Thursday, December 18, 2008

Frugal Christmas Decorating

I truly want my kids to have fond memories of holidays and traditions, whether we are celebrating Christmas or just turning an ordinary day into something special. That being said, I do not have very many Christmas decorations and am unwilling to spend a lot of money on them.

There are so many great ideas out there (or should I say here?) on the web. And for some of them, all it will take is some paper, scissors, and ribbon. My favorite so far this year is a name of Jesus garland I found from Monica at The Homespun Heart. I plan on making it this weekend and I'll try to post a picture because I can't link to it from her blog.

I've been talking with my sister, Jaclyn, about it and I asked her to share a couple easy and cheap ideas on Christmas decorating. So, without further ado, I introduce Jaclyn: my youngest sister, chef extraordinaire, and first guest poster.

There’s something magical to me about driving around in December and seeing all the houses lit up with thousands of Christmas lights. It brings back childhood memories of being jammed in a van with 5 siblings and my parents and everyone saying, “Oooooooohhhhhhh...aaaaahhhhh,” in unison as we drove down the rode. And I’ll never forget the ever so sweet memory I have from almost 14 years ago of my brother, Jordan, coming home one evening so excited after Jo Ann had picked him up from basketball practice. The thrill? She took a different way home so they could see the different houses lit up. You could tell by his face it meant so much to him.

Now as an adult, I want to be one of those houses. I want to make little kids smile. I want to have someone drive by my house really slowly enjoying my holiday spirit and hard work. I want to pull in my driveway after a hard day of work and be smiling so hard at my decorations that my cheeks hurt.

So, after asking my husband if we could decorate the outside of the house for the Christmas season this year and getting, “As long as no money is being spent and the electric bill doesn’t go up any” answer, I began brainstorming…trying to make Clark Griswald proud.

I decided to ask older family members if they might have anything extra or might be donating any of their decorations this year and if I could have them instead. I received two very nice wreaths and wreath hangers for my two upstairs windows and also the offer to rummage through a passed away family member’s Chirstmas stuff. They would rather see it used than keep collecting dust. So lesson learned? It never hurts to ask.

Picture taken before completion. It is now topped with a bow that has long, curly ends hanging down.

Want to guess what the frame of this tree is? Time to pull the tomato cages back out from storage. We anchored down a tomato cage (upside down of course) to one of our patio pots whose flowers have died for the season. Utilizing ribbon that I had bought last year on clearance from Goodwill, I started wrapping. First the red ribbon, followed by the gold ribbon. I found some garland that I didn’t use and presto! A pretty cool, abstract tree.

If you have a lot of garland and only a little ribbon try it out. We have no outside power, so adding lights was not an option for us, but might be for you. You can also hang small ornaments from it if you want. Get creative with it. Utilize what you have.

This idea is my favorite. I’ve been saving the “right” boxes for weeks. Brian even came back from the recycling center with two trying to help me out. I wrapped 5 different shaped boxes in festive, loud paper and threw ribbon and bows on them. The wrapping paper was bought last year after our Goodwill clearanced all their Christmas items, as was the ribbon. I made all the bows myself after seeing that the large ones at Walmart would cost $5 a piece.

A few hints: Only wrap the sides of the box you will see. Don’t waste the paper. Same with the ribbon. Don’t wrap it all the way around, it just needs the illusion that it is. We put very heavy rocks in the top boxes before wrapping, so the wind doesn’t take them away. It would be sad to see one of your pretty boxes tumbling down the street.

If you don’t want to wrap the boxes, you could paint them. We have a lot of extra paint from moving into our house. Painting will last longer through the years and you can probably turn around and use those painted boxes to put other decorations in for storage.

Last year, I stopped at a small tree lot and asked if they had any scraps. The man said they normally charge for them, but he let me have them for free. I was able to use the small branches around the house to decorate with. You could make a wreath, use some on your table as part of a centerpiece, or on your mantel. Add pinecones or other pieces of nature that you can find for free. I also recommend checking at your local Goodwill. You never know what you'll find there! Merry Christmas and happy decorating!

I hope this encourages you and that you can celebrate and decorate without feeling like your busting your budget this year. Merry Christmas!

For more frugal ideas, check out Frugal Fridays at Biblical Womanhood.



Karen said...

now that girl can wrap!!!!

Crystal said...

A tomato cage - great idea. Man, I wish I had seen this before Christmas.