Festive (and Frugal) Holiday Decorating

Now’s the time when many of us begin to turn our thoughts to decorating our homes for the holidays. No matter which holidays you chose to observe, the accompanying decor helps breathe new life into the winter doldrums. Don’t let your efforts to deck the halls leave you emptying your wallet because there’s a multitude of fun, festive and frugal ways to decorate that will leave you with more than two cents to rub together.

Bring some of the outdoors in. Winter storms often leave beautiful and fragrant pine branches all over the ground. Why not clean up the outside and gather great, natural decor for inside all at the same time? Bare branches, sprigs of holly and pine cones also make lovely decorations for all around the house.


Fruit is beautiful to look at as well as to eat. Let your fruit do double-duty as both a nutritious snack as well as a beautiful and creative centerpiece. Citrus fruits—oranges, lemons, limes—are ideal for tucking between candles. They’re also a great reminder of the past when such small items were truly a treasure and a reminder to all of us now for how fortunate we are—that even in the cold months of winter—such summer bounties can still be enjoyed.

Reinvent new decorating purposes for old standbys. Glass balls needn’t just hang on a tree. Carefully arrange them in a glass or silver bowl. Additionally, many ornaments now days are so intricate and detailed, it seems a shame to hide them on a tree. Instead, consider reserving some of them to place around the house as holiday knick knacks. Garland can also be repurposed. It not only looks great wrapped around a tree, but can help gussy up a bookshelf or tabletop. If you really want to shake things up a bit, consider (literally) wrapping up some of the artwork and pictures on your wall.

It isn’t always what’s inside that counts. I’ll ‘fess up. I don’t just shop and wrap all my holiday gifts early just to beat the rush. I do it so I can enjoy the eye candy! Personally, I love seeing all the beautifully wrapped and colorful packages of varying shapes and sizes. But truthfully, there needn’t be anything inside to enjoy it. Grab a few empty boxes, wrap them up and display them as decorations or grab some of the beautiful vases you usually reserve for displaying Spring and Summer flowers and tie them up with gorgeous ribbon instead.

Put your children to work decorating for you. Children love creating snowflakes out of plain white paper, and they enjoy seeing their handiwork displayed around the house even more. Other kid-friendly decor ideas include paper chains in holiday colors, homemade posters depicting holiday-related images and paper luminaries. The latter are easily made by poking or punching holes into plain construction paper and then rolling it into a cylinder. For safety purposes, opt to add a small battery-operated tea light (instead of a traditional candle) inside and display for all to enjoy.

Photo credit: dcis_steve

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit ThrivingOnEmpty.com to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

One Response to “Festive (and Frugal) Holiday Decorating”

  1. Credit Sesame |  Nov 22, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Enlist the kids! Now there’s a great idea!