Sunday, December 1, 2013

Kid-Friendly Christmas Decorating on a Budget

It's time to decorate for the holiday season! We don't have a ton of space to work with when decorating and most of that space is overcome with kids on a daily basis, so whatever I have for decorations MUST be kid friendly. I also don't care to spend a ton of money on decorations since they're only out for a few weeks each year....unless you forget to put them away until late winter/early spring, which may or may not have happened previous years in this household. So, I created my newest "challenge." Find, purchase, or create Christmas decorations for $50 or less.

I started by making a list of what we needed for decorations. The day after Thanksgiving, the minis and I brought up our Christmas decorations from the basement and went through them. As I suspected, there was a lot I couldn't use (that haven't been used in the five years since we've had kids), but I did find lots I could use and quickly got ideas.

I found un-used garland (I did have to buy more later on because I ran out when I put it around our picture window) and ornaments that my Grandpa has made through the years. A little backstory about these: my Grandpa Rich buys ceramic ornaments every year for everyone in the family, decorates them beautifully, and has them waiting for us at our place settings for Christmas dinner. I have grown quite fond of this tradition and have a box full of our ornaments. They sit year after year in this box, without being enjoyed. I've never put them on our tree because I was too worried they'd be pulled off and broken by the kids. That's when I thought 'now, I don't want the kids touching them and breaking them, but what if they were high enough that the kids couldn't reach them??' From there, our decorations seemed to come together.

I strung garland across our windows in the living rooms from the curtain rods. On the garland I strung my Grandpa's Christmas ornaments. I lucked out because several of them were actually wooden ones, so I'm not quite as worried about those.

Our felt tree decorated, garland with ornaments, and candles in the windows.
Front door rug I got at Kohl's during Black Friday shopping for $3.
Santa sign from Hobby Lobby I got for $4.

I also bought 3 large wooden ornaments for my kids to paint, that also went on the garland. Those were $1 a piece.

I found LED candles at Dollar Tree and put those in the windows too. The silhouette of the felt Christmas tree (a daycare project from this past week. All felt and pre-cut felt ornaments bought at Michael's for only $8), with the garland and ornaments, and the candles dimly lit looks beautiful in the evenings.

Saturday morning I headed to Gordman's. There I found the rest of our kid friendly decorations with the help of my two "enthusiastic about anything Christmas" boys:

My favorite purchase from Gordman's: A bucket with "snowballs" for an indoor snowball fight.
 Gingerbread girl door hanger. Gordman's has a wonderful selection on door hangers. This was not my first choice, but it's the one the boys picked out.
My mom got these stuffed Rudolph characters a few years ago and they're one of the kid's favorite decorations to set out. 
Couldn't resist this $2.50 plaque from Gordman's for above the boy's bedroom door.

3 wooden ornaments that kid's painted: $3 ($1 a piece)
LED candles: $2
Santa sign: $4
Front door rug: $2
Felt tree items: $8
Gordman's items (plaques, door hangers, painting): $61.19
More garland: $7.47
Lunch for 5 after shopping at Gordman's for an hour: $30

Total = $118 (rounding up)

Challenge completely failed.

But I'm still pleased with the new decorations I got that were kid friendly, decently priced, and how much of our previous decorations I was able to incorporate. If you're looking for new holiday decorations and want to save a buck or two (and more!) I recommend heading to Gordman's, TJ Maxx, or Marshall's. Those places usually have a good holiday decoration section with quite a bit to choose from.

To you brave parents who have breakable holiday decorations: May the force be with you and no glass shattered. Happy decorating!