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10 Simple Christmas Decorating Ideas Using Stuff You Already Have
By Shari Brown

It's Christmas time again, and, even though you've strung lights outside your house and "decked the halls" inside with boughs of holly (or cedar, or pine…), it just doesn't feel festive!

You need something else. Something new.

But you don't really want to spend your hard-earned money on new holiday décor- after all, you still have gifts to buy! What can you do? Here's ten simple (but VERY effective) ways to use common Christmas items you already have to add that special holiday touch.

1. Take some of your old glass ball ornaments (you know, the ones that look so drab compared to your other tree decorations!) and arrange them in a bowl. Clear glass bowls are especially striking, as the ornaments show through. If you don't have an appropriate bowl, use a basket.

I've also used small crystal candy dishes to display the small ornaments that were passed down to me by my grandmother- mostly tiny orbs that had broken at the top and had lost their hooks, but still had beautiful pearly finishes.

2. Use your ribbon (C'mon, `fess up- you weren't going to put in on the packages anyway!) and some bows to "wrap" unlikely items. Like the refrigerator. Doors. An end table. Your kitchen cupboards. The dog. Okay, maybe not the dog…

3. While you've got the ribbon out, grab your curling ribbon and make some curly "pom-poms". (Simply cut several lengths of curling ribbon, curl them by sliding the lengths against a scissor blade, and tie them together at the center.) Keep in mind that the curling ribbon will be much shorter after curling- figure on about half its original length.

Tape or tie the "pom-poms" wherever you have a dull spot- they can be tied to the end of your banister (inside or out), hung on doorknobs, or even attached to the tops of your dining chairs.

4. Recreate the Nativity with your children's toys. I admit that you probably will get some interesting comments- especially if you don't have kids! - but this can be a great way to reinforce the Christmas story. Arrange them on a small table, using a sheet for the ground if you'd like. Just make sure any Barbie dolls you use are dressed. (Helps if they have their heads attached, too.)

5. Make a holiday candle garden. Use a Christmas-themed plate or tray, or even a plain metal one and arrange 3 or 5 candles of varying heights (odd numbers look best). Tuck some greenery (artificial or real) in between the candles to give your candle garden an extra festive touch.

This is also a great way to accent a special candle with a holiday theme- surround it with plain pillar candles in a complementary color.

6. Recycle old tinsel garland by cutting shorter lengths of it and using it to accent your current décor. You can cut out any matted or thin sections, using the "still-good" pieces as filler in your wreath, candle accents, or as a basket handle accent (wrap around the basket handle in a spiral pattern, leaving some of the original handle showing.)

Re-frame a mirror with gold, red or green garland. Tie a bow and attach it to the top of a present or homemade "goodie" tray.

7. If you have access to free pine cones, gather some up and display them in a basket. You can spray potpourri oil on them (cinnamon is traditional, but vanilla, apple, or gingerbread would be very festive also) or spray them with silver or gold paint. Another great idea is to dab a bit of glue on each "point" of the cone and then sprinkle with glitter.

If you don't have any pine cones in your area, you can usually find them (most likely pre-scented) at your local craft store.

8. Cut out the patterns- Santa, snowmen, penguins, etc.- on your leftover wrapping paper and use them to decorate. Spray adhesive (found at your local craft store) will enable the cutouts to stick to your walls, wooden boxes, bottles…pretty much anything you can find! And the best part- it's not permanent! (Check the adhesive instructions.)

9. Have any uncomfortable or worn-out Christmas socks? Stuff them with a bit of batting, sew the tops closed (insert a little ribbon loop in the corner first), and "string" them on yarn or thin ribbon. Hang on the wall or mantel, or even the tree!

10. The simplest, yet most beautiful holiday decoration? Paper snowflakes! Relive your childhood and create a few. Or a whole blizzard. If you're feeling generous, you can ask your kids to help. When you're done, tape them on your windows- whenever you look out, you'll see a white Christmas (even if you live in the tropics!)

See Also:

Easy, Affordable Holiday Decor
"I wish I could afford to spruce this place up before the holidays." If this is your sentiment and your budget is tight, here are four things you can do immediately to make your home sparkle for the holidays.

Holiday Memories Rest On Traditions
For most people, holiday seasons bring with them warm memories from years past. Traditions are the stuff those memories are built on, and each family has its own special tradition that comes either from the long ago past or has been built in just one or two generations.

Be Creative with Your Holiday Wrapping
Why give presents wrapped in boring paper when the kids can help you decorate gifts in fantastic new ways?!

Santa on a Shoestring
According to a recent survey, American families intend to spend an average of $483 on gifts this Christmas. To help keep the costs down this Christmas season, Sue Hannah offers some money-saving gift ideas.

Shari Brown is the owner of http://www.JustASmallThing.com/, A home décor site that brings you affordable accessories to brighten your life. Because after all, "The small things in life are sometimes the most important."

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