Frugal Last Minute Holiday Guide to Decorating and Gifting

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Did the holidays sneak up on you? Did you just now realize that Christmas Eve is 10 days away and New Year’s Eve just 17 days away?

If you are all the sudden sweating bullets, no need to worry I’ve got a plan for you. While I may not have come up with the directions, recipes or tutorials for everything, I’ve vetted them all for you so you’ll know how long it really takes and what it will cost. Here are some frugal last minute holiday decoration and gift ideas:

Frugal Last Minute Holiday Decorations

Recycled Wine Bottle Vase:

Total time actually doing some part other than letting it dry-15 minutes

Cost– I had everything on hand if you don’t have at least a few of the items then skip it. Just a few of the items should cost $5 or less

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Supplies: Wine Bottle, Spray Paint (any color, but I like gold), glitter puff paint or glitter and glue, clear acrylic seal (optional)


  1. Take label off the wine bottle
  2. Spray paint with whatever color you have on hand (because any color can be a holiday color if glitter is involved)
  3. Let dry, or use hair dryer to dry
  4. Use glue and glitter or glitter puff paint to decorate however you like, I did snowflakes and dots
  5. Dry
  6. If you have a clear acrylic coating available finish the wine bottle off with a clear acrylic


Total Time: Just ornaments – 20 minutes, fabric- 1 hour, I wouldn’t recommend the fabric route, but it’s what I had on hand

Cost: Shop the dollar store $10 but even shopping online you can get away with $15 – $17 including the hot glue gun if you don’t have one.

Supplies: Wreath frame, hot glue gun and glue, ornaments, something for the hook, I used a piece of ribbon

Directions: I like THIS tutorial best. Though there are several on Pinterest.

Frugal Last Minute Holiday Gifts

You can’t go wrong with a personalized gift. Though a lot of times personalizing something yourself can take a lot of time, or it costs a pretty penny to have someone personalize a gift for you. Don’t worry I’ve come up with some easy, quick and frugal gifts you can give.


I’m always referencing this gift because it is soooo easy and cost efficient.

Total Time: Actual work 15 minutes, and then one day to let dry

Cost: $6-7

Supplies: Tiles ( you can get a set of 9 square Tiles from Lowes for $4), Modge Podge, felt feet, pictures or whatever personal touch you want. This could be maps of places you’ve visited with the person, labels of their favorite beers or wines, pictures, or you could even paint the tiles


  1. Clean the tiles
  2. Put the felt feet on the bottom, use a little glue if you need to
  3. Apply a light layer of ModgePodge
  4. Place picture on top of Hodgepodge Layer, press firmly to get rid of air bubbles
  5. Apply layer of ModgePodge ensuring you seal all the edges, let dry 30 minutes
  6. Apply final layer of ModgePodge and dry overnight

Favorite Saying Painting

Do they have a mantra or favorite quote, create a piece of art out of it.

Total Time: 30 minutes

Cost: $5

Supplies: Canvas (get one from goodwill or a garage sale -you can paint over it), 2-3 Acrylic Paints (you can get them for about $1 each at any craft store), Paint Brush, Saying

Directions: Paint a solid or marble of color, let dry. With a contrasting color paint the saying.

Un-Baked Goods

Total Time: 10 min

Cost: $3 (for the Jar)

Supplies: Mason Jar and the dry ingredients of your favorite recipe, all of which you likely have on hand as well as a copy of the recipe. A few ideas: Cookies, Hot Cocoa, or Bread Mix

Directions: Layer ingredients into Jar. Decorate jar if you would like.

Movie Night Bundle

Total Time: 5 min

Cost: Up to you $3-$10

Supplies: Redbox or other rental service gift card $1-5, 1-2 packs of popcorn($2-3), 1-2 boxes of movie candy ($1-2), Ribbon to put it all together

Directions: Stack everything together and tie it all up with a ribbon. I hope you are feeling a little better about the holidays and a little less overwhelmed. Happy Holidays!!!

Wrapping it Up with a Bow on Top

Don’t let the fast approaching holidays overwhelm you too much. You can do this, you don’t have to spend tons of money just because you’re doing things a bit last minute. You can be both frugal and generous.

Related: 5 Ways to Save on Stocking Stuffers

 Those are all the frugal last minute holiday decoration and gift ideas I have, do you have any more? Let me know in the comments!

Life tools & resources I recommend

The Skimm (for staying informed) I've been a loyal Skimmer for over three years. The Skimm is a news source that shows up in your email first thing in the morning M-F. It gives you a 5-minute rundown of what's happening in the world and links to legitimate news sources if you want to learn more about a topic. I start every day with my coffee and The Skimm. I <3 it so much.

Winc (for Wine Delivery) I like ordering a box of different wines to try from Winc every few months. The bottles average $13 a piece and delivery is free when you get at least 4 bottles (more wine please). If you want to check out Winc, you can get a free bottle of wine using my link. I'm very pro free wine.

Checkout 51 (to save on groceries) To save money on groceries, download the Checkout51 app and sign up for free. Each week on Thursday, "new deals" come out. Go through and star the items that are on your grocery shopping list. Do your shopping and at the end use your phone to snap a picture of receipt through the app and hit submit. Once you earn $20 in rewards you can cash out and Checkout51 will send you a check.


Liz is a blogger helping people with personal finance and working for themselves. She shares her own journey to debt freedom and helps graduates dealing with above average student loan debt on her site, Less Debt More Wine. She currently resides in NC after calling Massachusetts home for nearly a decade.

  • I love how creative you are Liz! I have enough supplies to make a wine bottle vase and I would love to have a go at coasters. I’ve never used modge podge before but I hear you can do wonderful things with it!

    • says:

      The coasters were my first foray into ModgePodge and it was super easy.

  • Mel says:

    I’ve only heard wonderful things about the coasters idea and I’m a big fan of the movie bundle idea.

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