It’s the most wonderful time of the year- that is until my holiday budget winds up on a runaway train. Gifts, decor, party hosting, charities: It adds up fast.
So today I’m sharing three little ways to save on holiday decor.
Free Holiday Greens
I love to use fresh evergreen sprigs for DIY wreaths and decor. I could buy bundles of greens at my local florist or nursery but that would be silly considering I can get them for free. How?
Well, my local big box hardware store sells fresh Christmas trees in their nursery area. As a courtesy, employees trim unwanted branches from the trees to tidy them up for customers.
These unwanted branches sit in a big pile and, if I ask nicely, the employees always let me take some. In fact, they usually encourage me to take as much as I can carry. After all, it’s less for them to dispose of. And I get a nice mix since they sell spruce, fir, and pine trees.
I use the branches in garlands and to decorate my front porch.
And in simple floral arrangements.
My wreath last year cost me nothing. I just used the free greens with a wreath form and some garnishes I already had. Basically, the wreath was made up of scraps.
It was not my best work, but you get the picture. To make it, I used the same method as when I made this foraged wreath a couple of years ago.
I also added a little holiday cheer to my greenhouse by making a Frankenstein monster of a tree. I used a section of a large branch that we had on hand as the “trunk.”
My husband drilled a hole in the “trunk,”
I placed some greens into it,
Put it in a pot, and added some lights.
I ended up with what looked like a little topiary tree for the greenhouse entrance. (This photo was taken before we added the new greenhouse foundation.)
But my mom, Erika, takes it a step farther. She uses bare branches from her own garden to create holiday beauty.
Using Bare Branches
Once the leaves fall from the trees, the beautiful structure of the branches is revealed. Mom spray painted cuttings from a small dogwood tree to create this wintry look for her fireplace mantel.
She used 6-foot-long branches from a mountain ash tree, some curly willow branches, and more of the dogwood branches to create this winter arrangement in an oversize urn.
The mountain ash branches are painted white.
She also used ormanental seed heads from her garden and some silk flowers she had on hand.
This large arrangement will be a stand-in for her Christmas tree – a fun and beautiful change of pace.
At some point, I want to try a different version of Mom’s idea: Taking several large, straight cut branches and turning them into a small indoor forest.
A Dollar Store Find
Last year, I noticed that my local dollar store sold shipping supplies, including five-yard rolls of brown shipping paper. It was thicker than the craft paper I had seen at craft stores.
I was burned out on gaudy holiday bling and in the mood for understated, organic-looking decor. So I bought a roll to use as gift wrap.
I used strips of unbleached muslin and burlap fabrics (leftovers from other projects) as ribbons and bows.
I stenciled some of the packages.
And monogrammed some of them. The thick paper held up well to the craft paint.
I really kept it simple, but I love how these packages turned out – with a bit of an “old-world” vibe.
Since I have a lot of shipping paper left, I’ll be experimenting with new looks this season.
So when it comes to holiday decor, free can actually get you pretty far – and so can a dollar.
Note: All posts on this blog are for entertainment only and not intended as tutorials.
You might also enjoy:
- Holiday Gifts Ideas: Burlap and Yarn
- The Foraged Wreath
- Rustic Greenhouse Lights from a Mad Scientist
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