If you like to decorate your home for Christmas, but don’t want to spend a lot of money this time of the year on new holiday decorations, put a trip to your local thrift store on your to-do list.
If you are a long time reader then you know I enjoy finding ways to decorate my house inside and out using items I already own as well as items I find at thrift shops.
Christmas decor can be found at thrift stores and consignment shops all year round and in November and December at church bazaars and rummage sales. What is great about the used items you can find is that they don’t have to be “actual Christmas decor” items or found in the Christmas shop shelfs to be useful.
There are many more items that can be easily transformed with paint, ribbon, or items from your crafting supplies that can elevate easy-to-find thrift store cast-offs into festive Christmas decor in no time at fraction of the price.
Tips For Shopping Thrift Stores For Christmas Decor
- SHOP YEAR ROUND – Most of the items I buy to use for Christmas decor, I find all though the year at thrift shops, not just during the holiday season when the good stuff goes fast.
- ENJOY THE THRILL OF THE HUNT – Know your taste. Keep your holiday decor style in mind when you are out thrifting. Don’t look at items only at face value. Take your time to pick up an item that has a nice shape or style and ask yourself, “What if I painted this, removed a part, or added something to it.”
- SHOP OFTEN – Thrift stores get new merchandise on a daily basis. If you want to find deals, then find out what time of day they put new items out to sell, then be there at that time. As the saying goes… “the early bird gets the worm.”
- KEEP A LIST – Keep a running list of items you would like to find. For instance, one year I was on the look out for all things plaid. It took some time, but eventually I found the perfect red plaid tablecloth for my Christmas dinner table for a few dollars.
23 Thrift Store Finds Turned Into Christmas Decorations
1. Glass Christmas Tree Shaped Jars
I found a few vintage Libby Christmas Tree Candy Jars on Etsy, but decided to see if I could find them for a lot less by hunting for them at thrift stores. It was not hard as I found most of them in one day – at my local Habitat ReStore. They were $1 a piece.
With some glue and glitter on the outside of the jars they have become one of my favorite Christmas decorations that add a little sparkle that I like to see inb my house over the holidays.
You can use them as is or cover with a coat of Elmers glue, then hold it over an open cardboard box and sprinkle glitter all over it. Turn it all different ways to make sure you get glitter evenly all over the jar. Let dry. Another idea is pour white paint in the inside of each jar and swirl it around, then pour the paint out. Let dry. The jars will look like milk glass.
2. Christmas Table Linens
Almost everything purchased at a thrift store can be cleaned or laundered, this includes table linens – cloths and napkins. Once cleaned and pressed they will be like new for only a few dollars.
3. Candle Holders
Candle holders are one thing that thrift stores seem to never have a shortage. You will find them in all shapes, sizes and styles. One year I used these brass candle holders on a fireplace mantel.
The following Christmas, I wanted a new look and spray painted them silver. Either color, when mixed with greenery and ornaments they become holiday decor.
To add sparkle to items you plan to use to decorate look for jewelry pins like rhinestones to embellish items like the Christmas stockings you hang on your mantel for Santa to fill.
This candle holder was black when I bought it. I painted it with white chalk paint to fit my Christmas decorating style. Since it isn’t actual “Christmas Decor”, I can use it all year long.
4. Faux Greenery & Wreath Forms
If I see faux greenery, garlands and wreaths that are in good shape or a section of one is, I buy it. Even if there are ugly embellishments on it, I know I can remove them and use the greenery or even cut off the sections of it to use to accent other Christmas decor.
I made the wreath above using a wire wreath form that was only 25 cents. I simply tied sprigs of boxwood from a beaten up wreath all around it with florist wire. I wired a few jingle bells on – as Christmas would not be Christmas without a few jingle bells, right?
On this lamp, I took a few good sprigs of boxwood out of a piece of garland that had seen better days. I used florist wire to attach them with a small ball ornament to decorate the lamp.
5. Ball Shaped Ornaments
You may come across a box of worn Christmas ball ornaments in a color you don’t like. Don’t let that stop you from buying them.
You can cover them with paint, glitter or do what I did, decoupage decorative strips of paper to them to make them just your style. Learn how to cover the ornaments and get the free printable French Script paper.
Hardback books in all sizes can be painted or covered with gift wrap and used as risers for candles, vases and decorative accessories that need a little more height to look in proportion on a tablescape.
7. Large Framed Art
Large framed faux oil paintings that have no glass can be painted and turned into a chalkboard.
Cover the art with black chalkboard spray paint. Leave the frame as is or paint it to coordinate with your holiday color scheme.
Once the chalk board paint is dry, use white chalk to draw a winter scene and place on a mantel. Get the details on how to make your own faux art turned chalkboard to decorate your home.
You can draw anything related to the holidays on the thrift store framed art turned into a framed chalkboard and hang in your dining room.
8. Glass Bottles
Instead of displaying a Christmas plant on a table. Snip a few branches and place in small glass bottles or look for a fancy crystal salt shaker on a thrift store shelf that is missing its top. They are easily found for a dollar.
Doing so allows you to make decorative arrangements fit exactly where you want a pop of Christmas color.
9. Glass Candy Jars
Don’t pass by a glass candy jar that has no top. You can make your own using a tuna can and paint. Learn how to make a tuna can jar top.
10. Glass Cylinder Vases
Retailers like Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel sell cylinder glass vases for $35 and up depending on their size. At the thrift store you can snap one up for about $5. Use one alone or group a few together on a table. Fill with faux snow and a collection of colorful ornaments.
11. Oversize Baskets
When thrift store shopping, you just never know what you will stumble upon. A few years ago I came across a huge handled basket for $6. Learn how it became a Collar for My Christmas Tree with the removal of the handle and bottom of the basket.
12. Vintage Ornaments
Colorful vintage ornaments don’t have to be hung on a Christmas tree or placed in a bowl. Try making this table top tree using them in a few minutes. Best part, making it doesn’t damage the ornaments. The trick is knitting needles! Learn how to make your own Knitting Needle Ornament Tree.
13. Decorative Frames
Empty picture frames of all sizes and shapes can be found for a few dollars a piece. Paint them, embellish with glitter and turn one into a DIY Christmas Card Holder.
Or buy a few and arrange them on a mantel with greenery and thrift store brass candleholders.
Small frames can be made into a Photo Christmas Tree Collar. You can personalize it in many different ways.
14. Glass Hurricanes
Glass candle hurricanes are easily found at most thrift stores. Place one on top of dirt in a flower planter that no longer has flowers growing over the winter. Snip some faux or real greens to make it a perfect Outdoor Christmas Candle Planter to place on your entryway or porch.
15. Mix & Match Items
This ornament bowl was made using a green pillar style candle holder and a large beige ceramic bowl.
When placed together, painted and embellished, it becomes an impressive place to display Christmas ornaments.
16. Christmas Cards
Don’t pass up looking through bins and boxes that hold smaller items like stray parts, craft items and wrapping paper. You may come across something you like that can be used as Christmas decor like this card made into a festive doorknob hanger.
17. Advent Calendars
As long as they are intact, finding a collectible advent calendar for a few dollars can be used just as is.
18. Large Jars
Large glass jars without lids can become a place for candles – either real or battery-operated. Add snow in the bottom and tie greenery or a garland tie around the rim.
19. Classic Christmas Items
Many times when browsing the shelves at your local thrift store, you may come upon Christmas items that can be used just as is like this ceramic holly leaf dish. It can be used as purely decor or functional – as place by your stove to hold a wet tea bag when making a cup of tea.
20. Tins & Boxes
Tins and boxes can be cleaned, painted and stacked and used as decor on a table top or as a creative way to give Christmas cookies to friends and family.
Grouping decorative items like this photo cube on a pedestal and greenery on a tray of any shape, gives the items as a whole more impact. I found this round green metal tray for a few dollars.
22. Christmas Cookie Cutters
Christmas cookie cutters in classic shapes like stars, bells and wreaths can be wrapped with ribbon and turned into colorful tree ornaments.
23. Mason Jars
And lastly, you can even make cute Christmas Gift Totes using basic glass jars and garland ties.
This list only shows the items I have found at the thrift store and turned into Christmas decor. There are many other items that can be found and changed such as nutcrackers and reindeer figurines that can be painted to look modern, cable knit old sweaters can become throw pillow covers and a forlorn planter can become the base for a table centerpiece.
When you keep an open mind, creative ideas will pop into your head not only for Christmas decor, but coming up with gift ideas for friends and family using what you find at the thrift store.
Perhaps you may not even need to head to a thrift store to find these items, as you may already own one or more of them. Find them and use them to thier fullest Christmas decorating potential.
To find more budget-friendly holiday decor ideas, don’t miss all my Christmas decorating posts where you will find inexpensive ways to decorate your home for the holidays in grand style this year without spending too much.