I wrote this last year, and wanted to repost it for the upcoming Holiday season.
Decorating for Christmas- on a budget!
I loved being at my Grandma's house all year around, but even more so at Christmas. She collected Snowmen. Grandma had more snowmen than we were able to count. To put it into perspective, no single ornament on her tree was anything but snowmen. She had a wall made into shelves, 10 feet tall, and probably 25 feet long, every shelf filled to the brim with snowmen. Her tables, wall shelves, even the bathroom, were all filled with snowmen.
But that sort of decorating takes years to accomplish. She got her snowmen mostly from gifts at Christmas, though she was also known to pick one or two up here and there.
So, how do you decorate your house frugally, but make it look nice? Well, forget the paper chains, fake snow, and window clings, here are some idea's that go above and beyond. While there is a definite place for the above mentioned items, not everyone is into preschool-chic decorating.
First, stop at the dollar store and find pillar candles in reds, creams, whites, and greens. You can even do burgundys and navy blues. Next, look down the aisle with garland. Skip the puffy metallic garland, and look for beaded garland in what ever shades you like best, metallic or not. If you can find spools of holiday colored or printed fabric ribbon, grab a spool or two in the prints or shades you like best. Figure at most, you spend $10 here.
Next stop is Wal-Mart. Get a package or two of glass ornament bulbs in solid colors- you can get boxes in 1 shade, or multiple shades, and you can find them in silver, gold, red, green, burgundy, and more colors. Pick which ever shade(s) you like best, and ones that match the candles, garland, and ribbon. I'd recommend 1 box of the largest size, 1 box in a slightly smaller size, and 1 box in the tiniest available. Unless the price has changed since last year, it should be $1.88 per box.
From there, go to the fabric department and get 1/2 yard of some solid colored or holiday printed fabric which will match the bulbs, garland, candles, & ribbon. You can use this in 1 solid peice, or cut it into smaller sections at home. This will cost about $2.00
Next, get some holiday wrapping paper in a nice solid color or print you enjoy, and spool of thicker wrapping ribbon, and bows. This will cost about $3-5
Your last stop at Wal-mart will be to get a bagt of potpourrie and a strand of lights, either white or multicolored. The lights should be no more than 35 actual lights. 50 can work, but they are harder to use with a jar unless it's a giant one. You'll end up spending about $20 here, give or take, depending on sales and how many of each item you get.
Last stop is home!
What you'll want from home:
1 large jar, like a mason jar
1 large serving bowl
1 small "salad" or "dessert" plate for each candle bought (these can be covered if they are not "matching")
Hot glue gun & got glue
First things first, put the strand of lights into the jar, leaving the plug out. Tape the wire on the outside of the jar so that it lays flat against the jar, but leave enough slack to plug it in.
Fill the jar with the potpourrie, and plug it in. These jars are perfectly safe, and they will heat the potpourrie up enough to give off scent.
Next, lay some fabric in the bowl so it hangs over the edges, if you think it needs to be covered. If not, just skip the fabric and move on to arranging bulbs in it in different sizes, but you probably won't use all of them. Drape the beaded garland in the bowl, and on top of the bulbs. The colors can all be the same, or you can mix it up for contrast. This makes a great table centerpeice. If you didn't need to use the fabric inside, then put it under the bowl when you place it on the table.
For the next one, arrange the candle pillars on plates with 1 or 2 of the smaller sized bulbs on the plate. If you have beaded garland left, put that around it, too. Take the ribbon, and cut it so that you have just enough to wrap around the candle. Hot glue it to the candle in the back. Set these out on tables around the living room for a festive touch. If the plates need to be covered, use the fabric that's left over, cutting it into squares that fit on the inside of it, or drape over the edges.
Next, take any pictures or mirrors that are hanging on the walls, and take them down. Wrap them up with the nice wrapping paper, tie with the ribbon, and add a bow, then hang it back up.
Last, take any left over ornaments and any left over ribbon, and tie small bows to hot glue to the top of the ornament, just below the hanger. You can use thread or fish string to hang them in windows.
Viola- a frugally decorated house with out a paper chain or snowflake in site.
Ways to add more to the decoration for a few dollars more:
You can add to the elegance by weaving a strand of battery operated lights in the bulb center peice to light it up some.
Add battery or cord powered "candle" lights to the windows under the hanging bulbs to reflect some light off of them.
Buy more fabric ribbon to use on the picture presents in place of cheap ribbon.
Get a pretty table runner at the dollar store to put on the kitchen table under the ornament center peice.
Buy a set of taper candles and sturdy heavy (but short!) taper holders (I've found heavy glass ones at the dollar store), and put those into the bowl before adding the bulbs & garland for a candle centerpeice (but don't light it!).
Buy a bag of jingle bells for about $1-$2 at Wal-Mart, and add a few to each of the different candle plates, the ornament bowl, and even mixed in with the potpourrie jar. Glue one to the center of each bow on the hanging ornaments as well.
I hope these idea's help some people with new decorating ideas!