Cheap Christmas Decor Ideas That Looks Expensive

Cheap Christmas Decor Ideas That Looks Expensive

The holiday season is a time of great anticipation, but it can also be a significant financial burden due to the expenses associated with gifts and travel. However, there are several cheap christmas decor that looks expensive to decorate your home and spread holiday cheer without breaking the bank. You can repurpose existing decorations or make use of natural elements to create a beautiful winter wonderland in your home. In this article, we provide over 50 expert-level tips and tricks for frugal holiday decorating that are both fun and easy to implement. Read on to discover how to make your home look magical this Christmas while staying within your budget.

Cheap Christmas Decor Ideas

Here are the cheap Christmas decor ideas:

Cheap Christmas Decor Ideas

Popcorn Garlands

Stringing popcorn is a classic, edible way to add festive flair for just pennies. Buy popcorn kernels in bulk and pop enough to fill several garlands. Thread onto string with a needle, spacing out cranberries or beads between for pops of color. Hang on the tree, around doorways, down stair railings, or anywhere you need holiday cheer.

Estimated cost: $5

Snowy Window Clings

Recreate frosted window panes with this magical effect. Combine 1 tablespoon glue with 1 cup water. Dip cotton balls in the mix and press onto windows in snowy designs. Finish by sprinkling the clings with glitter for wintery sparkle while the glue dries clear.

Estimated cost: $2

Felt Stocking Ornaments

Hand cut or use template shapes to craft miniature stockings from inexpensive felt sheets. Glue on pom poms, buttons, and other embellishments. Write names in glitter glue for custom gift tags. The neutral colors complement any decor.

Estimated cost: $3

Photo Frame Ornaments

Make precious custom ornaments from the dollar store photo frames. Print and insert favorite snapshots into the frames. Tie ribbon through the frame’s tabs to hang on the tree. Share memories for just pennages.

Estimated cost: $1 each

Snowy Centerpieces

Create snow-dusted centerpieces in minutes with everyday kitchen staples. Simply coat pinecones with a mix of cornflour and glitter. Nestle the glittery cones and faux sprigs into bowls filled with rice to mimic a wintery scene.

Estimated cost: $4

Folded Book Trees

Upcycle used books from thrift stores into charming Christmas trees. Stack books of varying heights and bind together with ribbon. Add ornaments and top with a paper star. Choose old books with green covers for the perfect color.

Estimated cost: $3

Cinnamon Ornaments

Make delightful scented ornaments from apple cider ingredients. Combine 1 cup applesauce with 1 cup cinnamon and spoon into cookie cutter shapes on parchment paper. Bake at 200F until hard. String a ribbon through the top when cool.

Estimated cost: $2

Pom Pom Wreaths

Deck doors with this vibrant handmade wreath. Wrap floral foam into a ring and glue on purchased or handcut felt circles as a base. Then densely glue on pom poms, spacing colors evenly for a festive burst of texture and color.

Estimated cost: $10

Framed Boughs

Snip a few fresh pine, cedar, or fir boughs to create this elegant artwork. Arrange brances in dollar store frames backing them with decorative scrapbook paper. Hang the evergreen scenes around the home for organic, outdoorsy style.

Estimated cost: $5

Snowman Lanterns

Reuse empty tin cans as whimsical snowman lanterns. Paint the cans white and add orange fabric scrap noses. Top with a traditional snowman hat cut from felt or fleece. Place a battery-powered votive inside to make them glow.

Estimated cost: $1 each

Repurpose Everyday Items

One of the easiest ways to save on decor is to see the decorative potential in ordinary household items and repurpose them with a holiday twist. Here are some clever ways to transform common goods into festive decor:

– Turn old jars and bottles into snow globe scenes. Fill them with distilled water, glitter, fake snow, and mini Christmas figurines. Secure the lids with hot glue before shaking up your homemade snow globes!

– Stack books on your coffee table and tie them together with red ribbon. Place a poinsettia on top for a classic holiday look.

– Fill clear plastic ornaments with candy, small toys, or other trinkets to create holiday globes. Hang them on your tree or around your home.

– Cut out shapes from old cereal boxes to make DIY Christmas tree ornaments. Get creative with patterns and designs!

– Wrap yarn or battery-operated string lights around metal buckets, vases, or cans to create glowing holiday lanterns.

– Glue festive fabric scraps to plain white napkins and tie them with ribbon for an easy yuletide tablescape.

Craft Ornaments from Nature

Craft Ornaments from Nature

Bring the outdoors in by crafting beautiful Christmas ornaments from pinecones, nuts, and other natural materials. Here are some earthy ideas:

– Paint plain pinecones with wintery white, metallic, or glitter paint. Finish by tying a festive ribbon around the top for hanging.

– Roll pinecones in peanut butter, then birdseed or nuts. Wipe off excess and thread string through the top to hang.

– Wrap yarn, string, or baker’s twine around pinecones in festive patterns. Add beads, buttons, fabric scraps, or bits of greenery for accents.

– Coat walnut shell halves with decoupage or mod podge, then brush with glitter while wet. Add mini pom poms, fabric bits, or googly eyes.

– Wrap lace, burlap, or metallic mesh around rounded rocks. Adhere shells, beads, or buttons with hot glue to finish.

– Cut cross sections of tree branches, sand smooth, and decorate with paint, glitter, and other embellishments.

Frugal Foraged Finds

Forage in your own backyard or around your neighborhood for gorgeous free natural decor. Here’s what to look for:

– Evergreen branches, holly, magnolia leaves
– Pinecones, acorns, chestnuts, walnuts
– Bark, moss, grapes, berries
– Curly willow branches, fallen twigs
– Pine needles, seed pods, dried leaves

Arrange in vases, weave into wreaths, or add accents to existing decor. Just be sure to snip and gather responsibly and sustainably.

Upcycle Thrift Store Finds

Check out your local thrift stores, garage sales, and Craigslist for hidden holiday gems. With a little creativity, you can upcycle all kinds of secondhand goods into something festive. Consider:

– Old sweaters transformed into stockings
– Vintage cookie tins decorated into snowy scenes
– Mismatched china painted and distressed into shabby chic plates and mugs
– Obsolete silver or brass items shined up into tabletop decor
– Outdated jewelry reimagined into tree or package bling

Keep an eye out for candelabras, punch bowls, trays, baskets, and any other items you can put a holiday spin on with spray paint, glitter, ribbon, and more. The options are endless!

Grocery Bag DIY Decor

Before recycling those brown paper grocery bags, pause and think of their crafty potential. Here are thrifty ways to use them for Christmas decor:

– Make a holiday advent calendar out of bags numbered 1-24. Have kids decorate with stickers, glitter, etc. Attach a loop of ribbon to open each day.

– Line bags with tissue paper, fill with apples and pine sprigs, and tie with raffia or ribbon for natural holiday centerpieces.

– Roll bags vertically and secure with tape to make gift tube forms. Decorate with ribbon, bows, silk florals, etc.

– Fill bags with shredded paper, tie them closed, and shape into free rustic tree skirts.

– Treat bags as blank canvases and let kids decorate with stamps, stickers, doodles, or decoupage art.

– Cut into shapes like wreaths, ornaments, stars, trees, etc. and decorate with holiday flair.

Grocery Bag DIY Decor

Light Up Your Life

One of the fastest ways to spread Christmas cheer is by amplifying your home’s twinkle power. But avoid high electrical costs by using these budget-friendly lighting ideas:

– Swap out regular bulbs for LED lights – they use up to 90% less energy!

– Stick with mini string lights over large bulbs – they cast a cozier glow while using less electricity.

– Invest in a timer to automatically turn lights on and off on a schedule.

– Limit light use to only evening hours when they’ll have the biggest impact.

– Layer luminaries, candles, and reflective surfaces like mirror balls to bounce light around.

– Make natural lanterns from mason jars filled with twinkle lights. Hide cords by covering lids in burlap, then nestle them in bushes or along walkways.

– Turn colored floodlights onto houses, fences, trees, and bushes to create dramatic color-washed displays.

Locate Forgotten Greenery

Before shelling out for store-bought garlands, wreaths, and greenery, poke around your property to locate free bounty. Evergreen trees and shrubs like pine, cedar, spruce, and fir provide excellent cuttings, as do magnolia, boxwood, rosemary, eucalyptus, and more. Clip off a few branches, add berries if needed, and voila – you’ve got beautiful, budget-friendly holiday greenery.

Outdoor Décor from Everyday Objects

Yard art doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Unleash your creativity to transform household cast-offs and overstock into dazzling outdoor displays. Possibilities include:

– Painting and stacking tires into snowmen

– Filling galvanized buckets or tin pails with pine sprigs and faux sprays

– Wrapping strands of twinkle lights around railings, columns, and mailboxes

– Anchoring cranberries, maple leaves, or pinecones to fence posts with floral wire

– Suspending painted gourds and mini pumpkins from trees with fishing line

– Creating luminaries by placing candles in paper bags weighted with sand or stones

– Forming pine cones, chestnuts, and acorns into wreath shapes and binding with wire

– Perching wooden clothespin “cardinals” on branches

Have fun utilizing materials already on hand before investing in commercial products. Your wallet – and the planet – will thank you.

Budget Bling

A little glitz and glam goes a long way toward making the season sparkle. But there’s no need to break the bank on pricey trimmings when these thrifty options add just as much pizzazz:

– Raid your craft stash for ribbon, pom poms, beads, and fabric scraps to accent decor.

– Use aluminum foil, cellophane, and mirrored acrylic craft sheets to add reflective shine.

– Brush inexpensive, plain ornaments with metallic spray paints and iridescent finishes.

– Adhere rhinestones and cheap costume jewelry bits using hot glue. A little bling can dazzle up dreary decor.

– Create glitter and confetti out of clipped mylar balloons, pinatas, or broken ornament shards.

– Glue on glass pebbles, marbles, stones, or crystals swiped from old flower vases.

Remember, “less is more” when it comes to embellishing with glitz. Sprinkling tasteful touches of sparkle can transform decor from drab to fab.

Gifts from the Kitchen

Homemade edible gifts show loved ones you care – without draining your holiday funds. Whip up delicious DIY treats using low-cost ingredients you probably already have:

– Make spice blends from your stash and package in tiny jars. Include recipes they can use.

– Bake and decorate sugar cookies. Designs can be simple – it’s the thought that counts!

– Put together cookie or cake mixes in a jar: layer dry ingredients so the recipient just adds wet ingredients to bake.

– Craft flavored syrups and sauces. Sweeten with sugar or honey, flavor with spices and extracts.

– Can jams, chutneys, and sauces in reusable jars. Make labels using printable gift tag templates.

– Dehydrate fruits and vegetables for homemade fruit leather or veggie chips. Roll or bag.

– Bottle homemade vanilla or flavored olive oils. Include a festive bread dipping recipe.

– Make trail mixes layered in jars with nuts, seeds, cereals, and dried fruits.

Edible gifts show you care – without draining your wallet. Wrap jars in fabric scraps, ribbon, burlap, or paper bags to finish.

Receive to Give Back

Host a holiday gift swap party where everyone brings something they already have (in unused condition), packaged up nice, to exchange. This saves money while keeping perfectly good items from going to waste.

Or organize a group thrift store gift exchange. Set a low spending limit, say $5, and have fun digging for humorous or clever “white elephant” type gifts.

For a charitable twist, collect gently used books, toys, clothing, or other items to donate to those in need. Getting friends involved and making an event of it spreads holiday generosity.

Kid-Made Crafts

Kid-Made Crafts

Don’t overlook the creative power of kids when planning homemade gifts and decorations. From messy handprint projects to kitschy crafts, their holiday creations will be treasured for years to come. Here are fun directions to get them started:

– Make potato stamps by carving holiday shapes into raw potatoes. Ink and stamp to make wrap and cards.

– Create tree ornaments and sun catchers from salt dough or air-dry clay. Shape, decorate with paint/glitter when dry.

– String popped popcorn and cranberries into garlands and wreaths.

– Dip their hands in paint and make colorful handprint wreaths or trees on paper.

– Let them decoupage plain ornaments or gift boxes with holiday-colored tissue squares.

– Provide supplies for making collages and cards: stickers, glue, cardboard, images from old Christmas cards, etc.

– Craft clothespin reindeer, pipe cleaner candy canes, popsicle stick sleds, and more. The options are endless!

Resources at Hand

Look no further than your own recycle bins and junk drawers to uncover supplies for crafting unique holiday decorations on the cheap:

– Used wrapping paper, tissue, bows, bags, and boxes from gifts received
– Extra yarn, fabric, ribbon, string, rick rack leftover from crafts
– Outdated travel guides and maps for making decorative paper
– Scrap paper, newsprint, sheet music ready for decoupage
– Rubber bands, paper clips, and clothespins to build light clips and displays
– Old crayons, broken chalk, dried out markers and highlighters – melt and mold into new holiday crayons!

Don’t let anything go to waste. With a little ingenuity, you can give discarded items renewed purpose.

The Joy of Creating Together

Some of the best holiday memories come from spending quality time together making decorations and gifts. Plan craft nights to bring loved ones closer as you decorate with purpose:

– Host an ornament-making party with snacks and music. Provide supplies like clay, beads, paints, glue, and wire.

– Schedule a cookie swap where everyone bakes and decorates their favorites to exchange.

– Play carols and sip cocoa while working on a jigsaw puzzle together. Glue completed ones to hang up.

– Make your own wrapping paper as a family. Dip-dye butcher paper, make potato stamp designs, sponge on paint, etc.

– Along with popcorn strings, make a paper chain garland from painted strips of scrap paper looped together.

– Huddle around clippings from old Christmas cards and collaborate on a holiday memory collage.

cherish the togetherness as much as the finished products. It’s a priceless gift.

Giving from the Heart

When it comes to gift-giving, remember that lavish presents aren’t what the holidays are about. Some of the most meaningful gifts are simple gestures from the heart:

– Make coupons for your time or talents – offer babysitting, home-cooked meals, errand-running, etc.

– Create a personalized playlist or mix CD of songs with special meaning.

– Give the gift of family heritage: frame old photographs, scan documents for a memory book, record oral histories.

– Get crafty with handwritten love letters, poems, or storybooks starring them as characters.

– Offer acts of service like yardwork, pet-sitting, car washing – whatever they’d appreciate.

– Give personalized certificates for their favorite experiences like movies, restaurants, museums, etc.

Don’t underestimate the power of heartfelt homemade gifts. What matters most is showing loved ones you care.

Keep the Cheer All Year

Don’t pack everything away once the holidays end! The decorating ideas in this guide can bring whimsical cheer to the bleakest months.

– Leave twinkle lights up to brighten dark winter days and evenings. Use timers to control when they turn on.

– Rotating natural elements like pinecones and branches keeps indoor greenery looking fresh.

– Birds enjoy wreaths, garlands, berry branches, and pinecone feeders year-round.

– Snowy scenes and wintry accents lend cozy hygge vibes when skies turn gray.

– The sentimental ornaments and handmade touches spark warm memories.

With a little creativity, your festive decor can light up the winter long after the tinsel comes down. The holiday spirit is always in season when you DIY.


  1. Where can I find cheap or free decorating materials?

Check thrift stores, dollar stores, craft supply clearance racks, and warehouse stores for holiday decor deals. Forage in nature for greenery, pinecones, etc. And look for freecycling and “buy nothing” groups online to score free decor locals are giving away.

  1. How can I save on Christmas lights?

Opt for LED lights over incandescent, use mini lights rather than C7 and C9 bulbs, put lights on timers, and limit the hours they’re on. Only light up outdoor displays at night.

  1. What are easy DIY ornaments I can make at home?

Repurpose everyday items like jars and bottles into snowglobes. Craft natural ornaments using pinecones, nuts, wood cookies, etc. Upcycle thrift store finds with paint and embellishments. And create clay ornaments, salt dough shapes, potato stamps, and more!

  1. How do I decorate my home for free?

Utilize what you already have – drape string lights over a fireplace mantel or bushes, place candles around the home, cluster pinecones and holiday books on the coffee table. Forage for greenery outside to make wreaths and arrangements. And deck the halls with handmade paper chains, embroidered pillow covers, and kid-crafted ornaments for free.

  1. What are thrifty ideas for outdoor holiday decorating?

Try lighting up trees and bushes with string lights. Make natural wreaths from evergreen clippings and pinecones. Stack and paint tires into snowmen. Fill buckets or pails with pine sprigs and faux berries. Shape pine cones into wire wreaths. And display painted gourds and mini pumpkins in trees. Get creative repurposing free materials!


With some resourcefulness and imagination, you can transform your home into a magical winter wonderland without breaking the bank. Following the clever, budget-friendly decorating ideas in this guide will help you save money while still spreading holiday cheer.

Remember, Christmas decor doesn’t have to be store-bought or expensive to be special. Spruce up your yard with outdoor Christmas decor, and make it truly special by incorporating handmade crafts, gifted or collected decorations, and natural elements; taking the time to personalize your home through DIY projects and upcycling can make your space even more inviting during the festive season.

So get creative with what you have on hand and think outside the (gift)box this season. You might just find that the cheap Christmas decor also makes the warmest memories. With a little effort and these unique ideas, you can enjoy the most frugal, festive holiday yet!

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