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Holiday decorating on a budget

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Have yourself a cheap and chic Christmas

You love getting into the holiday spirit, but you don't want to blow your budget on decorating. Not a problem! With a little creativity and the right DIY spirit, you can get the holiday look you want without spending a fortune. These tips will help you decorate for the holidays on a budget.
Christmas vase with cranberry and fig

"It's hard not to feel like you need to spend a lot to enjoy the holidays, what with so many advertisements out there geared towards this time of year," says Lily Gahagan from the home design website Houzz.com. "In my experience, though, the best things about the the season tend to be the most inexpensive. You can decorate with items found around the yard, like a few boughs of evergreen to give the home a holiday smell or a pile of pine cones spray-painted with a coat of warm gold."

Cruise the produce section or farmers market and fill your basket with brightly colored seasonal fruits to use in your holiday decor. Fill a clear glass bowl with clementines, or use fresh cranberries as vase fillers. These beautiful jewel tones add a rich look to your home.

Twinkle lights, sometimes called fairy lights, deliver big impact on a small budget. String them across your mantel, twist them around a chandelier, or add sparkle to your bedroom and bathroom. You might like them so much that you decide to leave them up year-round.

We're not talking about a faux tree; we're talking about a truly fake tree. Tack fairy lights in the shape of a tree to your wall, make your own tree out of sticky notes, or print out 18 sheets of paper and assemble into a Christmas tree with this HP printable. Traditional? Nope. Budget-friendly? Oh, yeah.

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Intentionally going for a mismatched look gives you great creative flexibility. Shop thrift stores for dishes and table linens to use in your holiday entertaining. You may want to pick a color theme to give a somewhat unified look to your mismatched style.

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If you're hosting a big holiday gathering, ask each of your guests to bring an assigned item. For example, you could ask everyone to bring a candle, then group the candles together for a beautiful centerpiece that everyone had a hand in creating.

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You'll be surprised at how you can transform these inexpensive rolls of crepe paper simply by fringing the edges. Get the scoop on making your own fringe-y streamers at Oh Happy Day.

Stock up on candles for the holidays, and you'll be prepared to add instant holiday ambiance with the click of a lighter. Go for a variety of sizes to add interest, and buy them in white so you can use them year-round.

The most budget-friendly ornaments are those you make yourself. Learn how to create a retro-mod star ornament and mull some cider for a cozy holiday cocktail.

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How to design a holiday mantel

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