Design Hints

5 Ways to Get in the Spirit

Shop smarter throughout the year to make sure your holidays are full of festive cheer.

Gather cheerful Christmas decor for your home without spending a lot of money by shopping thriftily during the holidays, keeping an eye out for off-season bargains and repurposing accessories and other seasonal decorations. Try these tricks:

1. Shop early. It's never too soon to think Christmas! Be on the lookout for holiday decorations at summer garage sales -- one person's discarded garland could be your new fireplace greenery. You could also score a great deal on eBay or from online retailers trying to clear out the previous season's merchandise. Also, look for stores that are going out of business; they often sell their in-house holiday displays.

2. Red all about it. Look for everyday items that can be repurposed as yuletide trimmings, such as floral balls, candles, toss pillows or berry garlands, in shades of scarlet, burgundy and rust. The best part? Non-seasonal accents can be used to fill out your decor for other holidays, cutting down on storage and cost.

3. Keep things together. Rather than spreading collections throughout the house, decorate rooms with themes, keeping in mind how the room is used on a daily basis. For example, decorate your kitchen with food-themed items such as candy canes, sugar fruit and gingerbread men.

4. Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose. Just about any accent can be transformed into a Christmastime showpiece. Take candles off their candleholders and put berry-covered grapevine balls or red glass balls in their place. You can also use an old pair of ice skates stuffed with seasonal greens as a centerpiece. Or, hang one skate on the hearth as a holder for long fireplace matches.

5. Make it memorable. If you're going for a theme on your main Christmas tree, snuggle a "memory tree" in an alcove or another spot that needs some seasonal style. Drape the tree's branches with pieces from your past, including pictures of family and loved ones and ornaments collected over the years.

Written by Melinda Byrne
Photographed by Bill Mathews
Styled by Gloria Gale