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A Southern Living Christmas on a Better Homes & Gardens Budget

I had a mild panic attack in Hobby Lobby two weeks ago.

Andrew and I are celebrating our first married Christmas this year. We both love Christmas and come from homes where Christmas decorating is a big deal. Scratch that–in my house it was a big deal, at Andrew’s house it was an Olympic event. As I realized that the holidays were quickly approaching, I set out to festoon our home from top to bottom. I had poured over my December issue of Southern Living and had about a million ideas. But somewhere between the stockings and the tree toppers I realized the budget I had to work with wasn’t going to be nearly enough.

I felt overwhelmed and disappointed. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make my home as pretty and perfect as I wanted it to be. Somewhere that still small voice whispered, “It doesn’t have to be like this.” I realized I was giving in to avarice and coveting a lifestyle that isn’t mine. The good people at Southern Living have resources and budgets I can only dream about. So, I set about doing the best I could with what I had and thanked the Lord that that was enough.

I realize the title of this post is a mouthful. However, it captures the heart of what I hope to convey. We can have a beautiful home where we get to be creative and take pride and create a welcoming environment for family and guests without spending a ton of money. The photos I’m sharing here were not taken by a professional. They were taken by me, with my worn out DSLR from my college photojournalism dream days. Almost all of the items were hand me downs, things I collected over the years, or from Dollar Tree and Wal-Mart. In the caption of each photo I’ve put where the items are from. I hope they inspire you to make your home feel like Christmas for the ones you love with whatever you have.

Merry Christmas banner from the Target Dollar Spot-$5. It was cheaper than it would have been for me to make it. Almost all our ornaments are from Dollar Tree-including the magnolias.

These stockings came from Wal-Mart. The advent calendar was another Target find from a couple years ago. The gold trees were hand-me-downs from my mom who’s moving and downsizing her Christmas inventory. The stocking hangers and wood art are from Hobby Lobby.

Lighted garland from my parents (With a glimpse of the floor my sweet, hardworking husband surprised me with as an early Christmas present!), shelf decor collected over the years from Target, Marshall’s, and some heirlooms.


My favorite is my mom’s childhood copy of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

For my “tablescape” (aka yet another thing we have to come up with these days), I used a table runner from Marshall’s, gold chargers from Walmart, napkins rings from Hobby Lobby, and magnolia eggshell china I found in an antique mall for a great price this summer.

For the guest room, I just did a small tree. I also gathered a bunch of snow village trees of varying sizes from my mom’s unwanted stuff and Wal-Mart. They’re cheap and I don’t know why but I can’t get enough of them:

How are you decorating this holiday season? I want to always keep in perspective how fun it is and not get caught up in comparison. Let’s hold each other to that as we focus on the true meaning of Advent.


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