$50 Holiday Decorating for the Truly Craft-Challenged

railingBeforeThe challenge was simple: Spend $50 and decorate your house for Christmas. Being as how I have a mother-in-law who has gifted me enough Christmas decorations for 10 houses, I was a little stumped as to where to start. Then (after about 2 million hours on Pinterest) I thought about the one place that has been too overwhelming for me to go in Christmases past -- this huge wrought-iron railing that leads upstairs.

For years, I've imagined the greenery and glitz that would make a picturesque pop in the middle of our home. But that's as far as I have ever gotten. This year, however, I was determined to do it ... and off to Michael's I went. Then I went back again. And again. And again.

I'm a tad indecisive when it comes to matters of the home, as I've told you before, and I'm NOT a crafty person at all. So this was a matter of trial and (lots of) error, and multiple returns for me. But in the end, I'm thrilled with the results. Here's what I did.


I knew I wanted greenery, but I wasn't about to spring for the fresh kind and have to throw it away. That railing is simply too long. How long? I have no idea, and I'm apparently a terrible judge of things like that as I somehow thought that two 9-foot stands of lighted fake greenery would be plenty to do the job. Ha. That didn't even get me up the stairs.

So back I went again with receipt in hand to return them since at $17.99 a piece buying more was definitely not in my budget. However, with the help of a nice saleslady there, I found some 18-foot ropes of greenery (with no lights) on sale for just $3.49 each. Score! So I bought five ($17.50), and even had a little leftover.

I also bought some huge glittery lime green bows ($5.99 x 3 = $18)  to put on the posts, and alternated them with large red ones plus (3 x $1.99 = $6). (Red came after some polka dot ones I bought and returned because they didn't look right.)

green bow

But there were no lights, and it really needed lights.So back I went and bought lights (Twice. You would think I would just figure out how to measure things first.) I needed four to do the job (4x $3.49 = $14). But when I plugged them in, I was pleased.

In the end, I went over my budget slightly (total just over $55, not counting gas for my bazillion trips to Michael's). If I was a craftier type of person I could have saved a lot of money on those bows, by making them myself. But I'm not.

Overall I love the effect of the railing in my house. I'm sure some of you could have done something much more exciting, but for this craft-challenged person, I feel good about it. It really makes things festive and brings everything together. I wish I'd done it years ago.


What would you do if you have $50 to decorate your house?


Images via Julie Ryan Evans

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