Unlike all those recipe blogs that make you read until the end just to find the instructions, I won’t leave you in suspense. I bought all my holiday decor (okay, almost all my holiday décor) at Target.
This year, like many of you, my holiday season looks incredibly different. This is the first year in well over a decade that I am jobless for the holidays, and that means my wallet has finally got what she’s always wanted from me – a budget. In lighter news, this is the first year I’m sharing an apartment with my partner for the holidays. That means that sadly I had to say goodbye to my old faithful pink light up mini Christmas tree. And along with that, I didn’t think any of my hot pink, turquoise, or purple mini ornaments would be necessary. So, I arrived at this dilemma, “how am I going to decorate, basically from scratch, while pinching pennies?”
I looked on Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, all my favorite inspiration mediums, to see if there were any new elements I wanted to incorporate. This year’s theme included a limited color palette and more natural elements; colors of bronze, copper, gold, white, and green, multiple trees in varying sizes and cozy elements, like throws and pillows.
Next, before I decided what to buy, I located a few areas in the house that I would want to decorate. We decided on our tree placement, and I knew both the bed and couch could use some pillows. I figured the TV area would need something along with my coffee bar and the front door. With this in mind I went about making a rough list of items:
- Front Door Mat
- Throw Pillows or Themed Pillowcases
- Garland or Lights (for TV stand)
- Miscellaneous Tabletop Items (for a desk in the living room)
- Wall Art
- Ornaments & Tree Decor
I checked our stash and determined what we could reuse or repurpose. I knew that we already planned to utilize our faux tree and include some of the existing ornaments from holidays past, but I still wanted to create a specific look and feel that required some purchases. I decided to follow all my fellow basics down the wide, white tiled aisles of our favorite go-to store.
Fun ways to extend the life of ornaments: spray paint faded ornaments in matte or metallic paints and use them on the tree, in a bowl for décor, glue together for a DIY wreath, or string them along shelves/cubbies/mantles for a touch of whimsy.
Deck the Halls, Deck the Walls
With my colors selected and my love of textures guiding me, I made my first Christmas décor purchase on November 3rd (exactly a month ago as I’m typing this). Here’s what I picked up:
- Metal “Merry” Sign | $10
- Winter Birdie | $5
- Small Flocked Tree | $5
- Black Nutcracker | $10
- Clear Bubble String Lights | $10*
- TOTAL $40
There’s a little décor moment happening to the left of the TV and to the right of the vintage desk in the living room featuring a white winter tree with light up tips that I picked up during Halloween season, a couple vases, a large white pearlescent pumpkin, a giant candle and a decorative pillow. Above that I hung the Merry sign, and on the desk, I added the bundled-up birdie, and two mini trees from Target (one was purchased at a later time).
The next Target purchase included most of the finishing touches for our current décor situation.
- 72” White Pom Pom Bell Garland | $15
- (3) Gold Glitter Snowflake Ornaments | $3
- (40ct) Earthy Toned Ornaments | $20
- (50ct) Gold & Copper Ornaments |$15
- Black & White Plaid Tree Skirt | $30
- (60ct) Pure White Twinkle Lights | $14*
- (100ct) Green Ornament Hooks | $1.50
- (24ct) Champagne Mini Ornaments | $5
- Felt Snowman Ornament | $3
- Creeping Grinch Ornament | $8
- TOTAL $100.50
*At the time there was a BOGO sale on lights. We purchased (2) strands of both the bubble garland and pure white lights, plus we utilized a strand from last year.
Finally, due to my love of Homegoods and my desire to not have a Target house, I picked up a few more items.
- White & Gold Merry Christmas Pillowcase | $20
- Red Plaid Merry Beaded Pillow | $10
- Dark Grey Tree Pillow | $10
- White Peace on Earth Pillow | $10
- TOTAL $50
Utilizing ornaments already in our collection, I strung some up below our upper kitchen cabinets above my coffee bar. The couch pillows got a holiday makeover. I repurposed the dried eucalyptus from the living room above the headboard and weaved in a strand of the bubble lights then flipped our fuzzy white bedroom throw to showcase the red plaid lining. Et voila, my decorating was basically complete!
While, for many of us with limited incomes, $200 is a chunk of money, there are still ways to allocate a smaller budget and create a festive environment.
- Utilize the Target dollar spot
- Check thrift stores and seasonal sections of stores like Daiso
- Incorporate natural décor elements like popcorn, dried oranges, and candy canes
- Opt for mini versions of holiday favorites (mini wreaths, dwarf rosemary trees, mini ornaments, and fairy lights)
- DIY pieces like garlands and wreaths that can run upwards of $50-1000
By now, as we’re a full week into December, many of us have already decorated but I hope this gives you some ideas on where you add or ways to decorate for future seasons.