Budgeting 103: Decorate for Christmas without breaking the bank!
Every Christmas, there’s at least ONE house in every neighborhood decked out with so many lights and lawn ornaments that it could probably be seen from space on a clear night. Forget the initial expense of buying all those lights and glowing plastic luminaries, imagine the electricity usage! The numbers on the electric meter are changing so fast they’re probably an unreadable blur. And if the house is that decorated on the outside, you know the interior is just as festive. Imagine also the amount of time to decorate, then after the season, to un-decorate. Let’s not forget storing it all. If you can’t fit it all in your home, you need to rent a storage locker for a year. That adds up to thousands of dollars a year to transform your residence into a festive Christmas spot for about 4-6 weeks depending on how early you start, and when you take it all down.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with spending that kind of money IF you are doing it to make YOURSELF happy, and you can afford it. If you’re just doing it to impress people you don’t know, or you’re trying to outdo the Jones’s on the corner with their ‘impressive’ display, you really need to examine your heart. Christmas is a great time of happiness and fellowship for the majority (despite some of the Christmas headaches) and should you care more about your friends and family than how your home looks. So here’s a few things to help save you money (and sanity) decorating for Christmas.
K.I.S.S. – Keep It Super Simple
- Limit the number of lawn and outdoor pieces. Less is more. People will see a light up nativity scene or plastic Santa a lot easier it it’s not hidden among a 100 other luminaries on your lawn.
- Instead of stringing lights all over your house, save time and money by projecting the lights with a laser light projector.
- Decorate a room, or two at most. You don’t need to deck EVERY hall.
- DIY – Don’t buy expensive Christmas decorations. A few craft supplies can be used to make homemade ornaments, spruce up pine cones with paint and glitter, or whatever your mind can imagine. Be creative, but remember crafting takes time and skill. You can only do what you can do. I wowed a couple of my guests this year with simple holly rings ( which I made myself with craft supplies ) added to the bases of cheap votive candles.
- Don’t buy ‘collectible’ ornaments! Every year Hallmark and several other chains release HUNDREDS of expensive ornaments for every fandom base there is. They are cheap plastic trinkets that will never go up in value, and cost big bucks. No one cries when they accidentally break a simple glass ball. But Barbie’s limited edition Pink Corvette from 1997 or the Millennium Falcon? These will bring a fanboy or fangirl to tears when they break.
- Pine cones are FREE, go for a walk in the woods and gather a couple dozen. Just be sure to clean and disinfect them if you find them in the wild, you don’t want bugs invading your home.
- Use pine cones, a glass bowl, real greens and candles to make your own center piece.
- Take advantage of after Christmas Holiday clearance sales and stock up for next year now. I’m always able to get a collection of spare Santa hats for my guests for pennies on the dollar every year after the stores mark them down. I’ve gotten a dozen glass balls for 75¢ ! Wrapping paper is never so cheap as it is after Christmas. Just make sure to store everything you pre-buy for next year properly. I use Red Plastic Totes, and Ziploc bags, then put these all in the walk-in closet where I can find them. I have a special ornament tote, and wrapping paper tote to keep these safe as well.
The money and time you save will make you jolly each Christmas, and allow you quality time with friends and family.
As always I wish you happiness and success! And God bless us, everyone.