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When the budget has been tight for as long as you can remember, you struggle in the every day. Somehow, I find myself obsessing over things that I simply have no control; trying to figure out things that seem to have no answer. My husband has a good job, and we live pretty frugally, but still–8 kids, a horse, a bunny, two dogs, and a flock of chickens? It can be down right tricky keeping everyone fed and clothed, let alone meeting wants. But sometimes, you just want pretty stuff. You get tired of scraping by and making do and settling, tired of feeling like frugal equals ugly and plain. That’s where decorating on a budget comes in.
Our simple holidays
I just love the fall and the holidays. I’m sentimental, so memories tend to take over, and I just wrap myself in them this time of year like a big, cozy blanket. I love that feeling, but I also get caught up in how much I can’t do during the holidays. The last time I spent money on decorations that were brand new was, oh, I don’t know–NEVER–okay, maybe once or twice.
Our first Christmas tree was a hand-me-down from my parents, and we literally used it until the thing fell down (nearly taking the toddler and me out with it). I wouldn’t be exaggerating one single bit if I told you that I have never, ever bought a Halloween (aside from the occasional pumpkin to carve), Thanksgiving, or New Year’s decoration. Our budget has really never allowed it.
I am not telling you all that to make you feel sorry for us. We do what we need to do, and we aren’t left in need–ever! God provides our needs and even our wants so often that I am overwhelmed at just being reminded of how good He has been to us. I’m telling you this so that if you are in the same boat, it’s okay. And you can decorate and have fun despite the budget restrictions.
Decorating on a Budget
Last year, we hosted Thanksgiving at our house, something we’ve only done a couple of times in the past. My oldest daughter, being the lover-of-all-things-adorable that she is, and I being the practical, yet wanting-something-nice person that I am, came together and decorated a rather pretty fall centerpiece–absolutely FREE!
Here’s what we did:
- Got ideas from Pinterest (because, I really don’t have a creative bone in my body!)
- From there, we tried to decided what we had on hand:
- We found jars and candles and scraps of fabric.
- We foraged for pine cones, twigs, and pine needles.
- Realizing we needed some color, we opted for mandarins & dry split peas (which happened to be leftovers from a science project).
- Melted the candles down a bit in the jars and put the split peas inside the jars. It made a really neat effect.
- Cut strips of the white and orange fabric with pinking shears, then tied them around the jars.
- The fun part: arrange it all according to taste!
Make it Memorable!
Not only did we not spend a dime–not even a DIME, ya’ll–we had the best time! It’s one of those big, cozy blanket memories. I also realized that I don’t have to buy decorations; there’s beauty and supplies hanging around that we don’t even consider.
Just as importantly as being free, my heart smiled at the simple beauty. It made me realize that so much can be found in nature (God’s glorious creation), and putting the right pieces together make a wonderful center. When I think of this Thanksgiving, I’m reminded of God’s goodness–His love for us being such that He cares about even the little things.
As you plan this year, don’t let the lack of wiggle room in the budget make you not want to embrace the loveliness of the holidays; use it instead to drive you to create something from nothing. If you have a little money to spend, check out your local thrift store. There’s no telling what kind of treasures you’ll find there! But most importantly, don’t feel like a tight budget means ugly and bland or boring and dull. Instead, embrace it and use what you do have available to you, and you’ll find that decorating on a budget can be fun.
Make big, cozy blanket memories this year!