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Holidays and a Recession: Low Budget Christmas Decorations

Updated on November 28, 2011

Press play and listen while you read!

framed movie posters of my favorite holiday movie White Christmas hung up on the wall.  A simple decoration.
framed movie posters of my favorite holiday movie White Christmas hung up on the wall. A simple decoration. | Source

Before you read any further, press play on the YouTube video above and turn on your speakers, nothing like some Christmas music to put you in the Holiday spirit!

Let’s face it the recession has hurt a lot of people; draining life savings, retirement funds, even our homes have devalued! Many people out there struggle from day to day, even having to make the horrible choice of whether to heat their homes or eat a meal. This gloom and doom lifestyle shouldn’t impact the bright lights of the Holidays but in reality it does. If you’re like me then the Holidays not only bring a smile to your face but will also starve off that annual depression which winter brings so punctually. Christmas to me is not just one day; it is a whole season, stretching from November first to New Years. Yeah, Yeah it sounds a little crazy to start the Christmas season so soon, but listening to a few Christmas songs every once and a while starting on November first isn’t too bad, especially when the result is a great mood! Can’t you feel the inner child screaming Christmas right now as you listen to the music? Great memories of friends and family? Feelings of generosity and anticipation? The season in itself has a lot to offer and one way to bring it all out at home is to decorate! With money tight for many it might be hard to buy new decorations but below will be some simple cheap and sometimes free ways of decorating your home for the holidays.

So here are some ideas, some odd but fun, to decorate with this holiday season without spending too much or any at all!

Beanie Babies as Decorations:

So if you were around in the late 1990’s and got caught up in the Beanie Baby trend, you might have a bunch of plush toys sitting around, possibly stored in a bin in the back of your closet, hoping one day they would return to the value they were at when you bought it. My grandmother has baskets of these beanie babies and no where to put them so why not dig out the holiday themed ones and put them out as decorations. This actually works for all holidays, depending on your collection. Just take some Christmas themed ones, like the 1997 Christmas teddy Jingle. You can put them out on tables, or window sills, even in your tree if it’s sturdy enough. These small holiday themed plush toys make great accents in your Holiday decorations. And if you’re like my grandmother there’s plenty of them sitting in the closet upstairs for free!

Christmas Movie Posters

This is a great idea, which I actually gave as a gift to my mom last year. It cost a few bucks but not too much. Go online and look for movie posters of your favorite Christmas movie, ours was White Christmas. I got two vintage looking movie posters for the classic White Christmas (1954) starring Bing Crosby, Rosemary Cloony, Danny Kaye and Vera Ellen. I spent about $15 each on the posters but depending on the film you much cheaper ones. I then bought inexpensive frames and framed each poster. The picture above to the right is the posters on the wall with a small wreath in them. It made a great decoration and really brought out a special part of the holidays for our family. I may do a Christmas Vacation (1989) themed one this year for our basement/bar area, another film my family finds special.

Old Photos:

Speaking of special, many people will decorate with the Christmas Cards they receive in the mail, why not do the same thing but with old Christmas photos? It may be a little time consuming but could be a fun project after Thanksgiving dinner. Go through old photos and find all the ones from the holidays over the years. You can either make a collage and hang it up on the wall, or make small ornaments out of the photos to hang on the tree. If you wanted to make it a craft project you could decorate each photo with some red and green construction paper, so they look like Christmas cards and place them all over the house. This will be a very cheap but very meaningful decoration, not to mention it might bring up some funny stories at Christmas dinner!

Collages of old Vhs tapes and cassette tapes

In the theme of arts and crafts why not take some of those holiday vhs tape covers, the cardboard ones and make a collage out of them. If you still have the tapes it might be fun to see all the different holiday themed movies you had on tape. Plus some of the art work on those tapes are awesome and will bring you back to days past when you watched them, pulling in the nostalgia. Now if you have cassette tapes, you may be able to make a cool block decoration. I haven’t tried this yet but if I can collect enough tapes it would be cool. Take all the plastic cassette tape covers and glue them together any way you want, makes sure it will stand on its own! Also make sure the little paper covers inside can be seen so people can look at all the holiday art covers. These ideas are just simple ways to use holiday media in formats of the past that may be just sitting around.


Christmas Ornaments in Vase

Finally everyone has a number of ornaments that don’t make it on the tree each year, whether it is because they don’t have any hooks or they just aren’t as pretty as the new ones you bought two years ago. Instead of throwing these out why don’t you use them in a different way. Last year we took a few decorations, once used on the Christmas tree and put them in a vase on the mantel. We got two clear vases, usually used in the summer, added some gold and red beads that we use to put on the tree. WE filled the bottom 1/4th with beads then added old gold bows, tiny ones you put on Christmas tree, inside the vase facing out ward along the glass. To hold in the bows we filled the jar with more beads, alternating between colors. Finally to top the vase off we put old ornaments on top. The great thing is you can do whatever you want with the decorations you have and because it is contained in a vase it will always look good.

So there you go, some tips on decorating with nostalgia and leftovers! Hopefully these tips will give you some ideas to maximize your holiday celebrations without breaking the bank! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


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    • BWD316 profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Dooling 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      Sorry about that Deborah! lol thanks for the comment!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      7 years ago from Iowa

      Darn it, BWD. Now I'm going to have that song stuck in my head all day. : )

      Using photos to make ornaments is a great idea!

    • kerlynb profile image


      7 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      "Go through old photos and find all the ones from the holidays over the years. You can either make a collage and hang it up on the wall, or make small ornaments out of the photos to hang on the tree." - Now this is one idea that is sure to make make people smile! Imagine seeing oneself ages ago on Christmas day! I love the idea of collage. I also make it on my computer,like scan the pics and make them into a collage. There are lots of free apps I use for my multimedia collage.

    • JanHeath profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Music while you read - lovely idea. Like the xmas decorations in a vase idea too.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      7 years ago from UK

      I like the Christmas movie poster idea - and yes I was grinning from ear to ear listening to your soundtrack! :-)


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