Christmas is a time for giving, spending time with loved ones, and of course, sprucing up your home in festive cheer! If you’re on a budget this year, don’t worry – we’ve got some great ideas to help you get into the holiday spirit. Believe it or not, the holidays can be even more fun when you forego the store-bought decorations and deck the halls with your own creations. From simple ornaments to DIY wreaths, there’s something here for everyone. So dig right in to start making your home merry and bright!

Be sure to check out our post on Cheap Gift Ideas For Christmas for more ideas.

1. The Tree

Between drought conditions in the Pacific Northwest and supply chain issues for artificial trees, you might find it harder to get a tree than ever. If you can cut a tree from your own land (or that of a generous neighbor), consider yourself lucky indeed. 

If you planned to buy a real tree and got sticker shock, you’re not imagining things. Prices escalated fast. Desperate times call for desperate measures, as they say. So if you find yourself treeless, you’re still got a few options:

  • Head to your local Salvation Army, Goodwill, or thrift store. Second-hand stores are often inundated with artificial trees this time of year, and will be glad to see them go out the door. 
  • Ask around on social media. Many areas have Buy Nothing and Freecycle groups with members who just might have what you need. You can use the same method to acquire lights, tinsel, or decorations for the tree too. 
  • Get super creative and make a tree. We’ve heard of at least one person who got super creative one cash-strapped year. All the family members traced hands out of construction paper, cut them out, and taped them to the wall in the shape of a tree. They remarked it was one of the most memorable Christmases they could remember. 

2. Glean From Nature

In addition to the tree, one of the best ways to decorate for Christmas on a budget is with things you can find outside in your own backyard. You can turn pinecones, berries, acorns, downed branches, and more into garlands with wire, a hot glue gun, and any other supplies you might have on hand. 

You can be as creative as you want with this! Once your garlands are all decorated, tie a ribbon or twine around the top and hang them in whatever spot you want in your house. If you’re short on space, you could even hang them from the ceiling.

3. Candles

Another easy and festive decoration is candles. You can go out and buy some inexpensive dollar-store candles, or you can make your own very easily. All you need are some old jars (or any other container), wax, wicks, and some essential oils (optional). This is also a great way to recycle old candles that have lost their luster.

Melt the wax in a pot on the stove (use a pot you don’t mind getting dirty). Add in your essential oils, make sure your wick is centered, and carefully pour the wax into your glass jars. Let the wax harden (this takes a while). Once your candle has cooled, you can tie a ribbon around it and place it anywhere you like.

 4. Scented Oil Diffusers

Scented oil reed diffusers are a great DIY project if you’re crafty. They can bring the scents of the holiday to every room in the house and can even be given away as gifts. It’s straightforward too. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Essential oils.
  • Water.
  • Rubbing alcohol/vodka (enough to fill the bottle 1/4 of the way full).
  • Glass bottles or jars.

Fill up your jar or bottle with water, add about 20-30 drops of your essential oil(s), and then add in enough alcohol to fill up 1/4 of the space. Put the lid on tightly and give it a good shake before each use. 

For the actual stick part of the project, bamboo reeds are super cheap and usually available at the dollar store or Amazon. But if you can’t find any bamboo reeds, you can cut the pointed end off wooden barbecue skewers. 

5. Snow Globes

For a fun and fanciful project that the kids will love, try making snow globes. Get some small glass jars with lids and fill them up with water, glitter, sparkles, etc., until they’re about 3/4 full. Add a bit of glycerin for some extra oomph if you want. The glycerin helps make the little things suspended longer while giving them an extra shine.

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6. Cranberry Centerpieces

Cranberries can make the ideal centerpiece, and this project is probably the easiest one on our list. Find any glass bowl in your house. You can use two and put them side by side, or one large one. Fill the bowl or bowls with a bag of fresh cranberries. Pop any white candle in the middle, and you have a simple yet elegant centerpiece that’s perfect for Christmas dinner. 

7. Salt Dough Ornaments

Making salt dough ornaments has been a popular Christmas activity for years. You might even remember creating them yourself as a child. This is a project for all ages and a fun & cheap family activity to do on a budget. Plus, salt dough is cheap and easy to make. All you need is:

  • 4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Salt
  • 1 ½ Cups Warm Water

Mix all ingredients until you have a stiff dough you can work with. You may need to add more water or flour to get just the right consistency. Once you are ready, use a rolling pin and roll out your dough. The easiest thing to do is use cookie cutters to make the ornaments, but you can free-style them too. Use a drinking straw to poke a hole in each ornament for hanging. 

Place the ornaments on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake in a 300°F oven for around an hour. Once they are cooled, you can paint and let them dry. Then, hang them with a ribbon and put them on the tree!

8. Snowman Door

This idea is a new take on wrapping your door to look like a present. All you need is some black and orange construction paper and a long sheet of red-patterned wrapping paper. First, cut out two large circles about the size of a dessert plate. These will be the eyes. Next, use a styrofoam or plastic cut to trace 10 to 12 smaller circles on black paper. Half of those will be the smiling  mouth, and the other half will be the buttons.

Now, cut a carrot nose from the orange paper, and make a long rectangular strip for a scarf. Finally, construct your snowman on the door with tape or glue dots.

9. Paper Snowflakes

You remember paper snowflakes, don’t you? This may have been the first Christmas decoration you ever made, but they are still magical. All you need for this project is some white paper, scissors, and thread for hanging. You can make them as simple or elaborate as you want to, hang them from the ceiling, in the windows, or on your tree. We found some fabulous step-by-step instructions on that anyone can follow.

10. Christmas Wreaths

Finally, try making your own Christmas wreaths if you want to get really creative. This is a bit more time-consuming, but it’s so worth it in the end! All you need are:

  • Some wire hangers.
  • Green floral wire.
  • Hot glue gun.
  • Scissors.
  • Any decorations you want to use.

Take your hanger and form it into a circle (you could also use a metal ring from the craft store). Cut about 8-10 feet of green floral wire and wrap it around the hanger. Keep going until the whole thing is covered. Once it’s all wrapped, start hot gluing things on. You can use berries, leaves, flowers, bells – anything that goes with your theme! Hang it up on your door or in a window and enjoy the festive look.

The great thing about most of these decorations is that you can use them year after year! So if you’re on a budget this Christmas, don’t worry – you can still have a beautiful and festive home without spending a lot of money. These are all easy, DIY projects that will add some extra holiday cheer to your house. Happy decorating!