Vintage Inspired Christmas Decorating Ideas on a Budget

Discover Christmas decorating ideas on a budget like DIY wreaths, handmade ornaments, and festive decor for a cozy holiday home.

Let’s dive into amazing Christmas decorating ideas that you can use this year! These inexpensive Christmas decor ideas will have you ready for the holiday season in no time!

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Christmas decorating ideas for a mantle

This time of year is a fun time to bring the holiday spirit to our fireplace mantle. We have decorated this space in several ways over the years. Here are some of the ways we have decked the halls over the fireplace!

  • I love to decorate with vintage ironstone. So, I used fake greenery from Hobby Lobby to fill white ironstone pitchers. To make it go further, I cut the fake garland into smaller sections. This is an easy way to get more for your dollar!)
  • add fresh greenery throughout the mantle. Create a garland by threading it through the pitchers and adding fairy lights. This will give your fireplace mantle a festive touch without spending too much.
  • use thrift store jingle bells throughout the mantle. Spray paint them if needed and use glue or Mod Podge to add sparkle to the jingle bells.

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Christmas tree DIY ornaments

Making DIY Christmas tree ornaments is a wonderful tradition in our home. We have made our own ornaments since the first year we were married. 

Let me know if you make some of your Christmas tree ornaments! I would love to hear about them in the comments section at the end of this post!

Here are a few of the handmade ornaments I have made over the years. Many of these ideas came before I was blogging but I hope to create blog posts in the future for some of those Christmas projects!

  • Buy thrifted berry garland from our local thrift store. Paint it if you want. Choose a color to coordinate with the color scheme of your tree. You could change the color each year!
  • Use scrap wood to build an old-fashioned-looking wood crate. Use reclaimed fence pickets to create a focal point for your main Christmas tree. Build smaller versions for your mini trees using paint stir sticks and wood glue!
  • Gather pine cones, and add some ribbon and a wire hanger to create DIY ornaments for your tree. Paint them using white paint for a snowy effect. (These also make great gift toppers instead of a bow!)
  • Use more of those pine cones from your pine trees and apply gilding wax in gold and silver. Add a ribbon and call it a day!
  • Create your own icicle DIY Christmas ornaments using beads, heavy string, and ribbon. Use graduated sizes of beads and have fun! Paint them or leave them natural.
  • Grab a wood bead garland from your local thrift store and paint it gold. You can also find colorful wood-beaded garland (or plastic) at the dollar store. Grab some gold spray paint and give it an upscale look in minutes!
  • A thrift store white tablecloth is a budget-friendly way to create a snowy tree skirt. Tablecloths are often only a couple of dollars at a thrift store. You can find different fabrics, like curtains and thick bedspreads, including white chenille and white sheets.
  • Get a bag of fresh cranberries, heavy string, and a sewing needle, and make your own cranberry garland! Watch a classic Christmas movie like “White Christmas” and make a traditional garland for your home.
  • Make an orange slice and cranberry garland. Dry thinly sliced oranges in the oven then string them with cranberries. You can also use hot glue to attach orange slices and cranberries to jute twine for a similar look. Drape the garland on your tree branches. Drape this garland on a tree in your yard for your outdoor Christmas decorations.
  • Use the dried orange slices individually as colorful ornaments for your tree. Simply tie the jute twine in a loop and use a hot glue gun to attach the loop to the orange slices. Get your kids involved with these easy DIY projects. Use caution with kiddos and that hot glue gun!
  • Stitch felt Christmas ornaments in the shapes of angels, stars, or small tree shapes. Stay tuned, I’m creating a tutorial for this idea!

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diy Christmas wreaths

Upcycle a thrift store wreath for your front door this holiday season. You can find a wreath base or wreath form for just a few dollars.  

Even if the wreath was not intended for the Christmas season! Shop throughout the year and look for grapevine wreaths, twig wreaths, straw wreaths, and wire wreaths. They can always be disassembled and made into something new with a little bit of your creative ideas!

Here are some creative ways to repurpose and upcycle those thrift store wreaths

  • Add fresh greenery to a twig wreath form. Decorate rose pine cones with glass glitter and attach them to the twig wreath form. Battery-powered Christmas lights are a great addition if the budget allows.
  • Use magnolia leaves to create a gorgeous handmade magnolia leaf wreath. If you don’t have a magnolia tree, ask around your neighborhood! Offer to make a wreath for your neighbor in exchange for the magnolia leaves. Better yet, get together and make the wreaths together! Add dried orange slices, velvet ribbon, and a wire hanger.
  • Fabric squares can be used to create a wreath using a thrifted straw wreath form. This is a great project if you are on a tight budget. Using seasonal colored fabric scraps, an old wool blanket, thrift store wool skirts or other fabrics is the perfect way to create a wreath for the festive season.
  • Paint pine cone flowers white and apply glass glitter to create a fake snow appearance. Attach the glittery pine cones to a wreath form for a gorgeous way to bring holiday cheer to your home!
  • Gather acorns and short stubby pine cones, spray paint them gold and glue to a wreath form. This pine cone and acorn wreath is so easy to make!

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more cheap Christmas decorating ideas

We’ve talked about so many easy ideas for inexpensive holiday decorations but I have even more ideas to share with you! Christmas decorating doesn’t have to mean that the decorations look cheesy. Use these ideas to create gorgeous yet inexpensive Christmas decor

  • create a tree on a wall using vintage glass ornaments hung in the shape of a Christmas tree. Use this display anywhere you need a touch of Christmas in a small space like a bathroom, a laundry room, or an entryway.
  • Stack vintage books and drape twinkle lights around the stack of books for a unique Christmas tree that you can tuck away in a corner of any room as I did in our dining room.
  • Add faux greenery (or real greenery!) to a white ironstone bowl and place it on your dining room table for a simple centerpiece that will carry you through the holiday season and into the winter season. Drape a thrifted white tablecloth in the center of the table to create a snowy look. Add candle holders with tea lights for a festive touch.
  • Fill small white ironstone bowls or thrifted white bowls with pine cones and battery-powered twinkle lights for an easy centerpiece. Fill three or five bowls with pine cones to create an eye-catching design. Add some thrift store brass candlesticks for an added festive touch.
  • Hang vintage plates in the shape of a Christmas tree on a wall for a unique look! This is a great way to add a personal touch to your Christmas decorating. Especially if those plates have been in your family for years!
  • make farmhouse-style stars like I did a couple of years ago using paint stir sticks. Assembly is easy and fun. Make smaller stars using supplies from the dollar tree like craft sticks or wooden coffee stir sticks. Paint them in gold or white or whatever your heart desires! Hot glue the smaller stars together and get your kids involved! Use a medium-sized star as a tree topper. Hang several of the handmade stars on your front porch for festive outdoor decorating!
  • Craft easy DIY Christmas trees using dropcloth fabric. These sweet trees can be made with other fabric scraps like burlap, canvas, wool, and other heavy fabrics. You will have fun making a whole forest of these small trees! 
  • Paint thrift store gift boxes in coordinating colors. I created a simple stack of blue boxes that can be placed near the Christmas tree, next to the stack of wood by the fireplace, or in a corner.
  • Paint an old frame and add a bunch of faux cotton bolls. This is a great way to add the feel of snow to any wall art or collage you already have. I have two of these framed cotton decor pieces in our living room. They hang on a pair of old shutters we turned into wall sconces.
  • One of my favorite ways to display vintage-inspired Christmas art is on our smart TV. Artwork can be purchased inexpensively on Etsy. You can also play a YouTube channel created specifically for artwork for several hours. Search ‘vintage Christmas art” on YouTube to find the artwork you love.
  • Stitch a handmade stocking from an old thrift store sweater. Make a different one for each member of your family!
  • Paint paper mache stars and hang one your tree or make a star garland!
  • Repurpose boxsprings from an old mattress to make my boxspring button Christmas trees.
  • Reclaim picket fences to make the cutest fence board Christmas trees for next to nothing!
  • Gather nandina clippings and add them to a lovely white ironstone pitcher, galvanized pail or a gorgeous glass jar for free floral decor.
  • Raid your pantry for items like cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, and orange slices. Throw them in a mini crock pot and enjoy the scents of the season!

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more inspiring budget-friendly decor ideas

My blogging friend, Kristin from Fifth Sparrow no More, is sharing more Christmas Decorations on a Budget. You are going to love her ideas!

DIY snowman project

Last but not least, is one of my all-time favorite ways to have a Merry Christmas. And that is to make my own Sweater Snowman. I have made one of these snowmen for many, many years. My collection is growing and I will be adding a new handmade snowman this year! 

You can see a sampling of the ones I have made in the past. You can also make the cutest snowman from old sweaters for your holiday decorating!

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Cindy Rust

Cindy has been decorating her home with thrift store finds for 40 years. She is an avid thrift store shopper who loves to makeover the items she finds into vintage-inspired home decor and furniture. When she isn’t thrift shopping or painting a piece of furniture, you can find her making homemade butter, working in her garden, or painting with watercolors.

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  1. I seriously can’t pick a favorite idea and the beautiful pictures are inspiring me! Pinned 🙂

    1. I’m having a hard time picking a fave too Kristin!

  2. Tanya Derrey Bingham says:

    Cindy your ideas are so great and budget friendly! I just went thrifting last night and found so many fun items to upcycle and refresh my Christmas decor 🙂 Hugs xx Tanya @twelveoeightblog

    1. I’m sure you will do amazing makeovers with your thrifted finds Tanya!

  3. GREAT IDEAS CINDY! Thanks for sharing, inspiring and supporting all of us who like creativity on a budget♥️🌹

    1. You are welcome Cheryl! I’m so glad you found inspiration here 🙂

  4. Cindy – I ADORE this post because it reflects the true meaning of Christmas. It focuses on being thankful for what we have and using what we have. (instead of buying more stuff). Not to mention your ideas are GREAT! Love your homemade ornaments.

    1. I agree Anna! Let’s continue to focus on the things that matter during the Christmas season and all year! Stay tuned for more handmade ornaments this year! Merry Christmas!