Let’s jump right in; the holidays.
Am I getting a little ahead of myself? No. I tend to jump into holiday mode as soon as it is consistently below 55 degrees for over a week. Once Halloween is over, just forget about it because the decorations are going up. I am known to my friends and family as somewhat of a ‘Christmas-nut,’ or as I like to ever so gently re-label myself a ‘Holiday Connoisseur.’ Yes.
In fact, I am so notorious, I think every member of my family has already tagged me in at least one holiday meme on Facebook.
A million times yes. Can you relate?
I will admit the Holidays come with a lot of stress. I have definitely made the mistake some years of ‘Holiday-ing’ a little too hard, too soon, and burning out days before the actual event. And by ‘burn out’ I mean emotionally and financially, because those decorations are expensive! Being such a Holiday connoisseur, I feel morally obligated to share my top 5 tips to save money over the holidays, in particular, ways to budget your holiday decorating!
Because I am such a practiced ‘Christmas-er,’ I have a pretty good stockpile of decorations and I have a good rhythm down each year. When you love the holidays, it’s hard not to go a little crazy! Everything is just so tempting… My first piece of advise when it comes to saving $$ over the holidays;
1. Pick a theme.
It’s kind of the anti-advise, but yes, a great way to save money during the holidays is to simply buy less. Which is just so hard. But, if you pick a theme each year, you automatically rule out ALL of the things that do not fall into your chosen category. This makes me feel less deprived, more focused, and who doesn’t love a little congruency in their Holiday Decorating.
Some themes I have done over the years are
- Decorating for a White Christmas
- Rustic Christmas Decorations (Well, HEELLLOOO PLAID)
- Whimsical Christmas Decorations (aka decorating with gnomes)
2. Don’t shop online.
NOOOOOOOO. But online shopping is like my #1 de-stressing, happy-hormone releasing, from-the-couch doing, everything! Exactly, that’s why it’s expensive; it’s awesome. Let’s just face it, when you’re looking to save money on your holiday shopping, you have to get off the couch. For Budget Friendly Christmas shopping, you are going to have to exert a liiiiittle more effort. But that’s totally fine, because what’s better during the holidays than going to, let’s just say the mall for example, and meandering through all the cheesy mall-decorations! It’s the little things, people.
But why…I’ll tell you. Big box stores such as Walmart, Target, etc. don’t update their inventory online, and ESPECIALLY not the clearance sections. This little patch of heaven is different in every store. If you have ever said something like, “That target is so good!” then you know what I mean.
Coming from someone who does half of their grocery shopping while seated at the kitchen table, advising other consumers not to shop online is… hard for me? I feel like a total hypocrite. But you just can’t deny the fact that stores do not post their best bargains online! It’s just true. Not to mention online shopping takes away our ability to do a little basic quality control *ahem* you get what you pay for…UNLESS it’s on sale, and then it’s just a great deal. Holiday Decorations are an investment, you want something that will last, or at least I do (another reason I can’t DIY for the life of me; 5 hours of hard work, 3 days of mess to clean up, and the thing falls apart after one season). OK! Hopping off of my soap box now.
3. Do some price comparison.
I am a little skeptical of ‘bargain’ stores. I often find similar prices and poor quality, and I think the poor quality is to trick us into thinking we are getting a deal. Think, “Hmm, this is terrible quality, so it must be cheaper than other stores with better quality!” Not always true…For example; I love the Christmas Tree Shops so much. It’s your one-stop garden-party-hosting/random-decor- you-never-knew-you-needed shop! However if you’re looking to save money, stick to the party supplies. In terms of holiday decor, you might as well go to Home Goods or shop on Amazon because the prices are comparable.
The Dollar Tree is another one I avoid at all costs. It is a DIY-ers dream, and I am not a DIY-er as we have already established. Just the mental exhaustion of going there and picking through…what is all of that stuff anyways…to find something remotely useful is bad enough. Again, party supplies.
4. All Hail Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, and Craigslist.
One mans trash….OK nothing I have ever spent money on and used in my home from marketplace, Ebay, or Craigslist is trash. It’s stuff that was really expensive new that someone kind of wanted/didn’t really need, used for a few years, experienced late-onset buyers remorse and tried to sell it. They tried to sell it for close to the purchase price but no one wanted it because if I’m going to pay close to purchase price I’m going to buy the damn thing brand new AMIRIGHT?! So they dropped the price, like, significantly.
Take my stocking hangers, for example. Beautiful Pottery Barn wrought iron stocking holders, I believe I paid $15 for a set of 5. The description literally said something along the lines of; “I bought these brand new two years ago, but we are remodeling our fireplace and don’t have a mantle to put them on anymore.”
I’m telling you, if you want to find Quality Holiday Decorations on a budget, bookmark these three sites.
5. Become a Regular at Your Local Goodwill.
Make an afternoon of it. Pack a lunch and canvas a few of them in your local area, every Wednesday. If this sounds like a terrible waste of a Wednesday afternoon, navigate on my [friend?]. You know you want a frosty the snowman mug, complete with scarf, for $0.30. Because decorating is in the details (dishtowels) which leads me to my last little tidbit of advice!
There you have it, my friends. Phew! I’m ready to jump right in! It’s really taking every ounce of control I have to not hang up my wreath – let’s just try to make it through Halloween… :P.
But remember, there are other ways to dive into the Holiday spirit without potentially offending others living in your home who may not share your enthusiasm for the holidays… For instance, who is going to know if you throw on a Hallmark movie during your well-earned alone time? Maybe do a little baking, or throw some vanilla, orange peel and cranberries in your slow-cooker and let the aroma of all-things-Christmas fill your nose….the possibilities are endless…
Until next time!