Lux for Less: Affordable Holiday Decorating Tips

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Jes Gordon, the author of Party Like a Rock Star, has put her party-planning skills to work for such clients as Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Nicolas Cage! Now, she is providing inventive yet budget-friendly holiday ideas to make your holidays stress-free.

Sure, you've got the basics down. The stockings on the mantle and the Christmas tree bedecked in garland and lights. But the fun of decorating doesn't have to stop there. Try my six tips for adding some seasonal touches to your home, sweet home — without breaking the bank:

1. Stay Warm
I adore using things that exude warmth and comfort in terms of decor. Light a fire in the fireplace and place candles all around the room in amber glass. For an added bonus, get scented candles in Pine, Sugar Plum or Peppermint to make your space smell like a whimsical forest.

2. All Wrapped Up
A fun idea — and one that kids love! — is to take down some of your wall-hanging picture frames and wrap them like a gift. Then, hang them back up on the wall for a pop of holiday cheer! Let the kids unwrap them at night's end. The memorable photos inside should be gift enough!

3. Full Circle
How many plain wreaths do you have packed away in boxes? One idea to spruce up the tradition? Make a modern sunburst-inspired rendition with a Styrofoam wreath form (a cheap purchase) and a bunch of multipurpose zip ties spray-painted in a festive color. One by one, loop them around the form and fasten them with tie end facing out until you've made it all the way around. Another idea? Recycle Christmas cards and old ornaments by hot-gluing and pinning them to the wreath form. Just cut up the cards in unique shapes and intersperse them with lightweight ornaments for a new take on the old wreath! For more ideas on how to create a unique wreath, check out these easy H-E-B crafts.

4. Create a Winter Wonderland
If you are hosting a holiday party for many denominations (hello, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa!), don't worry about decorating to appease all of them. It'll make your guests dizzy! Instead, just rock out a winter wonderland theme with a neutral base color of white and splash in some bling metallic elements like copper — which I predict will be the hot new interior color this year — or silver. You can then let your house be "holiday" without committing to any particular one. Call it festive glamour!

5. Put in Place
If you are hosting at any point, the idea of creating custom place mats for each of your guests is a gift that keeps on giving! Instead of a plain old table linen at the dining table, you can create these by cutting things out of magazines and newspapers or old photocopied pics of the favorite peeps in your life — or you can create them through H-E-B Photo. Your guests will really get a kick out of them, and they help create a colorful aspect to your dining display.

6. Forever Fabric
Pull out all of your vases, and then head to your local crafts store. Pick up enough silk poinsettias to fill your clear glass vases. You can buy varieties that look high-quality but are quite inexpensive — especially with all the Christmas sales going on this month. Scatter them throughout your house for a consistent look from room to room! Another option is to place a few inexpensive glass balls in some bowls and embellish with a few sprigs of greenery or some leftover ribbon.

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