Ask anyone that knows me, or has been to my place around a holiday, and they will tell you that I have a bit of an obsession with holiday decor. You can also ask anyone that’s ever been to hobby lobby with me, or saw my dorm in college. And my husband would definitely confirm this.
I have almost enough Christmas decorations to deck out a house and we just have a one bedroom apartment right now. I bust out the Halloween decorations October first. The day after thanksgiving you won’t find me black Friday shopping, I’ll be busy putting up my Christmas tree.
It doesn’t just pertain to the best time of year though (aka October though December) I also have quite a but of Valentine’s, st Patrick’s, Easter, and summer themed decor.
In case you havnt already caught on I. Love. Holiday. Decorations.
Switching up my decor every couple of months could definitely get expensive but I have mastered being able to fuel my decor obsession on the cheap.
Scouring thrift stores
Thrift stores are my number one source for holiday decor. I comb through my local thrift store holiday sections every time I am at one.
I know this is going to sound ridiculous but along with planning our wedding I started thinking about holiday decor for our first place together soon after we got engaged. I am an avid second hand shopper and searched thrift stores for wedding decor and honeymoon outfits and would also pick up some decorations nearly every time I went thrift shopping.
I made this matching Christmas village by spray painting mismatched Christmas village houses I found at several goodwills. I love it and it cost less that 20$ total, which is the price of some individual pieces! (Please excuse the poor photos in this post! These were taken last year before I had a blog and planned on sharing them with the internet!)
I also found several boxes of Christmas ornaments at Goodwill- for 1.99 each!- and my tree topper as well.
My big tips for finding holiday decor pieces at thrift stores and second hand shops are to look often and year round. Also try to see the potential of an item, not just what it is. Many items can easily be spruced up or modernized.
Plan way ahead
It is best to shop the thrift stores in advance to get the best selection when less people are looking at the holiday decor and this requires planning ahead. You’ll also need to plan ahead to shop the post holiday sales. The after Christmas sales at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s are where I have gotten a majority of my Christmas tree decor. The ribbon on my tree makes a big impact and was bought at 90% off at the beginning of January. This leads me to my next tip. Part of planning ahead involves….
Deciding on a theme and focusing on big impact items
Having a theme, or at least a color scheme, in mind when shopping helps you to focus what you are looking for. For Christmas my color scheme is red and gold with a traditional aesthetic. I had mostly neutral Halloween displays last year but I plan on adding some orange and purple this year. I do a nautical theme with red and blue to work for the fourth of July for my summer decor.
Having a cohesive theme for your decor helps each item to make a bigger impact and allows you to use less decor and therefore spend less money.
Looking for ways to save this fall? Join me for my Fall Dinner Challenge and learn how to save money by cooking homemade meals rather than going out.
You can also save by having one or two big impact items. When decorating a mantle for fall this may be some fall foliage garland. For Thanksgiving you could design a centerpiece around a ceramic turkey. The key to saving by doing this is to use less pieces by centering on one or two main items and to only be willing to spend a little more on items that make a big impact. You can then fill in with cheaper items.
For smaller items I check out the dollar store and 99 cents stores along with thrift stores. You can usually find small items for .99 cents at thrift stores!
This is my “faux mantle” as I like to call it in our apartment. The cornucopia, plate, and squirrel came from Goodwill. The foliage, scarecrow, vase fillers, and signs from Dollar Tree
. The Turkey, pumpkin, and owl are from Big Lots
. The plate was a gift and I made the apothecary jars from vases, candle sticks, and I use glass ash trays all found at another thrift store!
Try to think of how you can use items from one holiday for another holiday. Have a fake pumpkin that says “Boo” on one side? Turn it around after Halloween to keep using it for thanksgiving. Use red ribbon or a red tablecloth at Christmas and Valentine’s day. Fill a basket or apothecary jar with fall leaves in October and November then fill it with eggs at Easter, seashells in the summer, etc.
DIY some things
With the explosion of Pinterest in recent years it is easier than ever to find ideas and instructions for making your own decorations for every holiday. But don’t think this only applies to complicated projects. There are hundreds of options for free printables. A free printable in a frame or a printed banner are super easy ways to add some festivity on the cheap. The Halloween wreath at the top of the page is homemade with a wreath I found at Goodwill and Dollar Tree items!
One last small tip is to use coupons!
Hobby lobby and Michael’s frequently have coupons. If you want multiple items and find a coupon online that you can print (Or show on your phone) multiple times buy just one item at a time! This may seem tedious but when you have a Pinterest worthy tablescape bought all at 40% off it’ll be worth it!
I hope you enjoyed these tips and are inspired to start gearing up for the rapidly approaching holiday season!
If you have any other tricks or questions let me know below!
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