Thrift Shop All Your Christmas Decor for Under $200 — Including the Tree

sleigh with gift boxes, presents and decorations outdoor near thrift shop.
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‘Tis the season to get a head start on Christmas decor. According to a new study by Wakefield Research in coordination with Home Depot, 24% of Americans decorate earlier now than five years ago, and 79% said doing so helps them get in the holiday spirit and feel more cheer over a longer period of time.

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But if you don’t have all your trimmings to deck the halls yet and are wondering how to fit them into a holiday budget already strapped by ongoing inflation, there’s one great option to get everything you need in one place for less money.

Thrift stores are a one-stop shop for holiday decor that could rival even Santa’s workshop. Whether you need lights, artificial trees, wreaths, stockings or even gift wrap, second-hand shops have it all — and for far less in price than traditional market value at big box stores.

During the pandemic, thrift shopping took on a new life as CNBC has found, ushering in a “resale revolution” with 82% of Americans saying they go to resale shops for needed goods or the thrill of a treasure hunt. In fact, second-hand sales are expected to grow by 80% over the next five years with total sales topping $289 billion, says the article, citing data from a commerce report by OfferUp. 

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And there are big savings to be had. Another CNBC article, using data from CouponFollow, found that thrift shopping for second-hand items can save shoppers around $150 a month or $1,760 a year. 

Learn: How To Create Your Holiday Spending Fund

GOBankingRates.com recently shared the five best thrift stores to shop at this holiday season. With that in mind, we paid a trip to a local Goodwill in the suburbs of Chicago to see what we could find. After just 30 minutes, we were able to check off everything on our list, even after checking it twice.

7′ Pre-Lit Artificial Christmas Tree ($74.99)

According to Market Watch, the cost of real spruce and fir trees is expected to go up by 15% this year, which makes it a great time to invest in an artificial option. Not only is it more sustainable but you’ll be able to use it year after year, making it a great budget-conscious pick. This towering beauty looks just like the real thing and comes pre-lit to make it even easier to get your tree ready.

Make Your Money Work for You

Assorted Ornaments ($3.99 each, $7.98 for two)

If you have a bigger tree or are setting on up for the first time this year, you might need more ornaments to fill in the bare spots. Thrift stores are a great spot to secure colorful options that can pair well with your heirloom collection. We found two buckets of these assorted varieties, with about 10 per container.

Stocking Holders Set ($6.99)

Make sure your stockings are hung by the chimney with care — and look good too! — with these beautiful silver-plated stocking holders. This box of three includes different decorative options so each person in your family can claim one, from St. Nick to an angel and a Christmas tree. Goodwill had a couple of boxes of these to accommodate large families, too.

Giant Wreath ($12.99)

Decorating your door with a simple yet festive wreath is a great way to set the tone that your house is an inviting place to celebrate the holidays. We found this oversized one, made with artificial branches, that could fit most door sizes and make a real statement though you could add a red bow for even more flair. The smaller wreath pictured was about half the price at $6.99 and the giant jingle bell red bucket in the photo is $12.99, a great option for storing all those presents.

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Christmas Drinking Glasses ($1.99 each, $7.96 for a set of four)

After you deck your halls, you might want to decorate your holiday table too — you can even stage it early to enjoy all season long. These decorative drinking glasses are a great option: Each looks hand-painted with a festive scene. We found four at Goodwill but the great thing is you can mix and match collections at thrift stores to make your place settings more unique. 

Holly Dinner Plates ($2.99 each, $23.92 for a set of eight) & Holly Dessert Plates ($1.99 each, $15.92 for a set of eight)

Serve your epic Christmas feast on this decorative plate collection. We found eight dinner plates and 8 dessert plates, each outfitted with a beautiful holly and berries design that will frame slices of your holiday turkey or roast perfectly.

Snowflake Tablecloth & Napkin Set ($12.99)

Before you set the plates and drinking glasses down, trim the table with a seasonal tablecloth like this red and white snowflake pattern. In addition to the long runner, this seven-piece, all-in-one set also includes six coordinating napkins to tie it all together. 

Mini Indoor/Outdoor Light Set ($1.99 each, $7.96 for four)

We found four boxes of these lights that looked to have never been opened or used but are heavily discounted from new boxes at retail stores. Each 50-bulb, colored light set measures more than 14 feet long and can be connected to additional sets. You can also use them to add a pop of color to outdoor bushes and trees.

Gift Bags ($1.99 for set of 2) and Cookie Tins ($0.99 each)

One of the major things that eats up a holiday budget is wrapping gifts. A thrift store or a dollar store is a great way to get these necessary items for far less in cost. At Goodwill, we found a set of two gift bags for $1.99 (or less than a buck for each) and festive metal cookie tins for under a dollar too.

Santa Hats ($0.99 each, $5.94 for six) and Nutcrackers ($12.99)

Add those final special touches to make your holiday house really shine. Grab a handful of these traditional red and white felt Santa hats to give to everyone coming in the door and set out a few traditional Nutcrackers for a great holiday throwback feeling.

The total for all these goodies came to $193.61!

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About the Author

Selena Fragassi joined GOBankingRates.com in 2022, adding to her 15 years in journalism with bylines in Spin, Paste, Nylon, Popmatters, The A.V. Club, Loudwire, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine and others. She currently resides in Chicago with her rescue pets and is working on a debut historical fiction novel about WWII. She holds a degree in fiction writing from Columbia College Chicago.
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