A “Festive frugal fun” banner over a snowy landscape

Holiday cheer is sure to be in high demand this year … but not the kind that puts lots of pressure on your wallet. When it comes to decking the halls, festive, frugal, and fun is the name of the game. Whether you’re into DIY decorations, handmade holiday décor, or creative winter ideas, a little craftiness can go a long way to help you create the cozy home you crave all winter long.

Try out these tips to decorate smart, so you can sit back and enjoy your eggnog — without having to nurse a holiday spending hangover come January.

Upcycle keepsakes of holidays past.

Give your old holiday décor and keepsakes new life to fill your home with a refreshed take on your favorite sentimental decorations (and you won’t even have to dip into your holiday budget).

Bust out the old holiday cards: Warning — this may require a bit of digging in your drawers. Find your family’s holiday cards from winters past and string them together using twine and clothes pins to make a garland full of memories. Or, skip the string and showcase your cards on your mantle for an easy and sweet display.

Gif of greeting cards hanging from a garland

Give old ornaments a new home: You love the box of ornaments grandma passed down to you, but those retro orbs don’t match the rest hanging on your tree. Instead of trying to hide them in those hard-to-reach places in the back of the tree, use them to fill up a large glass vase. It’s a modern way to show off classic ornaments and can be used as a table centerpiece or to spruce up a mantle or shelf.

And if you have additional ornaments of all shapes and sizes that may not fit in a vase, consider stringing them up with pieces of ribbon and hanging them along a staircase or in front of windows.

Swap décor with a friend: If you’ve decorated with the same pieces for years, you may want a change of festive scenery. Consider a seasonal swap with a friend or family member, so your homes can each enjoy a new look this winter — and you won’t have to spend a dime.

Tech the Halls 

The holidays are all about getting back to basics, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of technology to add some (pumpkin pie) spice to your place.

Cozy up by the (TV) fire: No fireplace, no problem. You can still enjoy the crackling comfort and flickering flames of chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Just search for “fireplace” on Netflix or YouTube and you can stream hours of fire content. It’s an enchanting backdrop, especially if you’re entertaining, and there’s no chimney maintenance required.

Gif of a fake fire playing on a TV screen

Control your lights from anywhere: Strings and strings of twinkly lights? There’s an app for that. This year, don’t get tangled in wires and cords each time you want to unplug your holiday lights — upgrade to app-controlled lights instead. With this smart technology, you can turn your lights on and off from your smart phone (or even an Alexa or other voice-controlled device). More advanced technology gives you control over the light brightness, lets you create custom color patterns, set your lights to music, and more.

Forget the stress and focus on festive.

Don’t let filling your space with joy fill you with stress. Keep the holidays simple and the décor smart — so you can spend more time focusing on what really matters: food, family, and finding the best deals for presents.

Decorate for the season, not a holiday: If you want your decorations to last from Thanksgiving to New Years, focus on festooning the majority of your home with pieces, patterns, and pigments that can translate from one celebration to the next.

Pick a color scheme: Don’t necessarily have the decorating twinkle in your eye? No worries. Choose a color or two and base the core of your décor on those. This will give you direction when picking out new decorations and can give you inspiration for repurposing old ones. For example, use spray paint in your chosen colors to update old ornaments to match — and come next year, you can reuse the same ones with a fresh coat of paint in a new color.

Get inspired by your backyard: Pinecones and twigs are not just for the birds. With some matte gold or shiny silver spray paint, a little glitter, or even just some Mod Podge spray, you can transform these outdoor items into inexpensive centerpieces that will spruce up any dining table.

Gif of DIY spray-painted pinecone decor

Keep the holidays easy, breezy, and bright.

For some, decorating for the holidays is a treasured tradition, but for others it may feel like an overwhelming (and expensive) task. If that’s you, give these tips a try to make your home feel jolly and bright without bending over backwards or breaking the bank this holiday season.

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