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11 Budget Christmas Decorating Tips That Will Make You Happier

Christmas decorations

Did you know that decorating for Christmas early can make you happier? According to psychologists, it can. As soon as you are feeling the holiday itch, go ahead and put up your Christmas decorations. This includes putting them up before Thanksgiving.

Recently, experts have been studying why Christmas decorations make us happy. Bright colors and lights improve our moods. Color greatly effects people’s feelings of well being. It increases your energy levels. It’s also been suggested that Christmas decorations bring back feelings of nostalgia.

There’s even more benefits! Studies show that if you decorate early, your neighbors may think you are friendlier. Those early Christmas decorations make people think you are more social. We have some great ideas for budget Christmas decorations.


If your household already is a fan of candles, you can actually use these in your Christmas decorations. A common color for decorative candles is white. You can make a small swap to these for the holidays.

Here’s how to make candles more festive:

  • Trade out your white candles for green, red or even gold candles.
  • Place these all around your house.
  • They work especially well if you put them on white table clothes. The contrast will make your home look more festive.

You don’t need to pay an arm and a leg for these Christmas themed candles. Check out can buy some types of candles for under $1 each!

Candy Canes

Another cost saving trick is to decorate your house with candy canes. Their beautiful swirls are the perfect decoration for the holidays. What’s even better, instead of packing them all up for next year, you can just give them to your family during the holiday season.

There’s lots of ideas of how to decorate with candy canes for Christmas:

  • Tree decorations: You can hang candy canes all over your Christmas tree. You can even theme your tree by using red and white lights and tinsel to match.
  • Vases: Another great way to use these to decorate is to put them in your vases around your house. They also look great in any kind of glass container.
  • Table decorations: These also look great placed next to dinner plates and silverware.

Because you can buy a box of candy canes so cheap, they are a great idea to decorate with. For even more ideas on how to use candy canes, check out this blog.


Poinsettia plants should always be a part of your Christmas decorations. Their shape and color brings the Christmas spirit to your house. They look great anywhere in your home. They come with red or white flowers, though we prefer the bright red flowers over the white.

Here are some different places you can buy your Poinsettias:

  • Michael’s: Michael’s is offering a great deal on real poinsettia’s. You can get a real plant for only $5.
  • Afloral: Afloral has a great artificial outdoor poinsettia for only $4.80. It’s also water resistant so you don’t have to worry about the rain. You can also get all kinds of other artificial flowers and greenery really cheap for Christmas.
  • Joann’s: Joann’s is another great place to get cheap poinsettias. You can get get an artificial white plant for only $4.99.


Pinecones are another great Christmas decoration. They look great with your other Christmas decorations. The best part is, you can find them for free in your yard or neighborhood. You can start collecting them late in the fall to decorate with.

To prepare your pinecones for the indoors, you will need to get rid of the bugs and dirt:

  • Oven: preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum and spread all of your pine cones out. Bake the pine cones for 30 minutes. Be sure to watch the oven when you are baking these. Extra sap could cause a fire and smoke.
  • Let them sit: Let the baked pine cones sit for a few days after they are baked before decorating with them.
  • Drying: This oven drying process will kill all of the bugs and also remove the sticky sap.

If you are feeling extra crafty, there are a lot of creative ways to use pine cones in your decorating.

Old Christmas Decorations

If your family has lots of old Christmas decorations you don’t really like anymore, don’t throw them away! They can be given new life by being used outdoors in your yard. Some ideas are old angels, garland, aging Christmas bulbs and used holiday ribbon.

Here’s some ways these old items can be reused:

  • Angels: Old angels can be all spray painted white or metallic. Now that they all match, you can use them in your yard or on your front porch.
  • Garland: Instead of throwing away your old garland from your Christmas tree, use it to decorate your front porch You can hand it from railings and even use it to decorate your mailbox.
  • Chipped Christmas bulbs: When your Christmas bulbs start to chip, you can’t really use them on your tree anymore. Instead, spray paint them all one color and hang them from your outdoor trees.
  • Used holiday ribbon: Instead of throwing away the ribbons used to tie up your gifts, save them. You can tie bows on railings or trees all throughout your yard.

For some other creative ways to use recycled materials for your Christmas decorations, check out the gallery from the DIY network.


One fail proof method for Christmas decorations is to work from a theme. This could be a red, green or silver theme. It always looks elegant and your holiday guests will be impressed.

Here are some tips on how to make a holiday theme super cheap:

  • Spray paint: You can make items look totally different with a layer of spray paint. If color is your theme, you can use a few different varieties of paint within your color scheme.
  • Wrapping paper: Another great theme is to buy cheap holiday wrapping paper and make it the theme of your decorating. Wrap all of your picture frames, hanging artwork and actual presents with this wrapping paper. Only use the decorations that you have that match the colors of this.
  • Fabric Ribbon: If you have a lot of leftover fabric ribbon from other craft projects, you can actually use it as a theme in your home. You can glue the ribbon to old ornaments and hang them from the tree. You can tie together these fabric ribbons to make a garland that decorates the whole room.

Pinterest is a great website to browse through all different kinds of Christmas decoration themes.


Using fresh cranberries for Christmas decorations is another cheap and easy holiday hack. They are beautiful different shades of red. Plus, they are usually on sale in your grocery store after Thanksgiving.

Here are some creative ways to use cranberries in your decorations:

  • Centerpieces: You can used cranberries in all of your table centerpieces. Just pour cranberries into the dish or container that is holding your other items.
  • Garland: Another great idea is to make a garland out of cranberries. All you will need to do is to poke holes in the cranberries and string them on long pieces of dental floss.
  • Cookies trays: You can make your cookie trays look amazing by putting cranberries around the plate with the cookies. They will make the colors in the cookies pop, plus add a dash of festive red.

For even more ideas to decorate with cranberries check out this slideshow from Better Homes & Gardens.


Most families use a lot of different size jars when they are cooking. Instead of throwing these glass jars away, clean them and save them for Christmas. You can put all kinds of festive items in or around the jars to make beautiful decorations. Especially save large ones like from spaghetti sauce or pickles. The larger jars give you more room for decorating.

Here’s some ways you can decorate your old glass jars:

  • Bows: Tying bows around the top lids of your jars can make them really festive. You can also fill them with any other decorative items your want.
  • Fake Snow: Old glass jars also look great filled with fake snow. Making fake snow is really easy. All you need to do is cut sheets of white paper into tiny piece like confetti. You can then fill up the jars and place them around the house.
  • Tree Trimmings: If you have lots of trees in your yard or neighborhood, take some clippings from them with greenery. Our favorite are cedar or pine tree. These will stay green when cut for a really long time.

For 40 more ways to use your jars for your Christmas decorations, check out the gallery from Country Living.

Bows and Garland

Who says you can’t add Christmas decorations to items you already have in your house? One great way to to put bows or garlands on items you already have out. This way, you don’t have to buy any special Christmas décor you can only use during the holiday season. Another bonus: not having to pack up all your decorations when the season is over.

Here’s some ideas to decorate items you already have out in your house:

  • Bows: Red bows look great on just about every items on your house. If you have lots of picture frames up, you could wrap each one with a red bow tied in the center. Don’t forget to also add bows all around your kitchen and bathroom items that are normally out for everyday use.
  • Wrapping paper: You an easily wrap any square items in your home up as presents. A great look is wrapping the books in your bookshelf. You can even cut squares and use them as decorative placemats on your tables.
  • Garland: Garland is a great way to make your house more festive. It can literally be hung from anything. We love the look of garland hanging down from ceiling fans. It also looks great taped up around your crown molding.

Reader’s digest has 24 more DIY Christmas decorations using items already in your home.

Snow globes

Snow globes are holiday items that make your house seem more upscale. They are really beautiful. Unfortunately, to buy them retail you would be spending a ton of money. Fortunately, we have an easy way to make your own snow globes.

Here’s how:

  • Start first with a glass jar with a lid. Sand the inside of the glass jar with sandpaper to rough up the surface.
  • Using clear drying epoxy, glue any figurine that you have to the inside of the jar lid. Let the epoxy dry before moving on to the next step.
  • Next, fill the jar up to almost the top with distilled water. Add some glitter and a tiny bit of glycerin (you can get the glycerin at most drugstores). This helps the glitter from not falling too fast in your snow globe.
  • Lastly, screw the lid on tight so none of the water will leak out.

Making your own snow globe is super easy. It can also can become a family tradition. You and your kids could make one every holiday season. For further instructions on how to make these, visit Martha Stewart’s webpage.

Christmas Cards

Displaying Christmas cards is another way to easily decorate for the holidays. Instead of piling them all up on your table, use them to add holiday cheer to any room.

Here are some ideas on how to use them to decorate with:

  • If you already have a memo board in your house, you can peg up all of your old and new christmas cards. This will instantly add color to any room.
  • Garland: If you have garland hanging in your house, you can string up all of the christmas cards to hang from it. You can even poke holes through the cards to use ornament hanging hooks to hang them.
  • Wreath: Jazz up your Christmas wreath by pinning Christmas cards all over it.
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