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Asha Dornfest is the founder and editor of Parent Hacks, a blog that shares "forehead-smackingly smart parenting tips." She's also the coauthor of Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less, with Christine Koh. Asha lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two kids.

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6 Inexpensive Ways to Add Holiday Style to Your Kids’ Clothes

By Asha Dornfest |

A big thanks to Target for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

The whole “dress for the holidays” thing eludes me. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas or Easter, so there was no regular occasion that required a frilly dress. But dropping money on an item of kid clothing that will get worn once, maybe twice, before they outgrow them just seems silly. The one time I bought my then 7-year-old son a button-down shirt for a party, he stripped it off within 10 minutes and ran around in his undershirt for the rest of the evening.

On the other hand, I get that it’s fun (and respectful) to wear something fancy to a special occasion, and to look festive in the holiday card photo. I also get that some parents take great pleasure in dressing their kids. I don’t happen to be one of those parents.

I neither want my kids to look like slobs, nor do I want to deprive them of the experience of Fancy Dressing Up. One solution is to delegate the shopping. My husband loves clothes and now that my son is a teenager and is taking an interest in his appearance, he and his dad have great fun searching for just the right outfit.

My 9-year-old daughter is as no-nonsense as I am and prefers simple styles. I’m so grateful that, for now, we can still shop together in our own low-key way, mostly oblivious to trends and peer pressure.

So how do we stay practical while still having a shot at holiday style? We clean up and dress up the stuff the kids wear during the rest of the year.

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6 inexpensive ways to add holiday style to your kids’ clothes

Buy new shoes (or clean the old ones)

New, clean shoes have a way of adding polish to just about anything. If you buy new, choose a versatile, comfortable style that can be worn with a dressy or casual outfit. For boys, that might be a pair of dark skateboard shoes; for girls, metallic ballet flats. Pictured: Boy's Shaun White Gower Skate – Navy

Do you keep your family festively stylish during the holidays? We’re giving away three $50 Target giftcards to brighten the season! To enter for a chance to win, simply comment on this post with a personal tip on how you dress your children conveniently — and with style – during the holidays! Giveaway on 12/31/12.

Asha Dornfest is the co-author of Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More By Doing Less and publisher of Parent Hacks, a site crammed with tips for making family life easier.

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About Asha Dornfest

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Asha Dornfest

Asha Dornfest is the founder and editor of Parent Hacks, a blog that shares "forehead-smackingly smart parenting tips." She's also the coauthor of Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less, with Christine Koh. Asha lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two kids. Read bio and latest posts → Read Asha's latest posts →

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8 thoughts on “6 Inexpensive Ways to Add Holiday Style to Your Kids’ Clothes

  1. Kim B says:

    We’re big fans of hat around here, so for this time of year we bring out the “Christmas hats,” a variety of Santa hats in all different patterns we’ve collected over the years. Our daughter is big enough now to wear the smaller ones. The nice thing about hats is that because heads grow more slowly as the kids get older, we get longer use out of them and they’re something “new” and special when we take out the hats for the season.

  2. Sophia says:

    We get the holiday look by a fun sparkly accessory like sparkly shoe or a headband.

  3. adrienne says:

    To minimize holiday headaches, I dress my kids according to WASHING INSTRUCTIONS.

    Thanks to generous friends with older kids, our fashion world rotates on hand-me-downs. For every girl’s size I have at least 4 to 8 holiday appropriate outfits in like-new condition (most are only worn a few times).

    The wash and wear variety, appear throughout December. The kids can wear them to school or lunch with grandpa. They also wear these to holiday meals, so I don’t have to worry about their clothing whenever they near a frosted cupcake.

    The dry clean only outfits* are donned only for special events without food (like school music programs and a midnight church service) or the last hurrah of the season (where I expect they’ll get food on them).

    By dressing my young kids in clothes with low maintenance needs, I get to give more attention to all the people we’re with (and it’s much more enjoyable).

    *If I were actually buying a holiday outfit, it would have to be wash and wear- and like Kristie, I would lean toward separates with seasonal colors more than holiday-specific patterns.

    I love Kim B’s idea about hats!

  4. Melissa says:

    Though I would love an excuse to dress my kids in cute holiday outfits, they don’t cooperate any more. :) My daughter doesn’t like fancy dresses, so we chose separates that feel dressy when put together (velvet skinny jeans, sparkly tee, faux fur shrug), but can be worked into her everyday wardrobe. For the boys, if we need to buy anything new, it needs to work for any dressy occasion in the coming year. For the kid who doesn’t like button down shirts, we’ve had good luck with a cotton sweater in a favorite color.

  5. Mary says:

    Strange…I commented this morning and it never showed up. I accessorize a lot to save money. My daughter has some cute headbands that will spruce up any outfit.

  6. Mary says:

    I’m trying a new email address because my comments aren’t showing up.

    We use accessories a lot. My daughter has some cute headbands that will spruce up any outfit.

  7. Asha Dornfest says:

    [Hi folks: just wanted to pop on to say that the comment function is a bit weird right now. Don't worry if your comment doesn't appear immediately -- there's a moderation setting on this blog that seems a lot more sensitive than usual. I will check it at least 1x per day. -- Asha]

  8. Carmen says:

    I buy a few fancier pieces that will go with other items in her wardrobe.

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