Good Holidays: Decorating on a budget

by Catherine Sweeney, Creative Circle
December 10, 2015

Last year, 82 percent of Americans planned to buy new holiday decorations, according to U.S. News and World Report.  

How about enjoying more decorating fun, at less cost, with more creativity? Try thrifting and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) holiday décor.

If you’re not a DIY-er, you’ll find lots of great decorations that you can buy right off the shelf at Goodwill, including trees, wreaths, knick-knacks and much more. If you enjoy DIY or want to try it out, check out the projects below—or the ones featured on our blog. These feature basic items that you can thrift, and then easily transform into gorgeous decorations. 

Glass bowls, vases, and stemware
Fill glass bowls, vases and candy/apothecary jars with ornaments (all available at Goodwill). Or place a plain white candle in a bowl or glass candle holder and surround it with hard candies at the base, as shown in the blog Magnet Street. Scroll down the Magnet Street blog to see some eye-catching, whimsical ways to use thrifted stemware, too!

Watch for simple, clear glass vases on Goodwill’s aisles. Add some floating candles, surrounded by water and fresh holly, as shown in the blog 33 Shades of Green.

Simple decorations with trays and candles
Thrift a metal tray, fill it with lit candles and/or ornaments, and create a radiant focal point for your coffee or dining table. You could also thrift votive candle-holders or some tall and pretty candlesticks. Click here for some table setting inspiration.

Mason jars
Mason jars make perfect candle holders. See how lovely they look in these photos by blogger Anastasia Marie. Add golden glitter to the base of the candle holder for a shimmery effect.

For outdoor luminaria, fill mason jars about a quarter-full with Epsom salts (for a snowy look, plus stability), then place a votive candle in each one, and line your walkway, as shown on HGTV.

Mirrors add light to any room and beautifully reflect tree lights and candles. To give an old mirror a wintery look, follow these directions from HGTV.

To add color and festive style, cover the mirror frame completely in ornaments, as shown by Martha Stewart.

DIY is a satisfying way to decorate, as you use your own creativity and help the environment through re-use. Plus, your DIY décor will be unique to you and your home. Get ready to create and enjoy!


Catherine Sweeney, APR is a professional writer and communicator affiliated with Creative Circle. She dedicates her Goodwill blog-writing in memory of her mom, an avid thrift-shopper and advocate for social change. 

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