Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Holiday Decorating on a Dime (Or Less!)

I have to put on blinders as I walk past the Christmas displays already up in department stores. It is too early for me to consider Christmas shopping.

Not that there is anything wrong with shopping early, especially if the intent is to make Advent a holier and more peaceful time. I used to do that until more recent years. Now, if I buy something really special for one of my kids it is too difficult for me to hold onto it, and will find some reason to give it as a reward. I also have no room to store gifts long-term. Finally, I have too many other responsibilities at the time and think my brain cannot handle the organizational energy it takes to shop for four children meaningfully, fairly, and equitably.

However, for those of us who like to give homemade gifts or make homemade decorations, preparing for Christmas can be a yearlong process. Therefore I am going to start putting up some homemade ideas from time to time.

You can use these decorating ideas for any holiday throughout the year – just change the colors to match the season!

1. Gather acorns.
Put them in a decorative bowl unadorned; or have your kids paint them first.

2. Make popcorn strings.
You can use food dye to make them more colorful. Add cranberries for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
For instructions see Wikihow.

3. Create pinecone animals.
Glue googly eyes and pipecleaners on pinecones to make your own pinecone critters. Spray silver or gold, or glue on multi-colored glitter; use string to make into an ornament for the Christmas tree, or hang from the ceiling for a festive look.
For instructions see Enchanted Learning.

4. Make cookie cutouts.
Use a recipe using basically flour and water – no butter or sugar. These are not meant to be eaten. Cut shapes to fit the holiday, paint with tempera paints or permanent markers, and put on a clear protective coat. These can be personalized to give as a gift. (My sister Joanna makes really cute ones every Christmas!)

5. Make construction paper cutouts.
This is so cheap but is quite effective when seen from the street. Make a series of uniform-looking cutouts in the same colors – hearts for Valentine’s Day, pumpkins for Autumn, trees for Christmas, snowflakes for Winter – and tape them up in all the windows facing the street. When I first drove up to this house while seven months pregnant with my first child, the pink hearts in the light-blue trimmed windows of the all-white house combined with the snow-covered ground to charm the socks off both of us. They will fade from the sun, so throw them out after the holiday season is over. Snowflake cutouts work well on the Christmas tree as well.

6. Make macaroni strings.
Drop food coloring into the water while cooking to color the pasta. Try different shapes – as long as they can be strung.

7. Gather your own fir.
Use a branch from a pine tree to make into a garland for your front door, Advent wreath, Jesse tree, or Advent tree. Use pieces of any evergreen to decorate railings, mantel pieces, or tops of picture frames.

8. Use your button collection.
Make a string of buttons in various shapes and colors. Hang in doorways, around lamps, or on a tree.

9. Make use of your half-completed projects.
A square of crocheted yarn can be hung from a tree, or placed under a decorative vase. No one will be the wiser.

10. Make use of your baby socks-without-a-partner.
These can be hung from the tree, or from an Advent tree, where your loved ones can find small surprises waiting in the morning.

1 comment:

Loren Christie said...

Great, old-fashioned ideas. I like the one about adding cranberries to the string of popcorn.