Amanda loves Christmas and enjoys being frugal when it comes to decorations.
Unfortunately, the cost of decorating for Christmas has the potential to outweigh the fun of the holiday. It can be hard to stay positive, cheerful, and merry when the bills come in. So what should you do if you're in need of new Christmas decorations but you're on a budget? Where can you buy new, festive decor galore without breaking the bank? Use the following pointers to find cheap holiday decorations in a number of styles and sizes.
1. Garage Sales
You'll have to know in advance that you're on the lookout for new Christmas decorations. After all, you're not likely to find garage sales in winter and if you do they're liable to price their Christmas merchandise high due to the season. But holiday finds in the summertime are another story.
Found In Past Years:
- A Detroit Tigers Santa hat - $2
- Snow globes - $1-5
- Hallmark ornaments - $0.25 and up
- A collection of hand-painted, ceramic Christmas village buildings - $10
- A Department 56 'Cookies for Santa' set - $10
During the summer, people are looking to purge their garages, attics, and storage sheds. Maybe they too are looking to buy new Christmas décor, and that means out with the old. Sure, sometimes you'll run across duds: lights that don't work and paint that is peeling. But so many people just want new homes for the decorations that they've grown tired of looking at. Their trash is your treasure!
No, I don't mean eBay. That comes next. Look online through a basic Google search for auctions in your area. You might be surprised how much fun you have! Chat with strangers, eat cheap hot dogs and popcorn, and discover deals.
Auctions are the place to find Christmas decorations in bulk—aka box lots. You may discover a box of Christmas lights, a box of vintage ornaments, a box of Department 56 village accessories, and so on. The more the contents are worth as collectibles (as opposed to being considered generic decorations), the more you'll have to spend of course. But if you're just looking for some red and green décor to throw on the mantle this Christmas, then you're in the right place.
Attendees at the auction who are in search of buying goods they can flip for a profit will be more interested in the aforementioned collectibles. If you just want simple holiday decoration for your home and don't care one way or the other about labels and brands then you might just score on pieces that the resellers don't care about.
At this point, everyone knows eBay is a place to go to find deals. But there are still tricks for finding the best deals on eBay, especially when it comes to holiday decorations and merchandise. Find lots (as in bundles) of ornaments, village pieces, miniature Christmas trees, collectible snowmen figurines, and more.
But try to look in the summertime! No one is loving jingle bells and mistletoe in July, so you won't have as much competition from other buyers. If you miss out on summer deals, look again in October. It's closer to that holly-jolly season, but most people have a focus on Halloween and aren't looking to buy Christmas decorations. If you really want to think ahead, check back in January or February to find things you can store until next December.
Be sure to keep in mind shipping costs when you're deciding how much to spend. It seems like this would be common sense, but I've met more than a few intelligent people who just skipped over that additional cost when viewing the price.
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4. Craft Supply Stores
Craft stores such as Michael's or JoAnn's start the holidays early. Whether it's Halloween or the Fourth of July or, yes, Christmas, you can count on decorations months in advance. Why? Because these stores cater to crafters, who start their projects of producing inventory or creating DIY gifts far ahead of schedule. Thus the suppliers of crafting materials must bring in holiday stock early as well.
I suppose since they're putting out Christmas stickers and ribbon and paper anyway, they decided to throw the decorations in as well. The result? Cheap decorations! Again, you may ask why? Because by the time November and December roll around, these Christmas decorations are old news for the craft stores. The Christmas trees, towels, signs, and stuffed animals have been out on shelves for weeks, if not months. It's time to begin pushing the next holidays. Therefore, the Christmas decorations go on sale—usually 30-50% off—just at the time you want to buy them.
Wait until closer to the holiday and they'll move to clearance prices, often being sold at 60-70% off in the weeks before Christmas.
5. Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Other Thrift Stores
Any thrift store is a place to head for cheap decorations of all styles, but the Goodwill and Salvation Army in particular are liable to turn up great finds for holiday decor at reasonable costs.
The best time of year to head out looking for Christmas trees and angels may very well be right after Christmas when people decide to donate old Christmas decorations instead of repacking them for next year. Of course, in November and December the stores will have larger displays of holiday merchandise—but you'll have competition which may, unfortunately, be reflected in the prices.
6. Facebook Marketplace
Whether you're a fan of social media or not, Facebook has become a tool for selling merchandise. Rather than have a garage sale or start an auction on eBay, many people simply list individual items directly to their local community in the hopes of a nearby stranger buying. It's similar to Craigslist, but with a less shady reputation these days. Of course there are never any guarantees when meeting strangers from the internet and one should always take certain safety precautions, such as meeting in daylight and with witnesses around.
In addition to scanning posts to Facebook Marketplace, search for private groups in your area that serve the sole purpose of connecting nearby people to buy and trade items.
In my experience, people do tend to wait til the holiday season to sell used Christmas items. Prices can vary and when they fall to the low side, others will be quick to comment with their interest and snap up the deal. You may want to set up notifications for certain key words, such as 'snowman' or 'nativity' or (of course) 'Christmas.'
Keep Your Eyes Open for Deals All Year Round
You never know where your next treasured Christmas collectible might come from. Sometimes the piece that will become your favorite decoration for the holidays might pop up in the place least expected, when you weren't even searching. Ultimately the season is about so much more than beautiful ornaments or shopping lists. So long as you keep this in mind in both the seeking and the spending, your Christmas will be that much merrier.
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on October 30, 2019:
Some good tips here, thanks for sharing.
Amanda (author) from Michigan, United States on July 02, 2015:
That is a great idea, Julia! The cozy look and sound of a crackling fire, even if one doesn't have a fireplace (or one in a general party area).
peachy from Home Sweet Home on June 15, 2015:
i made some from recycle items and bought some from a thrift shop, two dollars each