holiday decorations en-US Last-Minute, Stress-Free Holiday Decorating <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/last-minute-stress-free-holiday-decorating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Blue ornament" title="Blue ornament" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Holidays are inevitably stressful, between work, travel, family, and shopping at packed malls for presents that you feel obligted to buy. Getting your home ready for the holidays shouldn't add unnecessary stress to everything else that you are dealing with. Of course, you shouldn't feel obligated to decorate for the holidays if it isn't something you enjoy doing, but what if you really want to?</p> <p>If you've never decorated for the holidays before, or want some tips on how to decorate without spending a ton of cash or going crazy, this article is for you!</p> <h2>What to Decorate With</h2> <p>Some people like to go a little nuts with their holiday decorations, and that's fine. But if you want to decorate with minimal fuss, you can simply choose two or three decoration types and stick with them. It will keep the holiday decorations from getting too cluttered, and set-up and take-down will be easier.</p> <h3>Garlands/Bunting</h3> <p>For the life of me, I can't think of a single decorative object that spruces up a room more than a garland. <a href="">Garlands</a> can be made from pretty much anything, and they are one of the easiest holiday decorations to DIY. Be they made of popcorn or marshmallows, pinecones or ornaments, bows or Christmas cards, pretty much anything can be <a href="">strung on a ribbon</a> and hung over the fireplace, around doorways, across windows, around the Christmas tree, or along the dinner table.</p> <p>Garlands made of evergreen boughs or other plant materials can be expensive to purchase, but if you have trees in your yard, you can <a href="">make your own garlands</a>. They can be as ornate or as simple as your time and energy dictate, and you can use pine, fir, cedar, or even bare deciduous branches to put together lovely strands of garlandy goodness. Do try to collect your greenery on your own property rather than robbing the national parks. Sometimes neighbors are also happy to donate fallen branches to your decoration cause, so ask around if you don't have any appropriate trees or shrubberies in your own yard.</p> <p>Bunting (<a href=";ga_search_query=garland+or+bunting&amp;ga_search_type=handmade&amp;ga_page=&amp;order=&amp;includes[0]=tags&amp;includes[1]=title&amp;filter[0]=handmade">strands of flags</a> or fabric banners) is a huge hipster trend these days, and it decorates everything from weddings to baby showers to garden parties. This is actually a good thing, because bunting is cheap to buy and easy to make. <a href="">Bunting and gardlands aren't limited</a> by shape or materials. You can use felt or craft foam, fabric or paper. You don't need sewing skills &mdash; this<a href=""> no-sew bunting project</a> will make any home look charmingly vintage for the holidays. <a href="">Paper-chain garlands</a> are so old school that they have to be hip. Snowmen, stockings, birds, bells, holiday cards clothes-pinned to some twine &mdash; you can string anything across a bit of ribbon or string and <a href="">you've got a festive look</a>.</p> <p>On a side note, cheerful bunting also makes an excellent gift for a hostess. You don't have to make it Christmas-themed, because brightly colored circles of felt are also a great way to decorate a kid's room or an Easter brunch.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 358px; height: 279px;" alt="Photo by inger maaike" src="" /></p> <h3>Candles</h3> <p>Candles are romantic and lend an old-fashioned glow to your home. Grouping candles together on protected surfaces makes for unique displays (also, they are easier to light when they are all in one area). You can use tapers, votives, columns, or themed candles. Sticking to a single color or a color theme helps shape the holiday look of your home.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 234px; height: 304px;" longdesc="Photo by Athena" alt="Holiday Candles by Athena" src="" /></p> <p>Buying candles that are specifically designed for holiday consumption is more expensive than collecting them on sale year-round. IKEA has cheap candles available at any time of year, so if you have an IKEA in your area, you can stock up on candles (and smoked fish).</p> <p>As always, take extreme care with open flame, especially around pets, children, and tipsy guests who act like children.</p> <h3>Glass Bulbs and Ornaments</h3> <p>Those cheap glass bulbs that you use to fill in much of your Christmas tree are a valuable asset. For one thing, they are incredibly cheap. For another, they are available in an amazing array of colors and no matter what, just look like holiday decorations. A few years ago, my mom went crazy buying up silver glass bulbs at a Boxing Day sale when they were $1 a box at Target. She stuck to mostly silver and gold, and as a result, we have many dozens of metallic bulbs in different sizes that are used in a variety of ways to <a href="">deck the halls</a>.</p> <p>One year, my mom filled jars with tinsel and bulbs and stuck them all over the house in little groups. It looked great, and they reflected the light from small votives beautifully. Actually, you can <a href="">throw pretty much anything in a jar</a> or vase, including <a href="">burned-out bulbs from strands of Christmas lights</a> (picture 11), and create a festive look.</p> <p>Cheap ornaments of a general holiday theme work well in a variety of locations &mdash; placed in groups on the mantel, hanging from fishing wire in the windows, decorating garlands, tucked around the base of pillar candles, hanging from chandeliers, or&nbsp;<a href="">dangling from the banister</a>. I have a bunch of plastic snowflakes covered in glitter that are ugly by themselves, but hang 40 of them in front of the fireplace, and <a href="">you've got a beautiful Christmas display</a>.</p> <p>Just remember to <a href="">take care when packing up your ornaments</a> after the holidays so that they last for years.</p> <h3>Items from Christmases Past</h3> <p>Vintage Christmas stuff is a hugely popular now &mdash; from collectible <a href="">tin Santas</a> (picture 79 in the slideshow) to Victorian-era Christmas cards. If you have access to some good secondhand stores, check out their Christmas sections to see what kind of bargains you can find.</p> <p>If you're the kind of person who <a href="">saves old Christmas cards</a>, you have a goldmine of decorative possibilities in your attic right now.</p> <h3>Natural Elements</h3> <p>It's funny how bare tree limbs and snow-covered lawns make us so much more aware of our outdoor world than we might be in the summer. Leafless trees mean some good birdwatching, which is probably why birds seem to make a common appearance in Christmas decor.</p> <p>My neighborhood has a plethora of pine trees, and they drop a variety of pretty fir cones that I pick up from the sidewalk and my backyard and use in my home and garden decorating. Pine cones can be dried in the oven and then painted any color you want (white looks particularly Christmas-y, but so do blue, silver, and gold). Or you can just leave pine cones and seed pods their natural colors. Hang some <a href="">pine cones with silk ribbon</a>, and you've got yourself a pretty holiday display.</p> <p>Evergreen boughs and deciduous branches can be used in vases for Christmas bouquets or made into <a href="">affordable homemade wreaths</a>. Acorns, chili peppers, rosehips, thistles, dried grass &mdash; all of these things can be strategically arranged in glass bowls or antique cake stands with a red candle or two. And best of all, scrounged seed pods are free!</p> <h3>Stockings</h3> <p>Stockings hung by the chimney with care is a Christmas classic, but you can hang stockings pretty much everywhere, and you don't have to stuff all of them. Cheap stockings can be purchased at any craft store or big-box store during the holiday season, or you could do what Martha Stewart recommends and <a href="">make some stockings out of old sweaters</a>. It's not a bad up-cycling idea and is a great way to get further mileage out of something like an outdated sweater. Assuming you're handy with a sewing machine, stockings also make great gift-wrapping for hostess gifts.</p> <h3>Anything Handmade</h3> <p>I don't have kids, but I have to admit &mdash; I love the stuff that kids make for the holidays. Lord help me, I am charmed to death by pipe cleaner reindeer and Christmas ornaments made of pasta and glitter.</p> <p>Are these ornaments particularly elegant or refined? Goodness, no. But I can't help myself; my sister's handmade glittery snowflakes circa 1985 glow more warmly in the lights of a Christmas tree than any hand-blown recycled glass artisan ornament ever could. I love going through the ornaments that my sister and I made in school as children &mdash;&nbsp;egg carton Santas or baked clay wreaths with our goofy smiling Polaroid pictures in the middle.</p> <p>I'm also still smitten with windows full of hand-cut paper snowflakes. You can use <a href="">paper doilies for a head-start on more intricate shapes</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 381px; height: 286px;" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>For me, holidays are full of wonderful memories, and each ornament is a testament to our fun times as a family. Do they fit with an overall decorative theme? Sure, as long as that theme is &quot;joy.&quot;</p> <h3>Candy</h3> <p>The holidays are very often a time for over-indulgence, and candy is usually in ready supply. Holiday colors of red, white, green, and blue make decorating with candy an easy task. Whether you've got a supply of candy canes or M&amp;Ms, simple glass jars and vases filled with brightly striped candy always send holiday vibes.</p> <h3>Bows</h3> <p>Are you good at tying bows? I'm not, which is why I only wear shoes with velcro straps. But if I were a bow-tying prodigy, I would probably string them all over our house during the holidays. You can choose one color, like offwhite or cream, or go with a traditional holiday palette of red and green. Big, festive bows on doors, the tops of windows, banisters, and wreaths add a pop of color that can be as subtle or as festive as you want.</p> <h3>Lace Doilies</h3> <p>Lace doilies have long been a punchline in the world of home decorating, much like fruitcake is the laughingstock of Christmas gifts. But lace doilies are an affordable purchase as most secondhand stores and look a great deal like snowflakes. My grandmother is a prolific crocheter, and I have several star-shaped doilies that she made years ago for Christmas. I've added my own twist; I've dyed them pale blue, strung them on thick silk ribbon, and hung them from my windows. A little starch keeps their shape intact and they add an instant dash of holiday spirit to my otherwise rather un-Christmasy kitchen windows.</p> <h2>Where and When To Shop</h2> <p>I personally want to weep at the sight of a car-filled mall parking lot around the holidays. I can't deal with the crowds and the lines, the canned Christmas music, and the random <a href="">flash mobs singing &quot;Hallelujah&quot;&nbsp;</a>in the food court.</p> <p>As <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> pointed out in his recent article on <a href="">classy holiday decorating</a>, purging your holiday decorations is even more important than collecting new ones. Rather than steadily accumulating more holiday-related junk every year, spend some time at the beginning of your decorating spree simply removing items from your collection.</p> <p>When stocking up on new holiday decorations, it will behoove you to buy secondhand. Vintage stuff is so in right now that you can't go wrong looking for ornaments or tree skirts at stores like Value Village, The Salvation Army, or Goodwill. In my state of Washington, Goodwill has actually <a href="">opened Christmas Shoppes in Tacoma</a> and Spanaway. Secondhand stores and dollar stores are also the smartest places to stock up on other holiday supplies, like wrapping paper and ribbon.</p> <p>The sad truth is that the best Christmas shopping is to be had in the days and weeks after Christmas, when stores want to dump their leftover inventory and refresh their stock with bright red boxes of Valentine's candy. Shopping on Boxing Day is kind of an exercise in navigating chaos, but if you really want to snatch up leftover Christmas stuff at 75% off, it's your best bet. Remember, even if you don't get around to decorating this year, biding your time until you can buy 30 packs of tinsel for $5 can be worth it for next year.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Keeping Santa Sane: Budget Holiday Decorating</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Get Your Closet Ready for Summer With These 5 Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The 5 Best Bug Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home cheap Christmas ornaments christmas tree allergies DIY menorah elegant holiday decorating holiday decorations Wed, 15 Dec 2010 13:00:11 +0000 Andrea Karim 293889 at Keeping Santa Sane: Budget Holiday Decorating <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/keeping-santa-sane-budget-holiday-decorating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Santa&#039;s mugshot" title="Santa&#039;s mugshot" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="177" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I started this article desperately wanting to coin a new term that combined the words &quot;recession&quot; and &quot;holiday.&quot; Much like &quot;staycation&quot; implies a slightly downshifted and saner vacation, I think we need a word that describes a smarter approach to holiday spending and the crazy expectations that give rise to it. Alas, my linguistic skills have failed me; I&rsquo;ll leave it up to the readers to coin a term that fits the concept best. Meanwhile, how can we get a head start on our holiday festivities and not get caught up in the preholiday madness? Below are some tips for holiday decorating on a budget; they just might help curb the high price of decking the halls and leave a bit more green in your wallet:</p> <h2>Wrapping and Bows</h2> <p>The wrapping and presentation of gifts can be a great chance to challenge your own creativity and engage your kids. Newsprint, road maps, old wallpaper scraps, or rolls of standard brown shipping paper can each be personalized and embellished for a custom gift-wrap look. Swing by your local newspaper &mdash; often they just toss out remaining rolls of paper if the roll won&rsquo;t complete an entire printing. You can sometimes get yards of the stuff for free. I use brown shipping paper and unroll just the right amount for each gift. Then, using a ruler or T-square, I create graphic grid patterns and designs with markers or colored pencil. If you&rsquo;re a stamper or scrapbooker, this is a perfect canvas for leftover supplies and some holiday inspiration. It&rsquo;s customized, durable, reusable, and far less expensive than the big rolls of the glossy holiday-specific stuff.</p> <p>Bows don&rsquo;t need to be satin or silk &mdash; go for a totally organic look by using pinecones as the &quot;bow&quot; on plain brown paper and fasten with raffia or colored twine. Shells, small twigs, sprigs of pine, or family photos can also be used to replace the standard bow.</p> <h2>Gift Tags</h2> <p>I took a few calligraphy classes in college, but with a computer and printer, that skill is no longer a prerequisite for cool gift tags. Use your printer to make customized tags, then embellish with drawn or collaged holiday scenes. Fasten your tags with self-adhesive photo corners or frame them in small vintage frames from a thrift store. Dissect some old holiday cards for colorful and abstract folded gift tags that really pop on plain brown paper or newsprint.</p> <h2>Ornaments</h2> <p>Many of us have heirloom holiday ornaments for the tree, but if you&rsquo;re buying new, the prices can be outlandish. One quick online search put the average price for a dozen glass bulbs at $14. Try a new approach to trimming the tree &mdash; one that uses less cash for decorating and leaves more for merriment.</p> <p>First, choose a color palette for your tree. One or two consistent and repeating colors can help unify all the various ornaments you&rsquo;ll make and give the tree a more intentional look. Next, work with your family to craft ornaments from things around the yard and in the house &mdash; mist natural pinecones lightly with spray paint in your tree&rsquo;s color palette, or weave small twigs together to create stars or snowflake shapes using yarn that fits the color scheme. Wallet-sized school photos can be framed with Popsicle sticks and hung with twine to make a family of ornaments. Those old slotted clothespins can be painted to look like toy soldiers, animals, or other characters.</p> <h2>Garland</h2> <p>Popcorn is a classic here, but let&rsquo;s think outside the popcorn box. Evergreen boughs can be tied together and laced with dried fruit or dried flowers for a natural garland. Old wooden spools, beads from broken necklaces, even small glass ornaments can all be strung together for a unique handmade look. Anything that has a hole to loop through or a surface to weave through can become material for garland. Remember, with any natural tree, safety comes first. Always use properly sized tree stands, keep your tree moist, and use low-heat lights.</p> <p>If there&rsquo;s one thing this recession is teaching us, it&rsquo;s how to do more with less. Challenge yourself and your kids to create memories while you work on projects together. You never know what creative impulse or burst of artistic pride will define this holiday as one of your kids&rsquo; best. Now, back to that elusive new term for our frugal holiday&hellip;any ideas yet?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Cheap Home Furnishing Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">6 Festive, Frugal Ways to Spruce Up Your Home for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">15 Home Decorating Ideas for Under $5</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">7 Ways to Decorate an Apartment Without Losing Your Deposit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home budget decorating decorating holiday decorations Holidays home decor wrapping paper Mon, 15 Nov 2010 12:00:12 +0000 Kentin Waits 295324 at