The frugal person's guide to getting festive. 

By Ayn-Monique Klahre
Updated December 18, 2017
Christmas Tree in Living Room
Credit: Tom Merton/Getty Images

There are few things more fun that filling the house with holiday spirit—that extra layer of greenery, sparkle and ribbon makes a home feel cheerful and cozy even if it’s gray and icy outside. But even if you’re bargain shopping, you can easily spend hundreds of dollars decorating if you buy all-new decor every year, or are stocking up to decorate your own space for the first time. Fortunately, there are ways to rework items you probably already have around the house to give your space that magical holiday sparkle. Here are 7 easy ways to decorate for the holidays using things you already own.

Cut your own evergreens.

Whether you’ve got a pine tree, holly bush, or magnolia, grab a few branches to decorate the house. Lay longer limbs across the mantel for a wintry update, or fill your biggest vase (an ice bucket or champagne cooler will do in a pinch) with green leaves to top the table with an abundant bouquet.

Break out the candles.

Dust off those candlesticks you got for your wedding—they look great clustered on a table or along a mantel, even when they’re not lit. While most of us reserve candlelight for fancy dinners in, it adds that touch of something special, day or night. If you only have a few candlesticks, mix in metallic decorative objects like souvenirs or bookends to fill out the display.

Create an ornament swag.

Most of us have a box of plain round ornaments tucked away for the tree—but that’s not the only place to use them! String a bunch onto twine to hang as a garland along a window frame, or glue them in clusters to replace a wreath on your door. Even just two or three tied together with beautiful ribbon will look sweet hanging from a doorknob, light fixture, or bedpost.

Make a wrapping-paper runner.

The quickest way to make a dining table look festive: Run a strip of wrapping paper down the middle, and tape it in place underneath with painter’s tape. It doesn’t even have to be a holiday print, as gold, silver, or plain white or brown kraft paper can be festive as well. Enlist your kids to draw on the Christmas embellishments.

Work with washi tape.

Finally, a justification for your collection of colorful washi tape: Use it to cover your walls and windows. This removable tape is the perfect material to create modern scenes like Christmas trees, stars, 2D ornaments, and more.

Check out your books.

Another collectible to put to good use: Your library. Weed through and pull out all the red, green, and white books, then group them by color to display on a side table or coffee table for a bit of holiday flair.

Rethink scraps of ribbon.

If you’re the type who saves ribbon scraps from presents, now’s the time to break them out! It only takes a few inches of ribbon to give a hurricane candle holder a little holiday update. Other uses: tie a little bow to hang above a doorway or in the kitchen window, or if you’re a sewer, add a little red grosgrain trim to your hand towels.