You finally bought your dream home, and with the holidays approaching, you want to dress it up in festive style. While now may not be the best time to begin your hunt for a grand display, don’t give up hope.
10 tips for fine Christmas decorations that won’t blow the budget
1. A Holiday Decoration Swap Party is a creative way to provide you and your guests with “new” used decorations. If you already have some holiday items but would like a change, you probably aren’t alone. Throw a party and encourage everyone to bring unwanted decorations to exchange with other guests. This is a fun, eco-friendly way to recycle the old and bring in the new.
2. Auctions — especially estate auctions — are a must for the more discerning shopper who is always on the lookout for quality décor at bargain prices. People store holiday decorations in attics, often in closed boxes that can turn out to be virtual grab bags of vintage and unique holiday items. The only drawback is that you may not be able to view the individual items prior to bidding on them.
3. Craft Fairs and Holiday Bazaars offer a huge variety of handmade decorations if you prefer a homier look. You may have to shop around for bargains, as some of these items can get a bit pricey. Charity and non-profit groups will probably offer the best bargains for these crafty items.
4. Craigslist is always at the top of my list for a wide variety of seasonal bargains. You never know what will turn up there, and sometimes folks are practically giving items away just to get rid of them. You can browse photos of local offerings and practice your bartering skills to get the best prices on new, used and even handmade holiday items.
5. Surplus Sales Stores are often huge warehouses of items that have been purchased as overstock or out-of-date products. Inventory changes constantly as new items arrive, but they usually put out Christmas items during the holidays. You should check for damage before you make a purchase, but the rock bottom prices make it well worth your while.
6. Goodwill and Local Thrift Stores can be treasure troves of holiday décor. In fact, they are often so inundated with these donations they actually put a limit on how much Christmas cheer you can donate. This can result in a huge score if you are flexible and willing to do a little digging. Many Goodwill stores even slash prices 50 to 75 percent on holiday items the week before Christmas.
7. Dollar Tree is a great place to pick up the basics. The selection may be limited, but everything in the store — including holiday décor — is only a dollar. They also carry wrapping paper, party ware and inexpensive stocking-stuffer-type gifts, making a trip to this local retailer well worth your time. Online shopping is available as well, often with low flat-rate shipping.
8. Oriental Trading is the go-to place for savings during the holidays — or any other special occasion, for that matter. They offer a large variety of merchandise online or through their catalog. Though you need to budget for shipping, their selection, prices and pre-Christmas sales make this site a real contender when cruising for holiday bargains.
9. Big Box and Chain Retailers are some of the best options if you like to think ahead. You can expect bargains of 50 to 75 percent off holiday items in the days and weeks following Christmas as these retailers work to clear their shelves of seasonal items. This is a great strategy if you have the space to store your treasures until next year rolls around.
10. Garage Sales are another option for the pre-planner who wants to get the most bang for their buck. Since garage sales are usually held during summer months, the sellers aren’t thinking about decorating a holiday tree. They hope to clear their home of unwanted junk — and it’s been said that one man’s junk is another’s treasure. If you are in the market for these festive fares, you can usually snag them for mere pennies on a dollar.
11. Go Shopping During A Slow Time of Day when most stores are restocking so you get your first pick of items. Typically, stores have lulls in the early morning, mid-afternoon, or late at night. If you choose to go shopping at one of these times, make sure you are well-rested. Driving with less than 6 hours of sleep triples your risk of a car accident, and that’s something that no one wants during the most wonderful time of the year (you know you sang along to it in your head).
Holiday decorating doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little imagination or a bit of forethought, you can make your house a holiday showcase your friends and neighbors will be discussing for months to come.
Megan Wild is a young twenty-something who is constantly trying to make the most of her dollar to decorate her digs (also loves alliteration). You can read more of her home decorating tips at Your Wild Home.