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How to set up a festive Christmas table on a budget with things you already have (and a few you make)

Holiday decorating can really break the bank if you let the hype of the season get to you. I really wanted to create a fun Christmas table this year that I can enjoy for the whole month of December, not just on Christmas Day but I have this major issue with spending gobs of money on more decorations and dishes. I have 16 plastic tubs of Christmas in my garage and well, that is just too much. I also have a smattering of decorations from each of my grandparents and a bunch of my own. I've been wanting to do some culture blending decor this year with lots of color. The result was my take on setting up a festive Christmas table on a budget, with things I already have. This post contains affiliate links.


I created this tablescape using a mix of heirlooms, handmade pieces, and store bought items. I scored most of the store-bought things in the clearance aisle so nothing really matched. I used the handmade items to tie the color scheme together, using felt to make place mats, coasters, and napkin rings. Next, I use plaid throughout the table decor as a common pattern that's on trend but also readily available. Most of the plaid elements on my table came from the $1 Spot at Target!

top 5 tips for decorating the

My top 5 budget holiday decorating tips:

You won't bust the budget if you follow these tips:

Use what you have. I brought in cake plates, mason jar mugs with lids, the basket, and other elements I already had to really make the table pop and look plentiful. I covered the table with a large neutral rectangle table cloth and then added a circle tablecloth in red over top – the red cloth was too small but adds just the right pop of color to make it scream “holiday”. You don't need to buy new things.


Mix It Up. Choose a color scheme and then mix patterns to make it all come together and make it interesting. I mixed latin-influenced florals with traditional plaid. And then within the plaid, I mixed that up too.  Use non-traditional patterns and colors to make things interesting.


Make it. I needed more solid color items to tie everything together so I made DIY felt placemats. Felt is really easy to use for home decor because you can wash it, you don't have to sew it, and it is easy to cut into any shape. I added texture with trims and embroidery. I then decided to carry on the color with coasters and DIY napkin rings. I used pinking shears on the ends of the napkin wraps to tie them into the folk art theme.


Layer All the Things. Layering makes everything feel lavish and expensive. A plate on top of a cake plate, layered salad, dessert, and dinner plates, and layered tablecloths all add to the interesting color play going on but also make the tablescape feel decadent and fancy.


Buy Versatile Pieces You Can use Beyond the Holiday. The plates that I did purchase from Pier 1 are all generic and can be used any time of year. In fact, nothing I bought was actually for Christmas, which makes it easier for me to repurpose it later in the year.


How to put together a Christmas Table on a budget:

  • Red Tablecloth – from my grandma. I laid this on top of a larger tablecloth that covered my whole table.
  • Centerpiece –  I put a cake plate in the very center of the table and placed the tree on it. I got the cake plate from Anthropologie this summer as a splurge item (only $18 so not too bad) and I bought the tree a few years back at a local gift shop on clearance.
  • Decorating the Centerpiece – I decorated the tree with trims and ribbons leftover from other projects but that matched the red + green + blue color scheme: blue pom pom trim and back & white striped ribbon. I added handmade ornaments from both of my grandmothers and one from Katie to the tree. I also made pinata ornaments, which I'll be sharing in a tutorial soon.
    • Black & White Ribbon – Target $1 Spot
    • Pom Pom Trim – Hydrangea Hippo Etsy Shop
    • Pinata Ornaments
  • Servingware in the Center of the Table – I added a few more cake plates from my collection as well as a plaid plate I got on clearance at Target this week and a star shaped basket I got from Desert Industries. I tied some plaid ribbon from the target $1 Spot to the top of the basket and filled it with candy canes.
    • Blue Cake Plates (from Dove – but click here to see some other ones)
    • Star Shaped Basket
    • Plaid Plate – on clearance at Target, November 2015
    • Candy Canes – Walmart
    • Starlight Mints – Dollar Tree
    • Strawberry Candies – Dollar Tree
  • Placemats, Coasters, Napkin Rings – I made the placemats from felt and trims in my stash – they're no sew! I made the coasters in the same way.
  • Flatware Holders – these are plaid gift bags from the $1 Spot at Target and flowers I used from another project I made earlier this year. Just slip the flatware inside. You can also hide a wet nap in there too for after dinner.
  • Plates – the plates are all a mix of plates from Pier1's clearance area and the $1 Spot at Target.
  • Glasses – I dressed it down with these mason jar style mugs that I got at Dollar Tree. We swapped out the original straws with these red and white paper straws for a more festive look.

How to make your own place mats with felt:

I made the place mats, coasters, and napkin rings using Kunin Eco-Fi felt to compliment the items I already had. Here's how:

Here are all the things I used to make these place mats as well as similar items to the ones I used to decorate my table. Happy decorating!

I'm super happy with how this table turned out. Take the Christmas tree away and it works for Thanksgiving through the New Year!

What's your best budget holiday decorating tip?

Let me know in the comments. Thanks again for stopping by! Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter, full of creative goodness. See you again soon!

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About the Author

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Jennifer Priest is a 20+ year designer in the arts & crafts industry and home DIYer with a passion for creativity. An Army veteran raised on a ranch, from her experience, she shares smart DIY projects that save money and fun craft ideas that anyone can make. Besides blogging, Jennifer is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis, and MER, and coaches other online entrepreneurs on money mindset, business, and living an intentional life. When not blogging, Jennifer is having adventures in the wilderness, on road trips, playing with her cats, and making paleo food.

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  1. What a beautiful holiday table! I really like how you played with different patterns. Using what you already have and putting a festive twist on things you can easily craft can definitely save a ton of money!

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