You can still get festive without busting the bank.

Stack Firewood
Even if you don’t have a fireplace, stack yourself some firewood. You can get creative with how you stack it if you want, but really it’s the presence of firewood that bespeaks a warm hearth in a cold world, which is really just another way of describing a home. If you’re really crafty, try stacking some wood as if in a fireplace and build a little hearth around it.

Get a Christmas Tree
I get that Christmas trees can be expensive this time of year, and can seem like a heavy investment for such a short season. Not to mention they’re usually pretty big. Nevertheless, a decorated pine tree is probably the number one symbol of the season regardless of religious affiliation, dating back to whenever the early Christians adopted this traditionally pagan symbol. Bring your significant other (or, heck, a first date) and head on down to a Christmas tree farm where you can usually make a good date of it. You’ll get extra ManScore points (not to mention points with your date) if you cut down the tree yourself. Alternatively, if all that sounds like it’ll take up too much time/space/money, try getting an old school Charlie Brown Christmas tree and decorate it pathetically with just a few ornaments. I promise people will find it endearingly charming.

Hang Stockings
You can pick up seasonally appropriate felt stockings at any craft store, and if you’re really strapped for cash, hang your biggest pair of wool socks and call it a day. Just make sure you hang a few pairs or it’ll actually just look like you’re hanging your old socks to dry.

Make a Candy Cane Vase
Step One: Go get a vase. Step Two: Fill it with candy canes. Step Three: Put it on an end table or as a centerpiece and enjoy seasonally appropriate candy all winter long.

Spruce Up Your Home
You don’t need a Christmas tree if you’re able to get some spruce for the place. Go to your nearest craft store (honestly, Target will do), or head out to your nearest forest and cut yourself some evergreen branches. Stand them up in a tall vase or hang them over the mantelpiece—either way, you’ll quickly see how “spruce it up” became a phrase.

Wrap Dummy Gifts
Get some old boxes from your last Amazon purchase, buy some wrapping paper, and wrap them up. Then put your freshly wrapped packages throughout the house or ideally displayed prominently on a bookshelf somewhere. You can try mixing and matching wrapping paper styles if that’s your jam; personally I’m rather partial to the simple brown kraft paper that makes for a more unified and masculine look.

You might be sensing a theme about bringing the wintery staples of nature into the house, but I’m telling you, these things go a long way. Gather some pinecones and display them. If you want to get particularly crafty, try painting them (I personally like them plain).

Display Your Christmas Cards
If your family is anything like mine, you know how impossible it is to get everyone to sit still for a family photo, not to mention trying to get a photo that’s actually half decent. If you’re the recipient of friends’ Christmas cards, be sure to display them somewhere we people can see them. You’ll seem popular and knock down your decorating quotient all in one stroke.

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