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7 Thrifted Christmas Decorations for Getting in the Holiday Spirit on a Budget

With the holiday season fast approaching, here are seven Christmas finds you can discover at your local thrift store.

Daisy Daisy/Shutterstock

Christmas is a time for joy, family, and–most importantly–holiday cheer. However, the middle of winter also brings final exams, overtime work, and all-around stress regarding making sure everything is picture-perfect.

With dozens of examples of over-the-top, colorful decorations and lengthy blog posts telling us how to have the “authentic” Hallmark Christmas experience, it’s hard not to feel the pressure.

Yet, unless you’re willing to spend millions of dollars, your living room isn’t going to look like Santa’s workshop. 

This is a little disappointing, but there are plenty of ways to get into the Christmas spirit without breaking the bank. In fact, there are many cost-effective and easily accessible methods for buying holiday decor. Christmas decorations are one of the most common goods donated when people downsize their homes, and thrift stores are eager to sell these unique pieces of holiday cheer.

In this article, we’ll be taking you through seven common goods you can find at thrift stores to keep this year’s holiday planning stress-free. Christmas is all about bringing people together, so it’s important that you have plenty of time to focus on the joy of the season, not your budget.

Ornaments in wooden boxes. Credit: Msnobody/Shutterstock

1. Ornaments

If you’ve run out of ornaments to decorate your tree, or you’re looking for the perfect matching set, thrift stores often get ornaments donated by the box. Mixing and matching are not only welcome, but encouraged, and sometimes these unique items sell for less than a dollar apiece!

Assorted gold candlesticks. Credit: Ana_gost/Shutterstock

2. Candles and Candle Sticks

Thrift stores are the perfect place to find vintage candle sticks made of brass, iron, silver, and even gold. No matter which holiday you celebrate, with a little bit of polish and some wax shaping, these items can add the final touch to any set of holiday decor. What’s more, they don’t sell out quickly, and prices are low since many are looking for a second chance.

Wooden Santa decoration. Credit: Olga Kri/Shutterstock

3. Santas

From figurines to pictures to woodcuts, thrift stores are swimming in Santa-themed decor that is perfect for the holiday season. Rather than buy an overpriced trinket from a mainstream retail outlet, take a look at your nearest thrift store for some unique pieces.

Mini light-up Christmas Village set. Credit: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock

4. Village Sets

If you’re one for setting up little villages on your mantle, thrift stores are for you. Like ornaments, villages get donated every year to thrift stores by the bundle, and many sit on the shelves for long periods of time. Local thrift stores will have many quality options for those looking to grow their big cities to those hoping to find the first few buildings for their little town.

What’s more, the great part about buying from a thrift store is that sometimes you can even find rare pieces that have been discontinued!

Table served for Christmas dinner, festive setting with decorations. Credit: Katia Seniutina/Shutterstock

5. Festive Dishes

Matching sets of flatware add the perfect final touch to any holiday meal. Luckily, thrift stores have lots of options that can easily be incorporated into any style and setting to perfectly show off the amazing food everyone’s worked hard to prepare. Whether it be Christmas ham, grandma’s fudge, or a new dish you’ve never tried before, matching place sets offer the perfect backdrop for any feast.

Three Christmas sweaters laying on wood. Credit: Frenkel Vic/Shutterstock

6. Ugly Sweaters

Light-up bulbs hemming the neckline, tinsel ringing the waist, and real ribbons tied to the wreath stamped across the stomach… you get where I’m going with this.

“Ugly” Christmas Sweaters are the central theme of many Christmas get-togethers, and thrift stores are the perfect place to secure one you can be sure no one else has. According to, clothing accounts for 31.8% of all goods donated to thrift stores, so it’s extremely likely there’s an ugly–or at least uniquely patterned–Christmas sweater waiting. For the more advanced craftsperson, thrift stores even have plain sweaters waiting to be transformed into brand-new “ugly” creations. No matter your level of expertise, thrift stores have plenty of Christmas clothing waiting to be discovered and sold for a reasonable price.

Mini Christmas tree wrapped in red ribbon. Credit: BublikHaus/Shutterstock

7. Christmas Trees

The Christmas tree is a central part of any holiday celebration. Not only does it show off one’s unique style through its lights and ornaments, but it stands tall and guards the presents stashed beneath. Thrift stores have a wide range of artificial Christmas trees that range from 4′ to 10’ feet tall. Not only do these artificial trees come in many colors, but they’re easier to maintain, store, and afford. Plus, since thrift stores sell Christmas trees at a 50-90% discount price, they’re the perfect place to spot your next big centerpiece, especially if you’re looking for something that fits you, and not the trends.

The Holiday season is one that is fraught with gift exchanging, overtime, and late-night coffee during exams. However, with these key thrift store finds, it’s easy to take some of the big stressors out of the holiday season. This leaves more time for the true joys of Christmas, which are friends, family, and self-care.

Written By

Laurie Griffith is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Florida studying English with minors in Mass Communication and Classical Studies. In her free time, she enjoys devouring young adult novels, baking poorly, and practicing gymnastics with her club team.

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