Inexpensive CHRISTMAS Decorating
“And so this is Christmas…,” the Christmas song goes. It’s that time of the year once more. The merry vibe is now filling the air.
The Christmas vibe, however, does not just happen. People create it. The merry feeling is brought about by the Christmas songs people play during the season, and by the colorful decorations set up at establishments and homes everywhere.
“Nothing says ‘Christmas!’ quite like a beautifully decorated home,” writes Cynthia Ewer, in an article at www.christmas.organizedhome.com. The merry tunes, the twinkling lights, and the artificial snow that are seen in tropical regions (like the Philippines) at Christmas all summon the much anticipated characteristic feeling of the holidays.
It is a cherished tradition in most Filipino homes to decorate for Christmas. “But,” Ewer asks in her article, “at what cost?” It can cost some fortune to create that feeling of holiday at home – especially if the family starts their decorating from scratch every year.
Ewer shares simple strategies and ideas for creating a festive – yet frugal – home for Christmas:
Use what you have.
Before you dash out to the craft store or a Christmas tree shop, visit your attic or storage room. Memories fade from year to year, so refresh yours with a quick inventory of the holiday decorations you already have on hand. Keep them firmly in mind as you read Christmas magazines or check out Christmas tree displays. Perhaps you can update your decor with a few simple additions.
Look to the natural world for a source of inexpensive decorations. The fully grown stem of maguey flower can be made into a beautiful Christmas tree. There are many other native bushes that are good Christmas tree material, as well. Look around you for inspiration, and bring Mother Nature inside for the holidays. It may not cost you anything but thought and little effort.
Fly your own colors.
Each year, designers and stylists promote a new, hot color scheme for holiday decorating, hoping to spur improved sales through color obsolescence. One year, holiday colors will trend bright, primary and inspired by the 1960s. The next, “retro” schemes are back, with rich reds and dense, dark green taking center stage.
The best defense against the annual hot-color changeover is to claim a personal decorating strategy: choose a color, a texture and a metallic (gold or silver) flair, and stick to it for life.
Display collections and souvenirs.
Rout out all those teapots! Unpack Auntie’s salt-and-pepper shaker collection! Holiday decorating dovetails nicely with displaying collections. Group grandmother’s demitasse cups and saucers around a teapot on a tray, and add holly branches for an instant centerpiece.
Don’t ignore the mundane!
Decorate a tiny tree with playing cards and bow-clad bottles of airline drinks. Minipretzels threaded on a ribbon may complete the Playroom Tree, and it is likely to earn admiration from anyone.
Those who travel do well to think “Christmas!” when it comes to souvenirs. Souvenir Christmas ornaments are widely available, pack well and make a wonderful decorating splash. If you have collected enough ornaments, consider creating a travel tree: a small tree displaying souvenirs, postcards and ornaments. It’s a great conversation piece at holiday parties.
Think theme – and spread the word.
Choosing a personal theme for Christmas decor not only makes decorating meaningful and fun, but gives others a head-start on gift-giving. Building a stock of holiday decor around a theme is easy when
you spread the word! And, say, a dear aunt decorates her home in a certain motif; it can be a clue of what Christmas gift to give her.
Don’t neglect local craft fairs or holiday bazaars as a source of inexpensive Christmas decorations. Most items are reasonably priced, and, generally, the proceeds go to a good cause. Support your local crafters and save at the same time!
Look to the kitchen.
Food and decor intersect at Christmas time – and never more happily than when the whole family gets in on the fun. Build a gingerbread house with the children. No matter how crooked the walls or droopy the roof, you’ll have created a centerpiece, and memories.
Use a soda straw to punch holes in cookies; string a ribbon through the holes and hang your creations on the tree. Even such simple touches as a bowl of nuts on the table serves the holiday decor scheme.
Holiday decorating can be beautiful, lively and fun and frugal, Ewer emphasizes. And, yes, her frugal decorating strategies can really save money.