Work With What You’ve Got {Freshen up your Christmas decor without spending a ton of cash}

This is one reason why I will never have a tattoo.  I just can’t be satisfied with the same look for very long.

When you have a wee budget  for Christmas decorating, this can be a bit of a problem.

Problem #1 I get tired of what I have.  Like, sometimes after just one year. I know, first world problem for sure.

I really don’t like to have everything look the same two years in a row.  What I like changes. Sometimes kinda drastically.

When it comes to home decor, I like to change things up, just make it feel a little different and fresh.   But I have a small budget for these non-necessities, so I have to be creative.  I’m tickled pink when I can move things around and use them in a way that feels fresh without spending a lot of cash.

Problem #2  I love a hodgepodge of things that I have to try to marry together in a way that makes sense.

I have many precious-to-me ornaments that each of the kids made in their younger years. While I might not display every single one of them every year, there will never be a time that there isn’t at least one or two on the tree that each kid has made.  When I’m ruthlessly decluttering, (which clearly hasn’t happened nearly enough!) Jay says I’m not sentimental about anything.  Not true, I’m just not sentimental about everything like he is.  The ornaments the kids made are some of my favorite things and I can’t imagine our tree without them.

Other than the ornaments the kids have made, for as long as I can remember, snowmen have been my favorite thing at Christmas. Then, for many years now, probably 10 or more, I have loved gingerbread house themed Christmas decorations.

I don’t want two trees, and it can be a bit tricky to marry some of the ice cream colored gingerbread house ornaments with the more traditional ones.   I’m satisfied though that I manage to make them get along well enough.

Changes I made this year:

Last year’s tree was topped with a glittery silvery topper and the ribbon round it was sheer and silver (might not be able to tell that in the picture). Although I didn’t use those items this year, I kept them, because in a couple of years I will want to use them again. Maybe in the same way, and maybe somewhere entirely different than on the tree. If I don’t want them on the tree, I can use them elsewhere in the house OR for gift wrapping.  This gorgeously full tree was a real pain to put together. Every single limb had to be placed one by one! I was gifted a new tree this year and will donate this tree.
I was given this tree by a friend who wasn’t going to use it anymore. I love it. It fits the space better and is much easier to put together. I bought the candy cane ribbon that is used like a garland on the tree thinking that I would make a bow for the top. I decided it wasn’t wide enough for that purpose and used it around the tree instead. I love how it turned out. The red and white and candy on the ribbon help marry some of my traditional red and green ornaments with those that are gingerbread house themed candies in more playful colors. I didn’t find anything I loved for the top so I decided to put nothing there.

Cost of changes to the tree:  I left off a lot of ornaments for a cleaner look = FREE.  I bought the ribbon on sale for less than $7  I added blue ball ornaments on the tree instead of the pink I used last year.  I already owned them = FREE.  I love to add just 1 or 2 new ornaments per year.  I added two new ornaments for about $5 for both.

I found this last year after Christmas for less than $2. A sweet addition to my gingerbread themed ornaments.
This new candy tree was $2 or $3. Traditional colors and candy themed. Marriage material.

For a few years, the kids influenced me and I was in love with colored lights on the Christmas tree. Colored lights everywhere, and non-traditional colors of ball ornaments on the tree along with our beloved favorites and homemade ones.  I still have some of the non-traditional colored ornaments on the tree, but this year all lights are white. There are fewer glittery decorations.

Year round this basket is on top of the wardrobe. This year I have had a hankering for white lights everywhere and I loved how this cheers up an otherwise un-decorated corner.
I love the combination of plain white and glittery ornaments on top. I bought two packages at the beginning of the season (at the Dollar Tree!), having no idea how I would use them, but I just loved them. For $2 total, I added some to the top of this wardrobe and still have some left over. The greenery had been used at a party I attended (and helped with the set up) and I was able to bring it home = FREE.
Purchased at the Dollar Tree for a whopping total of $2.

The changes to the kitchen table might seem subtle, but I’m excited about the little changes.

The kitchen table last year.

I blogged last year about how I freshened things up.  I used this same Pampered Chef tray all year in a variety of ways, so this Christmas I was just ready for a fresh look.  Also, the greenery last year was fake and I had a hankering for fresh.

The kitchen table this year. Although the burlap runner is a different one, it’s still one I already had. Since my daughter used them at her wedding reception, we have a few 🙂 This one didn’t have a fringe, so I added one to each end.

I found the Mason jar candle holders, they’re actually lanterns that can be hung, at Michael’s for 1/2 ($2.49 each) price and added the red tealights.  They aren’t very visible in the picture, but there are real cranberries under the tealights.  I still have 3/4 of the bag of cranberries that I will find another use for.  The fresh greenery was used at a party I helped with so I brought it home after the party for free.  Although our tree is artificial, it smells like a fresh, real Christmas tree up in here.  Total spent: about $20 with leftover cranberries and tealights AND the lanterns aren’t specific to Christmas, so they can be used year round.

When choosing the mason jar lanterns, I was tempted to choose red or green, but I decided #1 to keep it more natural/simple/clean looking and #2 to choose lanterns/candleholders that could be used all year long in a variety of ways.   This won’t be the last time you will see them I’m sure!

The last couple of years, Jessie has really enjoyed making some things IF she knows I will display them.

Jessie colored these wooden decorations and was excited for me to display her handiwork. I buy these wood coloring sets at Michael’s on sale every year. And, she loves for us to buy candy canes to have on hand, so we do.  They come in all kinds these days and we think it’s fun to try the different varieties. I recommend the Sweet Tart green apple!

I already blogged about what a great time we had making this gingerbread house.  I’m sure it will become a new annual tradition.

One evening a month, Jessie goes to a local church that has a program for special needs kids to allow the parents a date night.  She made this  “Joy to the World” there.

Last but not least, Jessie painstakingly painted this picture and I love it.  They come in a two pack of two different designs at the Dollar Tree, which includes the paint!  Later in the season I picked up another pack with a different design.  When a friend comes over, they will paint them.

I glued it to a piece of scrapbook paper, punched holes in the top and ran some twine through it.  This is hanging right as you come in the front door, which makes Jessie happy.

I know if I counted all the times in this post that I said I “loved” something, a real editor would say I should change some of those.  Don’t wanna.  I love decorating my home for  Christmas.  It takes me forever, because I keep tweaking it the entire season.  But I enjoy it in between obsessively watching Hallmark movies.

If you don’t have a lot to spend, but like to change things up, it CAN be done.  And it’s fun.

I hope you’re enjoying a very Merry Christmas season!


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