Helpful Tips for Decorating Your Home for the Holidays
What is your biggest decoration for the holidays?
The holidays are all about music and cookies, snow and fun crafts, and the wonderful feeling that comes over everyone around this time of year. So what would the holidays be without decorations?! I don't know about you, but we like to start decorating for Christmas right after finishing our Thanksgiving turkey. There are no rules that say you have to have the expensive decorations, have to have a wreath on your door, or even a Christmas welcome mat. There aren't even any rules about having to have Christmas lights on the outside of your home.
All of these items are definitely fun, and extremely beautiful, but there's no reason you can't have the same incredible look for your home for a lot less money! I wrote this article this year to hopefully give families some great ideas for budget-friendly decorating ideas for the holidays. Personally, we don't spend any extra money on decorations this time of year. Of course, every so often we get something nice to add to our holiday decoration collection as a gift from a friend, and that's always great. But we still have all of the same decorations that we've been using for at least the last 10 years. In fact, my small Christmas trees (the ones we use on each side of our fireplace) were being thrown out by a neighbor about ten years ago before we moved to Arizona, and they offered them to us before officially committing them to the trash.
I'm so glad they did! The next home we moved into didn't have a place for a big Christmas tree and they fit in perfectly. For eight years those were our Christmas tress. We are now coming up on our first Christmas in our new home in Colorado, and it turns out that we can get a tree this year, so we're going to go cut a fresh one ourselves. Yea! I can't wait. However, that will still be the only new thing we purchase for Christmas this year. All of our old ornaments are going to look great on the fresh tree. And I finally get to use a tree skirt again! Sorry. Back to the topic at hand.
Let's look at some great ways that you can decorate your own home for the holidays without breaking the bank in the process.
Decorate a Christmas Tree
Some people like to go all out and get a real tree like we will this year. Going to a Christmas tree farm to pick out a tree can be a great holiday tradition for your family, but real trees require a little personal care to stay alive and beautiful for Christmas morning.
Many families purchase a fake tree, which can look just as beautiful as a real one, and they just pull it down from the attic, or up from the basement, along with all of their decorations, and put it together every year. Unfortunately, we didn't have room in our old house for a big Christmas tree, so we got rid of our fake one and instead put together two small trees, one on each side of our fireplace.
They are just as beautiful, a lot less messy, and as super easy to take out and decorate every year. All you really need besides a tree, to make a Christmas tree beautiful is a few decorations. Consider some beautiful ornaments and some streamers or ribbon.
If you don't have a great deal of money to buy Christmas tree decorations, check out my article on Fun Christmas Crafts to Do With Your Kids for some cheap and easy ornaments your kids can create, and consider a popcorn streamer made with simple thread, a needle, and a bag of popcorn.
This can be fun for your whole family!
Decorate Your Mantle
About half of homes in the United States have fireplaces, and only about half of those have mantles over their fireplaces. For those of you with a mantle, this is the perfect place to add beautiful Christmas decorations, as I doubt you use this as a functional counter on a daily basis.
Many of us simply keep our televisions, speakers, and Wii items there, and many more families keep pictures of their families on the mantle. Decorating it can be as simple as draping some greenery and adding a Christmas ornament or two. But feel free to go all out if you have additional items like reindeer figurines, snowmen, or Santa Clause dolls, miniature Christmas trees, or anything else Christmasy to put there.
If you have a fireplace but no mantle, there's no reason that you can't decorate at the base of your fireplace with beautiful dolls, small Christmas trees like in our home, gifts, greenery, or other holiday items. However, if you are one of those homes without a fireplace or a mantle, I know we didn't have one when we lived in Texas, you can still decorate end tables, the top of your entertainment center, a kitchen bar, or even any bookshelves the same way.
The trick is just making your home feel and look a little differently for the holidays.
Make Your Own Centerpieces
So you don't have your own fancy Christmas decorations like you see in the stores. Not a problem! Most people don't have those kinds of decorations and instead choose to make their own.
In my article Fun Christmas Crafts to Do With Your Kids, I explain how to make beautiful Christmas ornaments, snow globes, stained glass stars, beautiful tree centerpieces, the cutest carolers, and even more from materials you can find around the house. You can even find materials for gorgeous decorations in your own back yard, or on a quick nature hike.
We use branches from the big tree in our back yard for beautiful arrangements in vases with weeds from around the area, we also wind them through our dining room chandelier for a more holiday kind of feel. Pinecones are perfect for a holiday feel, especially if you adorn them with glitter and hang them on your tree or use them on book cases.
Beautiful red leaves from falling trees around our house also make for spectacular decorations for Christmas in our home. I have found that homemade decorations mean so much more because you either made them yourself, or they are beautiful memories from your children. And they end up being much more valuable!
Do Something Different For Your Door
Everyone hangs a Christmas wreath on their front door, why not hang a uniquely decorated broom, swag, or garland on your door instead? There are so many beautiful leaves falling off of the trees leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas that you could gather them before they turn brown and preserve them.
There are always berries, pinecones, branches, and green pointy leaves on holly bushes if you have them in your area. You may even have some spare Christmas ornaments or greenery inside your house. All of these are great for decorating your door for Christmas!
I even have a spare single set of white lights that I line the door frame with each year. This really lights up any decoration I choose to use in our doorway during the holidays. Have fun with it! You can even do something different every year to spice things up!
And if you really want a great Christmas wreath for your door, there's no reason that you can't also pull one of these together yourself using all of the same decorations we just discussed. I'll be posting some tutorials soon.
Make Your Own Decorations
Just like we talked about making your own table centerpieces for your holiday dinner, feel free to make your own beautiful Christmas decorations as well. These amazing snow globes above can be made with just about any container. In my article on Christmas Crafts For Kids, I give you a great example for making your own using plastic cups and poster board.
However, these can also be made with empty milk cartons, half gallon clear orange juice containers, empty jars, salt shakers, flower vases turned upside down, drinking glasses, balloons, mason jars, and any other clear container you can think of.
The only things that you may need to truly make these snow globes come alive are white stuffing and miniature ornaments, houses, trees, and/or people. And what absolutely incredible decorations these beauties make! I don't think there's a better Christmas decoration that you can possibly make for your home for so little money.
Set a Beautiful Table
On easy way to make your home look beautiful for the holidays is to set a nice table. It doesn't have to be anything fancy to be nice. If anything, a nice Christmas table setting can be created over time (don't underestimate Craigslist if you decide to purchase something for your table).
I put out nice red place mats that I use every year, with some nice green napkins and some Christmasy napkin rings someone gave me a couple of years ago. Although, with a 4 year old little boy and very curious 1 year old little boy in the house, this may not be reasonable this year.
You can always make your own decorations, like we've discussed before, or have your kids make some for you, so your centerpieces are taken care of this year. Add some nice plates, silverware, and candles, and voila! You've got a beautiful holiday table to enjoy. If you don't have plain white plates, or plates in holiday colors, and you really want some for cheap, consider Wal-Mart or a thrift store.
Both have a great selection around this time of year and have some amazing prices.
Be Unique With Your Stockings
Most people hang their stockings over the fireplace, and there's nothing wrong with that great tradition, but what if you don't have a fireplace to hang them? In my house in Texas, we didn't have a fireplace for our stockings, so I hung them underneath the bar from the kitchen into the living room. Everyone could see them as they walked in the front door, and it provided a good place to stuff them that would hold without damaging the walls or furniture.
If you have a staircase, you could easily hang your stockings down the side to display them. Use big plastic clips to hold them in place, or you could even cut small strips of ribbon to tie them to the individual bars down your staircase.
When we go to visit my husband's family for the holidays, they set their stockings out on a side table flat to display them, and on Christmas morning they are filled and set out on the couch for all of the kids to find them.
For another great place, you could use those weighted stocking hangers to hang them off the side of a dresser, your entertainment center, or even your end tables if you'd like. There's no real reason that these have to be hung, but it's a really nice Christmas tradition for most families. Just because you don't have a fireplace doesn't mean you can't participate in this holiday tradition.
I would love to know what you come up with for displaying your stockings in your home. Comment below with your great ideas!
Add a Little of Your Own Flair
Finally, use your imagination to spruce up every area of your home with Christmas fun. Just like the branches from my back yard donning our dining room chandelier for a holiday look, you too can spice up just about any area of your home with a little greenery, a few ornaments, or some beautiful red ribbon.
Micheal's offers some really good sales around this time of year on ribbon, ornaments, holiday patterned paper, and even gift boxes. For an even better deal, visit these locations in the few weeks after the holidays and you'll get tons of great stuff for super cheap to decorate with next year!
Tie ribbon around the chairs in your dining room, use holiday paper down the middle of your table as a great patterned table runner, or add a few ornaments to the center of your table in a nice clear bowl for a beautiful centerpiece, and you've got yourself a spruced up fancy dining table display that's sure to impress.
With some clearance holiday-colored fabric, you can easily recover the pillows on your couch to be more Christmasy. Toss a couple of Christmas dolls you can find at any thrift store on chairs, line the top of your entertainment center or kitchen bar with greenery, and use simple glittered batting (I found tons of it at thrift stores) to tuck into nooks and crannies to look like snow gathering in the corners of your home.
With just a few simple touches, your home can easily become a Christmasy winter wonderland without much effort at all. Simply decorating for your home for the holidays in small ways can really make a huge difference. Whether you decide to go for the big Christmas tree and all the trimmings for your home, or just add a few simple touches here and there to bring in some color and holiday, a little effort will go a long way.
© 2013 Victoria Van Ness