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