating. Christmas is my very favorite time of the year!

    Last year, I went through my Christmas stuff and gave lots away to family and friends who were happy to use the items in their home. It makes your heart feel so good to know that others are enjoying their things like I did!

    I’m for budget-friendly decorating and it is amazing what we can find in our homes which can be repurposed at Christmas.

    Have a blessed week! Thanks, again, for all your wonderful posts!

  9. JC

    So beautiful and festive. I love mixing fresh with the faux greens. I have made the pom pom snowballs in the past….fun and fast to make. I think I want to decorate early this year!

  10. Monique Denoncin

    Oh Christmas yes, not even thought about it and will not until the last days before December 25 when I will go to the basement to forage into boxes of stuff. Many items that we have had for ever and some free finds, such as a large box from the Container Store that someone left with the garbage on the sidewalk, it was full of good glass ornaments! Many glass balls of different sizes and more. I will just decide which color will suit 2020.
    Thanksgiving will be a sad day, we usually go one block away to friends for a fantastic potluck like extravagant meal with creative NY type people. Then the tables move against the wall and we dance on sixties, seventies music, what a blast! Not this year.
    Imagination and reusing what we already have at home is what we should do this sad terrible year when millions of people suffer and may not have a dime to spend for Christmas.

  11. Margarita W.

    I have quite a few Christmas decorations in different themes from over the years so no need to buy any I even saved my bleached pine cones from last year which I love. I wait until after Thanksgiving before decorating for Christmas and this year it will be very toned down from past years but we all have the time now to make some of those unique handmade gifts since we are spending more time at home so it”s a good time to start thinking about it starting with those wonderful pom poms!

  12. Jennifer Anderson

    I always enjoy your creative Christmas decor. I especially like using pinecones. I think they are so pretty. I actually keep some out all winter – which is LONG here in MN. Thanks for these tips!

  13. Mary

    ALL lovely ideas ❣️ I remember so many of them from your blog over the years …. so fun to revisit 🙂

  14. Rita

    I had downsized my decorations and budget years ago with no regrets. Now things are simple and less stressful. Here’s my tip: check your big box stores that sell live trees for the discarded trimmings. I have claimed branches to stick in pots and tuck in little corners here and there. Jack pot every time.

  15. Martha

    Such a great post.. CONTENTMENT! That’s the word for the season. To not cave to “ blogging perfection “ is very hard for me. You all inspire us so much we can’t help but try to recreate. I love and appreciate this post more than you will ever know. Just as a reminder this year that many are struggling and can’t find the money to buy new but…We all can find beauty in the simplicity of nature can’t we? Keeping our decorations simple and more in line with that nature is PERFECT!! Thank you!

  16. celestial

    I love seeing my mittens posted again. Thank you, MMS. You have made my month better.

    • Marian Parsons

      They are absolutely beautiful and worthy of being decor! 🙂

  17. Miche Ortega

    All beautiful ideas. Thank you for all of your wonderful inspiration.

  18. Patti

    Please accept my virtual big hug. My soul needs a little Christmas now right this very minute to just lay down in.
    . . . Would you share the name of your exquisite white china plates with blue flowers?
    You help make the world kinder and balanced. Thank you.



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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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