Thought I would get started posting my Christmas articles. Many of these were posted on my old blogs in the past, but have been updated and revamped to be current. Never before posted here, I hope you find some helpful hints for Christmas this year. Ours is going to be almost all handmade gifts and we are being very frugal. I would imagine if you are here, you probably are too. Here are 10 simple ideas for saving some money this Christmas.
1. Ornaments – 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 also used some old “glass” ornaments that were not balls, but actual ornaments that were sants, and elves, etc. It looked great and very festive. You can do this same thing if you purchase the cheap glass balls at Wal-mart and a clear glass bowl. I priced them and your total for 2-3 bowls would be WELL under $10 (be sure to check the dollar store too!) 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. Ribbon – I am a ribbon collector – I scrapbook and I use them for EVERYTHING. So go ahead – use your ribbon. (you know what I’m talking about – that stash you save every holiday because you’re GOING to use it) Wrap the ribbon around different objects in your home – door knobs, end table legs, vases, collectibles – use your imagination and get creative. 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.
3. Christmas Cards – We all have years worth of Christmas cards, and do you have extra’s from last year’s card mailing? I do, but I intend to use them again this year to people who I’ve met this year. However, if you do have extra cards, etc. Cut them up – cut the cover’s off and make postcards or purchase cheap frames from the $$ store and frame them. Let your children cut them out. Cut Santa out of a card, punch a hole at the top, tie some ribbon and voila – an ornament. Use them to make place cards, decoupage, place them under a piece of glass on a table to decorate.
4. Candles – 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.
5. Tinsel – I have tons of this – hand me downs from all over, plus you know, at the very beginning I actually USED it. LOL 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 (I do this), 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.
6. Pine Cones – I have a HUGE collection of pine cones that over the years I’ve bought, found or my kids have collected. We often use them as great frugal fire starters, however you can use them to decorate for Christmas too. Gather some up and display them in a basket. I have a basket in the shape of a red sleigh, and I put them in there. 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.
7. Wrapping Paper – Use it to wrap boxes of various shapes, wrap a mirror in your home, frames, etc. Use wrapping paper as a “table cover” on the coffee table or end table. Another idea (that I’m not sure I’m crazy about) is to 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.)
8. Holiday Socks – 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! You can also cut them apart and into shapes and do the same thing.
9. Paper – 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!)
10. Old Holiday Decorations – We all have them. Well, at least I do. You know, the kind that remain stored with all the Christmas decorations but each year, after you decorate you wind up putting the box back downstairs with items still inside. Take those items out, and tear ’em up – cut ’em up – clean ’em up and redecorate. Use them to make ornaments (hot glue a piece of ribbon to the backside of something), use them as centerpieces, an old garland can be cut apart to be “greenery” for a candle centerpiece. Broken glass ornaments of any kind can be further smashed up and used to glue on boxes, baskets, bowls, plates, etc, for a decorative look. Old Christmas clothes can be cut apart to be made into various items, etc.