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Dec 8, 2017

Ten Inexpensive Ways to Decorate for Christmas

Jennifer Voelkel
Blogger at The Craft Patch

When I was at Deseret Industries the other day, the man behind me in the checkout line said, “Wow! I never thought to buy Christmas stuff here before! You found some cool things!”

This man joined the ranks of those who know that shopping at thrift stores is one of the best ways to save money on Christmas decor. Here are a few of the best Christmas decorations to look for and how to spruce them up with some holiday cheer.

Artificial Christmas trees

Start with the basics. Christmas trees can be one of the most expensive holiday decorations, but you can find them at thrift stores for low prices. Check out my find!

Christmas tree bought at Deseret Industries
I bought this beautiful artificial Christmas tree at DI three or four years ago.

Outside decor

Christmas picks and greenery can be put together in amazing combinations to deck the halls of your home inside as well as your wonderland outside. You can find all sorts of beautiful greenery and picks at thrift stores. 

Poinsettias in a watering can
You can find everything you need for this floral arrangement at DI.

What you need to make something like this:

  • Poinsettias
  • Faux pine branches
  • Watering can  

Arrange the poinsettias and pine branches in the watering can. You can use different-sized branches to add variety and even spray-paint the watering can a holiday color.


You can also make Christmas garlands using thrifted greenery and branches.

I made this garland for my mantelpiece; all its pine greenery is from a thrift store. Besides greenery, you can find other items for garlands while you’re out thrifting—ornaments, lights, anything!

What you need to make something like this: 

  • Garland or pine greenery
  • Branches
  • Add-ons (ornaments, lights, glitter, etc.)

Floral arrangements

Don’t let a dated floral arrangement fool you. With some rearranging, adding, and subtracting, you can create something modern and beautiful.

I found this Christmas floral arrangement that looked a little old and worn, but it had some good pieces—and I was going to put that potential to good use.
After a little work, I had an entirely new-looking and inexpensive Christmas floral arrangement.

What you need to make something like this:

  • Floral arrangement
  • Anything new you’d like to add in! Use ribbons, poinsettias, candles, etc.

Vintage items

My favorite things to look for at DI are vintage items I can repurpose or use in unexpected ways.

Last year, I bought a pair of white ice skates for a few dollars, and the decoration I made with them is one of my favorite for the wintertime.

What you need to make something like this:

  • Ice skates
  • Red floral picks
  • Greenery
Vintage ice skates used a Christmas decoration
I hung my vintage ice skates over a chalkboard on my wall.

There are all kinds of neat vintage items you can find at thrift stores, and the decoration possibilities are endless.

Here’s a recent thrift-store haul. Take note of the cute, vintage Santa platter (which only cost 50 cents, by the way) and the vintage pink ornaments.
I added the vintage pink ornaments to my mantelpiece.


I've purchased a lot of Christmas ribbon at DI through the years. This sparkly green ribbon was used to decorate both my mantelpiece and my Christmas tree.

Here’s a ribbon worked into my mantelpiece garland.

Extra ribbon? Use it to wrap presents or save it for next year!

Wooden crafts

Thrift stores have lots of wooden holiday crafts, both finished and unfinished. Sometimes the finished wooden crafts might seem a bit dated, but a fresh coat of paint can make a world of difference.

This wooden Santa just needs an artistic hand and some paint.
This block craft is ready to use as is!

Keep an open mind!

Seasonal dishes

Cute Christmas dishes are fun to display in a china hutch or on open kitchen shelves.

The lime green Christmas elf dishes had an entire setting of four plates and bowls—perfect for a holiday table.

Candles and candleholders

Thrift-store candleholders can make a beautiful centerpiece for a Christmas Eve dinner. They are an inexpensive way to make the night even more memorable and special.

Aren’t these candleholders charming? Mismatched items can be just as beautiful as identical sets.

What you need to make something like this:

  • 7–8 different candleholders and candles
  • Pinecones
  • Fabric for a table runner

Arrange the items together any way you like!

Sweaters and fabric items

Sweaters and clothes can become fun decorative items. You can also buy thrifted pillow forms and make new covers for them.

I recently turned a gray sweater into this sweater pillow. It’s so soft!

It’s totally possible to decorate your home for the holidays with thrifted items. All it takes is a little creativity, a lot of Christmas spirit, and a few trips to DI!

Jennifer Voelkel is a craft maven, savvy shopper, and DIY pro who blogs at The Craft Patch. When she’s not blogging or dreaming up her next project, Jennifer can be found gardening, running, reading, teaching music lessons, or playing kickball with her three kids.