Christmas Decorating on a Budget

Christmas time is my favorite time! I love the sights, the smells, the foods, the EVERYTHING about Christmas! I’m one of those people who likes to decorate early, blast the Christmas tunes and bake cookies all day long.

This year, we’re 2000 miles away from our friends, family and Christmas decorations. But we just love Christmas so much and being so far from “home” isn’t helped by a dreary brown and beige apartment with absolutely zero Christmas spirit. Since we’re poor Disney College Program interns, we needed to figure out a way to find some Christmas Cheer while on a very limited budget. I’ve gotta say, I’m exceptionally proud of how it all turned out!


My first stop was our local Dollar Store. You’re familiar with these. They have various names: Dollar Store, Dollar Tree, All-a-Dollar….etc. I set myself a budget of $50 for the whole decorating project. So I walked into the Dollar Tree with a mission! Our Christmas tree is back in Utah as well, so I needed one of those too.

I checked out the Christmas trees at the Dollar Tree, but they looked sadder than Charlie Brown’s tree.

charlie brown tree

So I opted to gather ornaments and stockings and other decorating materials at the Dollar Tree and then head to Target in the hopes of finding an affordable, but happier looking tree. I ended up with 2 tubes of small round ornaments (red and gold), 6 clear ornaments, a spool of ribbon, some Modge Podge, a sheet of fake snow, one string of multicolored lights and 2 stockings. I ended up spending just over $16.


Target came through for me with a cute little 3 foot pre-lit tree for $20. BAM! I stopped at Joann’s and I grabbed some glitter glue for $3.50 after a coupon. I finished off my decorating errands with a trip to Michaels to get some small round sparkly balls to go with one of my DIY projects. And I paid $3 for those. Seriously I rocked this project. At $42.50, I came in UNDER BUDGET!!!

When I decided I wanted to decorate on a budget, I knew I wanted the end result to reflect who we are and the things we love. So I bought plain ornaments and then spruced them up myself.

With the big clear balls, I printed Christmas music, tore it into strips and used the Modge Podge to layer the strips on the ornaments. Music is such a big part of our lives and it’s been hard to be away from the piano and performing for the last 6 months. I love that it’s represented on our little tree.

Disney is also a big deal for us. So using the red and gold sparkly ornaments and the small red balls I bought at Michaels, I created my own Mickey ornaments.


I used the glitter glue to decorate a few of the ornaments, including one commemorating our time with the Disney College Program this year.

And because I’ve been working on my hand-lettering hobby, I decided to hand-letter some Christmas words on some of the other glass ornaments.


I’m seriously so proud of my thriftiness, craftiness and festiveness. And that’s just the tree!

At home we usually have a Christmas village and it’s one of my favorite things. I decided to be extra creative to get us one this year. I let Adam’s creativity out and assigned him to create a LEGO village. We already had a couple of Lego Christmas sets. I used our Disney Lego characters as the villagers and augmented the building and such with some random Legos. I laid down the fake snow sheet and wrapped the colored lights around the perimeter and VOILA!

I think people often think that nice looking things have to cost a lot of money. That’s just not true. Anyone on any budget can have nice looking things. It took me a little bit of time to make these things, but honestly not that much. And I enjoyed it! It was so fun to use different skills and to ultimately have decorations that are 100% representations of our personalities and life! And while this little tree was crafted as a sort of stand-in for this year, I’m going to use it again and again! And I can’t wait to add some of these handmade ornaments to our bigger tree next year!

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