Decorating for Christmas (When your heart is BIG but your budget and home are SMALL)

Decorating For Christmas

I love the whole Christmas season!

I love the festive atmosphere around town, the whispers behind closed doors and secret shopping trips, the caroling and hot chocolate, the lights, tree, and decorations, the family traditions unique to each family, the Christmas cantatas and children’s plays, the Christmas movies we only watch once a year, and of course, all the fun of Christmas morning. (I think I have a harder time sleeping on Christmas Eve than the children do!)

But when we moved our family of TEN from a full-time income and a traditional brick and mortar home, to full-time ministry and a 37 ft. travel trailer, I began to wonder, How could we still make Christmas beautiful and special for our family?

There was no room for a 9 ft tree, no fireplace to hang our stockings over, and a much smaller budget than we were used to for Christmas treasures. 

I’ve found a few things over the past two years that help our family decorate and prepare for Christmas that don’t clutter up our small living space, and don’t break the bank, either. 

Today, I’m sharing three tips (and alot of pictures!) for how we make our home Christmas-y (Is that even a word?) with a tiny living space and an even tinier budget. 🙂

  • Tip # 1: Get a tiny tree! 




Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a tree and lights. The kids really love it (Who are we kidding? Daddy and Mommy love it, too!), and never wanted to skip this part of decorating! We literally searched high and low for a tabletop tree and finally found one for around $15 at Hallmark. I spray painted the white snow on the branches to give it the look we wanted. We wanted a tree that could be moved easily so we opted for 2 strands of battery operated lights! There’s no long cords for baby to grab, and the tree can be moved anywhere in the travel trailer and still look lit and pretty.

  • Tip # 2: Get creative in decorating your space. 

Sometimes we have to think outside the box a little bit. We don’t have room for wreaths or lovely garlands, but I still wanted our trailer to look festive.

We found a bunch of adorable wall stickers at Hobby Lobby for just a couple of dollars each. Even the older kids loved these! They sparkle and add a little festive fun–without adding a bit of clutter.







I also switch out our couch pillows for some Christmas ones. They’re still comfy and functional, but they add more color and spirit to the room.


We purchased a personalized picture frame–everyone loves looking at this and finding their own names. (We have plenty of personalized ornaments packed away for the day we’re in a traditional home again, but for now, we’re enjoying this one!)


Lastly, a few strands of LED lights brighten up the whole trailer! What is Christmas decor without lights? 🙂





The kids lights are actually ball-shaped, and baby Titus loves the “balls!”.

  • Tip # 3 Be practical if you have young children.

This tip is not as fun (who wants to be practical?), but I’ve realized over the years that  Christmas clutter and breakable, sentimental items aren’t very practical when you have a house (or trailer!) full of small children. I want my children to enjoy Christmas, not feel that it’s full of grown-up decor and untouchable knick-knacks.

With that thought in mind, I love this toy nativity set! It’s a great hands-on Little People toy, it’s perfect for curious little hands, and it’s virtually non-breakable. We can talk about and act out the story of Jesus’ birth (the real reason we celebrate Christmas) and I don’t have to worry about the donkey getting broken or the angel falling from the top of the manger. 🙂



These simple Christmas decorations didn’t cost much, but they have brought so much happiness to our family! Sometimes happiness is found in embracing where we are and what we’ve been given. 

I hope that this Christmas season, no matter what the size of your home (or your bank account!), you will find joy in celebrating the Savior’s birth with your family.

(Don’t forget to subscribe to Perspectives in Parenting or “Like” my page on Facebook so you don’t miss a single post! New posts coming soon: “Connecting over Christmas: How to Keep the Holidays Stress-Free for Adopted Children”, and “Connection over Correction: How to Reach the Heart of Your Child Through Connection”.




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