Frugal & Natural Christmas Decor

Photo by Michele of

This post is written by contributing writer, Michele Augur.

Decorating with found items is both frugal and beautiful! As we bring in items found on walks, our family savors the scents and colors of the season.

I honestly don’t spend a lot of time decorating (and I’m certainly not trained in floral design!), but it is a joy to bless my family and friends with a festive and comfortable atmosphere.

I created the wreath in the photo above, using tree boughs and holly sprigs from the woods around our home. (If you live in the city, ask a neighbor if you can snip some branches from their overgrown holly or juniper bushes!) Carry small pruning shears with you on walks, or just gather fallen items from the ground.

I re-purposed an old wreath frame and floral foam from a dusty old silk flower wreath. (You can often find these at thrift stores or garage sales, or purchase them on sale from craft stores.) I accented with a few of the silk/paper flowers. I also enjoy decorating with dried rosebuds, seed pods, and hydrangeas from summer gardens.

To attach the greenery to the wreath, I used a combination of floral pins (reused from the old wreath) and green floral wire. Some of the branches were also just securely pushed into the floral foam. Mine has a bit of a  “rustic” look, but if you prefer a more classic look, you can trim the branches with pruning shears.

For my thick wreath, floral foam was tied to the wreath frame. (But you could omit the foam, and just tie items directly to the metal wreath frame.) If you don’t have floral wire, you can also attach flowers and holly sprigs with a hot glue gun. I followed Melissa’s advice, and purchased removable hooks to attach a wreath to our glass front door window.

During the past few months, my daughter has enjoyed collecting leaves and other found items to make garlands for our home along with me. For the leaves, she would poke a hole with a toothpick, and then thread them onto string. (This made a simple Thanksgiving decoration.)

You can also add in dehydrated slices of oranges or apples to your garlands. As we approach Christmas, you can create similar garlands out of pine cones or holly, as well.

Photo by Michele of

I keep decorating simple by filling bowls, baskets, and cake stands (from thrift stores) with greenery, paper/dried flowers, and fresh fruit. Instead of trying to make formal bouquets, this is a way for little ones to contribute their favorite found items! (We had a bowl of beautiful fall leaves sitting by our front door this past month to greet visitors.)

You can also place some greenery, mossy branches, or holly springs in a vase or pitcher, if desired. (And even use it as a Jesse Tree for Advent!) Just use what you have on hand.

A picture from Lindsay's Christmas table - ornaments in a punch bowl

A bowl of bright red apples is easily replenished with seasonal grocery purchases, and decorated with a holly branch. Some red vintage glass ornaments fill a cake stand, and are accented by simple white candles. Look around your home for glass or wooden bowls or baskets that you could use for the season!

How do you decorate naturally for Christmas?

About Michele

Michele and her husband Calvin live a simple & sustainable life in rural Washington with their two- going on three- (busy!) little ones at Hampton Creek Inn. She takes joy in the daily ministry of delving into creativity, traditional homemaking & hospitality, homeschooling in everyday moments, and smooching her husband in the woods. Michele loves encouraging women and equipping them for frugal, natural living through her blog, Frugal Granola.

9 Responses to Frugal & Natural Christmas Decor

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  2. McKella December 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    I love this! I think the basket idea is my favorite. Quick, easy, pretty, and a great way to use little things that I bring home on my walks instead of leaving them all over my studio!

  3. StephanieN December 10, 2010 at 8:31 am #

    My husband and I made the front of our apartment last year into a “gingerbread house” by cutting out circles of colored construction paper and painting “m”‘s on them (making them M&M’s) and taping them around the windows and door, and then we cut out candy cane shapes (and painted them) out of used cardboard from the grocery store and lined them up underneath both of our front windows . . We also made a construction paper poinsetta for the front door . . We had a blast!! And Voila! our outdoor holiday decorations cost us less than 10 bucks!! We strung some lights on the inside to light up the windows and I put polyfil (the pillow stuffing stuff) on the windowsills and it looked pretty awesome!!

    • StephanieN December 10, 2010 at 8:32 am #

      Oh and the little neighbor Girl had a blast helping me put up M&M’s . . she even convinced her mom to put some up on their door :o )

  4. Melissa Campbell December 8, 2010 at 6:11 pm #

    Thanks for the idea! I was wanting a wreath for our door, but didn’t want to buy one. I took a wire hanger and found some unused garland and wound it around and decorated it with some other decorations I had laying around. It felt awesome to create something that was also free! Thanks for inspiring me!!

  5. Joy Y. December 1, 2010 at 6:12 am #

    Lovely ideas….I’ve been busy here with all the kiddos making homemde decorations as well. Here’s a link to some of our homemades so far if anyone wants to take a peek!

    We have our first snowfall of the year here in IN today, so that really helps get us into the “Christmas decorating mode”….


  6. Sara November 30, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

    Now I want to start decorating! I’d had not felt the bug until I read this. One of the easiest ways I think to get greenery on a door is to just wire some fir branches onto a thick wire that’s slightly curved. I just attach some ribbon in the middle of the wire and then thumb tack the ribbon on the top of the door. Blessings!

  7. Shaye Elliott November 30, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    My husband and I just made a paper chain out of white and green paper, like we used to in elementary school. We drapped it all around our living room and it is festive, fun, and frugal :) Just our style.

  8. Trina November 30, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    I usually make several fresh evergreen wreaths for myself and family – a throw-back from my years as a floral designer. I made a tutorial on my blog for a wired evergreen wreath –
    I love to decorate with dried fruit, too – sliced oranges, apples, and cinnamon sticks, and this is something my 4 year old loves to help with. We’re actually working on that this afternoon, with a bag of oranges I bought today!