Monday, January 28, 2013

Holidays on the Cheap

Nope, this isn't a post about buying/making gifts for people the frugal way. There was enough of that in bloggyland last month to last you for... forever? This is about decorating for holidays! If you are as lucky as I am, you come from a childhood home where the house oozes with festivity for each holiday. Christmas was of course the most festive occasion, but my mom decorated like crazy for pretty much all holidays. Not just the standard holiday themed door hanging or wreath; I'm talking down to napkins, kitchen and bathroom hand towels, and an outdoor flag. I'm talking us kids being her Valentine every single year, green milk for St. Patty's, and Easter eggs hung in the front yard tree. I'm talking stuffed animals that have clothes themed for each holiday. It was wonderfully magical!

I got this door hanging on clearance from Michael's last year. I love the shabby chic feel to it. It's a tiny bit beat up (hence paying about $2 for it) but I like to think it adds to the character.

When I moved out and got my own place, I slowly collected Christmas items over the years. We have a lot... a LOT... of Christmas stuff now, but I'm finding that we don't have much else for other holidays. I wanted at least a piece of that festive feeling in our new home, especially with two upcoming saints' days! As you know, I'm pretty hard core about sticking to our budget, so I wasn't really willing to spend the money on the super precious items that Target sells for upwards of $15 or $20. So what do those of us who aren't super crafty (or don't have time to craft) do when we don't want to spend more than $10 or so for decorations? It just so happens that I've brainstormed a handy dandy list for you!

I love the cheesy happy birthday banners, so I was excited to see a Valentine's version at the Dollar Tree! I also got the cute hearts-on-a-stick that are in the cups on the left and right.

{Decorating on a Dime}

  • Dolla Dolla Tree, ya'll! No, but seriously. I know there is a lot of junk at the Dollar Tree, and I also know that anything you buy from there will not be passed down or remotely near heirloom quality. And I'm here to tell you that's ok. I don't want to promote extra waste, but if you buy a crazy cute turkey door hanger for Thanksgiving and it can't hack the elements for more than a month, you had a decoration for that season for $1 (and what... 7 cents?). Worth it! So far, my Dollar Tree items have stood the test of time which makes this girl happy because I hate throwing things away, but even if something fails after one season, it was still a good deal!
  • Speaking of the Dollar Tree, check the Dollar Spot at Target. They will have less stuff, but usually have some holiday related things. Michael's always discounts their items a few days before the holiday until the stuff is gone. You can either buy it full price and use a fairly-easy-to-find 40-50% off coupon, or wait for it to go clearance. If you have a "Five Below" in your area, they have a few things too, though probably closer to the $5 mark than the $1 mark. 
  • Ask your mom for things that you loved as a child. My mom has this awesome theory that she doesn't want to wait until she's gone for us to enjoy stuff of hers. She wants to see us enjoy it while she is still here (which will be for another 60+ years, right mom?). So she has given me a few things that ARE heirloom quality and CAN be passed down to my children, that I can decorate with now! Be prepared that the answer could be no, but it could also be yes and your mom just never knew you had an interest in having certain things!
  • Check thrift stores shortly after holidays. People tend to get rid of whatever decor they don't want right after the holiday is over. You really can check any time of year since people do things like spring cleaning, but right after a holiday you are usually guaranteed to find a few goodies. One man's trash could totally be your treasure.
  • Be ok with building a stash over the course of a few years. All I have for St. Patty's Day right now is a door hanging, and that's ok. Next year I'll buy one or two more things, and so on until I get a good collection, which will probably cost me a total of $10. 

What are your favorite tips for decorating on the cheap?

8 comments:

  1. My husband just does not understand the point of decorating for holidays. I love seeing houses decorated, but all he sees are dollar signs and messes. Sigh.

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    1. Make Dollar Tree your bestie! I spent $2 to decorate my mantle... you can't beat that, and it's easy peasy to clean up/take down once the holiday is over!

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  2. Thank you for the advice tips for looking for cheap ways decorating for the holidays. One of the other things I would recommend is finding cheap hand-craft ideas. Like this year for Christmas, I am going to do something that my Grandmother would make, lace snowflakes.

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    1. I'm not super crafty, but you're right- I could find pretty simple crafts to DIY! Lace snowflakes sound pretty!

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  3. I definitely take the strategy of being patient when it comes to building up a supply of decorations for holidays. We still don't have many Christmas decorations yet, but they come little by little!

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  4. Your mantle is too cute!! Hmmmmm - I seem to remember someone telling me a few years ago how embarressed they were by the Easter egg tree...;-) And, yes - I certainly plan to be pestering you still 60 years from now!!!!

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  5. I have maney rummage sale and thrift store items. I decorate for holidays and seasons like summer and winter. In April I have set arounds that I received as Birthday gifts that I put out after Easter. My favorite is a little statue of a girl blowing out candles on a cake. I enjoy changing my decorations. I agree with Rachel be patient and before you know it you will have too manet boxes of decorations

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  6. A few years ago during our family's cheap holidays to Turkey, I bought a couple of uniquely shaped wide-mouthed bottles. Originally, I thought that I'd use it as a decorative containers for my herbs. However, for some reason, I haven't used them and they have been sitting in my cupboard. But last Christmas, I found a great use for them as candle lamps. I simply affixed small candles on tiny saucepans and placed one candle/saucepan assembly inside each bottle. The effect is really great, and the simple project didn't cost me a cent.

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