Hosting Christmas parties and family gatherings can be as stressful as the traffic swarming down at the mall, and nearly as expensive as the overflowing bags they’re filled there to get. But holiday decor doesn’t have break the bank (or even be storebought)! This year, go back to basics with handmade, DIY decorations and traditional centerpieces to save money and showcase your creativity. Who knows, maybe you’ll create some holiday traditions of your own!

For the Door

Welcome your guests into your home with a traditional holiday wreath! There are tons of DIY guides for both traditional and modern wreaths, using everything from branches to pinecones to ribbons. If you like the natural look, you can usually find extra Christmas tree branches anywhere they’re trimming and selling trees, and usually they’re happy to give them away for free! Even if having a traditional Christmas tree isn’t your thing, a tasteful, caringly decorated wreath is a great way to invite the holiday season into your home.

For the Tree

If you do decide to go for a tree, you can cut down on costs by pairing your special family ornaments with traditional tree trimmings. Try tying bows in varying colors on the ends of branches to help keep ornaments from sliding off while adding a colorful flair, and alternate rows of lights with strings of classic garlands, like this popcorn/cranberry DIY creation. You can also create strings of beads, buttons, or paper chains to dress up your tree decor (and to keep younger kids occupied during the party). And of course, don’t forget the candy canes!

For the Mantelpiece

The mantlepiece is traditionally reserved for hanging stockings but can be used for so much more! Take advantage of the extra tree trimmings, mixed with candle holders, pine cones, pomegranates, and any other decorative natural materials you can think of to create a festive display.

If you’re celebrating Hanukkah, the mantel is a great place for more than just the Menorah. Use the focal point to display your brightest blue and white candles, the most creative dreidel-inspired decor, and even decorations filled with gelt for a bit of whimsy. Mazel tov!

For the Table

No holiday feast is complete without a stunning centerpiece to be admired from all seats at the table, and matching decorations along the length of the table as well. Glass vases, hurricane glasses, and even champagne flutes are perfect for filling with cranberries and floating candles, springs of holly, bright citrus fruits or sparkly ornaments. For added shine, grab a couple packs of LED battery-operated string lights from Home Depot or Target and display them around ornaments in a hurricane glass or on their own in mason jars.

For Anywhere

What holiday party is complete without holiday cookies?? Whip up a few batches of your best holiday treats, whether they’re gingerbread men, cookie-press-creations, or dainty macaroons and display them on a cake plate or tiered pastry stand anywhere guests might expect to find them. Keep a tray in the kitchen in case you need extra (for the guests or just for you!).

And of course, the mistletoe. Hanging solo in a doorway or as part of a more decorative display, this holiday tradition is pretty self-explanatory. Beautiful on its own, don’t shy away from letting the mistletoe speak for itself!