Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Holidays the Frugal Way: Part 2 Decorations!

Now that you know how to get started getting the presents cheap, we move on to decorations for every season! Before you read any farther, the first thing you need to do is de-clutter the house! So I'll see you in an hour or two when you're done and we can move on :)

My absolute favorite time of year. Growing up in south Mississippi, despite all the pine trees, we actually have a fall! Leaves change, the air gets cooler and the squirrels have a spring in their step. My favorite fall was spent in Cincinnati. I felt like I had stepped into a Norman Rockwell painting. I had never seen a scene more beautiful. I like to decorate for Fall, not halloween. That's our families personal preference, because it lasts longer!  Here are a few of my favorite ideas:

1. Hurricane vases- You can't go wrong with a grouping of 3 hurricane vases (not hurricane lamps) filled with candy corn, pine cones, cinnamon sticks and nuts, gumballs (not the candy), small pumpkins, corn and gourds(real or fake) and even a few twigs add dimension. This makes a lovely centerpiece or end table decoration.
2. Burlap- cheap, inexpensive way to add texture to  a table as a runner.
3. Candles- Candle holders filled with candy corn or nuts surrounding a good smelling candle...yum!
4. Mums- Real or fake are relatively in expensive and don't take a lot of care for those of us with black thumbs (I did not inherit my grandmother's knack for making anything grow!) By the front door (inside or out) with a pumpkin and a small scarecrow would be very inviting.
5. Wine glasses- In the center of your table or along a bar turn a few wine glasses (of varying sizes) upside down and place a tiny fake pumpkin inside. Top with a small votive candle and ta da!
6. Wreath- Add a wreath to your door and it's instantly transformed. I love this cute candy corn wreath(from Woman's Day magazine), but the Indian corn wreath(from Better Homes and Gardens magazine) is what I think I'll be hanging on my door later this week because the candy corn would probably get picked off one by one (by me!).


A few fun fall crafts with the kids:

Family sign- to hand outside
Fall leaf (hand print) wreath- Trace your child's hands in several fall colors. Cut out and glue together in a circle to make a memorable fall wreath!

Add any or all of the above to make your home ready for fall!

My Dad always had this grand idea of decorating the outside of the house with Christmas lights, moving things and all sort of other Christmas related stuff. Think Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation (a holiday MUST!) 

I remember loving it as a kid, but looking back now...not so much. Maybe that's because as an adult now I appreciate the effort he(and my Mom) went through to make sure the house was decorated in holiday finery just for my sister and myself. I have taken a much more subtle approach. Instead of dozens of boxes of holiday decorations in storage I only have 6. We put out the same stuff every year, a wreath a few knick knacks, the tree (yes our's is fake, but it sheds like a real one!) and usually outside lights. However, the last 2 years every time my husband and oldest daughter would go out to put them up it started raining! Maybe this year we'll actually get them up and on.

1. Recycled Christmas Cards- I love taking old Christmas cards and turning them into gift tags. Use a shaped punch or cut them yourself. Adds character to your gifts.
2. Peppermint topiary- Green foam topiary form. Hot glue unwrapped peppermints and fill in empty spots with holly leaves. Makes a cute decoration and can be made any size. 
3. Gumdrop wreath or an Ornament wreath- adds some character and a little change to the normal Christmas greenery.
4. Vintage style holiday art- Find a few vintage style Christmas scene gift boxes-that's right gift boxes! Hang them on the wall and you have instant holiday art! Easy storage too!
5.Hurricane Vases- reuse those same vases from fall, just change what's inside. Add ball ornaments of varying sizes, candy canes and greenery, pine cones, 
6. The Tree- We can't forget the tree! 

I think I'll do this one this year...and leave it up along with my lights until Christmas rolls around again next year!

**Funny story: My daughter(age 7) and her best friend (age 6) were riding in the car one night and decided to play a game. Whoever can spot the most Christmas lights before we get home wins! My daughter won...I'm so proud! Except for one thing It was the middle of August!

Our first Christmas Tree was great. I refer to it at the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. You know the one that is about 3 feet tall and has about 4 pitiful looking branches...yeah we had that tree our first Christmas together. We weren't married yet. I lived in my dorm at college and Eric lived with a roommate. Two bachelors who could care less. Thank goodness they both cared about me! Eric on the day before Christmas went out and found the only tree available...Our Charlie Brown tree! The little tree was decorated better than any tree around complete with the 10 bulb light set and 3 hanging ornaments and underneath was packed full of gifts. I think that was my favorite tree yet, because it had so much character. We'll see if this year's tree survives the Gray Menace (Gracie the cat)! 

Lots of money and fancy ornaments are not necessary for a beautiful tree. I think the prettiest tree you'll ever find is loaded with hand made ornaments from the kids. We'll be starting in the next two weeks making ornaments for our tree this year. Molly is learning to sew and her first project will be felt Christmas ornaments. Here are a few ornament ideas:

Cinnamon Dough Ornaments- smell great and the kids can help!
Clear Balls- buy some holiday colored papers (or colors to match what ever your theme for your tree) Cut the paper into thin strips and twist around a pencil. Drop into the clear ball and it will slowly expand. Makes beautiful ornaments. Add glitter or tinsel to add some sparkle.
Felt Ornaments- I plan on just drawing out patterns for a mitten, star and christmas tree and letting Molly stitch them together and stuff will a little bit of batting.
Terra Cotta Gingerbread man
Ribbon Candy ornaments- Grab any colored ribbon(something that matches your theme) with stripes. Fold back and forth to make loops, run a needle and thread through the center. Done! You can add a bead or pearl between each loop if desired.

Picture Frames- My Mammaw started a tradition years ago to find small picture frames and hang pictures of each family member on the tree. 

There are so many more ideas out there. I'm barely touching all the things you can do to have the Holidays the Frugal Way! Go to any search engine (google, yahoo, etc.) and type in homemade Christmas, frugal holiday decorations or any combination and you could spend hours looking around! Also, I'm a bad blogger! I pulled all these ideas from various resources all over the web but failed to write down all the blogs. So let me apologize now and if you see some of your work or your idea let me know I WANT to give you credit!

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