Cheap Christmas Thrills

By Megan Robb

Christmas decorating when you’re poor is a lot more fun than it sounds. For one thing, it’s the time of year when hanging gaudy crap around your house is permissible. Put an unfolded paper clip through anything and it becomes a Christmas ornament.

Paper snowflakes? That’s cool. Cookie cutters? Bring ’em on. The pendants from your necklaces? Nice. Tell everyone Martha Stewart said so.

Make a cranberry and popcorn garland and tell everyone you’re going for “eco-friendly fun with a vintage feel”. Go crazy. And if you live alone, it’s even better because you can make up your own traditions. I don’t have a Christmas tree. I’m not against them, but it looks unnecessary when it’s just me in the house.

Besides, there’s already one at my parents’ house. I do have a fake evergreen garland from the dollar store. I can dangle shiny things from that. I don’t have lights, either, but I do have an advent wreath made with dollar store candles. The need for conifer-based decor and a means to dangle shiny things are satisfied. Done and done.

One caveat: If you are going to make a cranberry and popcorn garland, be prepared to eat half of the popcorn off of the floor. In fact, just eat all of the popcorn and string the cranberries instead.

No one will judge you.

 Contributing writer Megan Robb is a writer, consultant and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles can be found at,, and, as well as her personal website,