Friday, October 30, 2009

Decorating For Christmas- On a Budget!

Decorating for Christmas- on a budget!

I loved being at my Grandma's house all year around, but even more so at Christmas. She collected Snowmen. Grandma had more snowmen than we were able to count. To put it into perspective, no single ornament on her tree was anything but snowmen. She had a wall made into shelves, 8 feet tall, and probably 15 feet long, every shelf filled to the brim with snowmen. Her tables, wall shelves, even the bathroom, were all filled with snowmen.

But that sort of decorating takes years to accomplish. She got her snowmen mostly from gifts at Christmas, though she was also known to pick one or two up here and there.

So, how do you decorate your house frugally, but make it look nice? Well, forget the paper chains, fake snow, and window clings, here are some idea's that go above and beyond. While there is a definite place for the above mentioned items, not everyone is into preschool-chic decorating. ;)

Frugal Decorating

What You'll Need:

Pillar Candles in Holiday Colors*
Beaded Garland*
Wide Holiday Print Fabric Ribbon*
1-3 Packages Glass or Plastic Bulb Ornaments (if you have young children, or adventurous pets, I recommend using shatter proof, or plastic bulbs for this)
1/2 Yard Holiday Printed or Solid Colored Fabric
1-2 Roll Wrapping Paper in a Color or Pattern of your choice*
Wide Gift Wrap Ribbon*
1 Strand 35 count lights- multicolored or solid**
1 Bag Potpourri*
Suction Cup Hooks for Windows*

I have all the items listed as items to buy, but you should first raid your home to see what all you might already have on hand to use! Quite a bit of the items can be found at Dollar Tree for less than you would pay at a department store, such as Target or Walmart.

The items with a * beside them indicates items you can most likely find at the dollar store. Please note that while Dollar Tree does carry strands of lights now, I would not use them in the manner in which they are needed. I bought some one year, and used them in a potpourri jar, and the wires melted together, and almost caused a fire. Now, I skip Dollar Tree lights!

You might want to decide on a color theme before buying, so that you can stick to a general idea when picking up any items you may need to purchase. You can use any theme you want- jewel tones, traditional red & green, silver & gold, or pick a singular solid color for most of the items. The only limit is your imagination!

What you'll want from home:

1 large jar, like a mason jar, or a large, clear vase (make sure it has a wide neck, not a skinny one!)
1 large serving bowl
1 small "salad" or "dessert" plate for each candle bought (these can be covered if they are not "matching")
Hot glue gun & got glue

Here are the ways these few items can really make a nicely decorated home for your holidays. Many of these ideas would look nice in an office setting as well!

Potpourri Light Jar

  • First things first, put the strand of lights into the jar or vase, leaving the plug out. Tape the wire on the outside of the jar so that it lays flat against the jar, but leave enough slack to plug it in.
  • Fill the jar with the potpourri, and plug it in. These jars are perfectly safe, and they will heat the potpourri up enough to give off scent. They work great in bathrooms as a night light, and to scent the air.
Christmas Bulb Centerpiece
  • Next, lay some fabric in the bowl so it hangs over the edges, if you think it needs to be covered. If not, just skip the fabric and move on to arranging bulbs in it in different sizes, but you probably won't use all of them.
  • Drape the beaded garland in the bowl, and on top of the bulbs. The colors can all be the same, or you can mix it up for contrast. This makes a great table centerpiece. If you didn't need to use the fabric inside, then put it under the bowl when you place it on the table.
Candle Plates
  • For the next one, arrange the candle pillars on plates with 1 or 2 of the smaller sized bulbs on the plate. If you have beaded garland left, put that around it, too.
  • Take the ribbon, and cut it so that you have just enough to wrap around the candle. Hot glue it to the candle in the back.
  • Set these out on tables around the living room for a festive touch. If the plates need to be covered, use the fabric that's left over, cutting it into squares that fit on the inside of it, or drape over the edges.
Wrapped Wall Hangings
  • Find any pictures or mirrors that are hanging on the walls, and take them down. Wrap them up with the nice wrapping paper, tie with the ribbon, and add a bow, then hang it back up.
Window Ornaments
  • Last, take any left over ornaments and any left over ribbon, and tie small bows to hot glue to the top of the ornament, just below the hanger. You can use thread or fish string to hang them in windows from the suction cups. Please note, cats will bat at these, you may want the "shatterproof" plastic bulbs if you do this one.

Viola- a frugally decorated house with out a paper chain, snowflake, or window cling in site.

Ways to add more to the decoration for a few dollars more:

You can add to the elegance by weaving a strand of battery operated lights in the bulb center piece to light it up some.

Add battery or cord powered "candle" lights to the windows under the hanging bulbs to reflect some light off of them.

Buy more fabric ribbon to use on the picture presents in place of cheap ribbon.

Get a pretty table runner at the dollar store to put on the kitchen table under the ornament centerpiece.

Buy a set of taper candles and sturdy heavy (but short!) taper holders (I've found heavy glass ones at the dollar store), and put those into the bowl before adding the bulbs & garland for a candle centerpiece.

Buy a bag of jingle bells for about $1-$2 at the store, and add a few to each of the different candle plates, the ornament bowl, and even mixed in with the potpourri jar. Glue one to the center of each bow on the hanging ornaments as well.

I hope these idea's help some people with new decorating ideas!

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