Whether you’re planning on having a Christmas party, or just planning on spending Christmas with your family, holiday decorating doesn’t have to break the bank or your festive spirit. Your creativity can take you in many different directions that are budget-friendly. Try these tips and projects that don’t cost a lot of money:
Christmas closeouts: check local newspapers often for special ‘close-out' sales. Often lasting only two or three days, closeout sales are gold mines for everything from kitschy candles to bushels of tree lights, at prices lower than wholesale.
Festive foraging: gather nature's ornaments, such as pinecones, acorns and balsam fir tips from the backyard or local park. Add a touch of silver or gold spray paint to your gatherings and arrange in a glass bowl surrounded by votive candles.
Christmas aromatherapy: delight houseguests with the warm scent of a mulling spice bag. Combine whole cloves, allspice, cinnamon sticks, and nutmeg with dried orange and lemon peel in a small piece of cheesecloth secured with elastic. Simmer the spice bag in a pot filled with 3-4 cups of water, and enjoy the aroma.
Merry memories: gather a collection of favourite family and childhood Christmas plants. Amaryllis plant is a holiday favourite, and should be potted six weeks before Christmas to yield large, stunning blooms. Pot two or three of the festive ‘Peppermint Stick' variety, which is white, swirled with red.
Christmas by candlelight: nothing creates a festive ambiance like the glow of candles. For a dining or coffee table centerpiece, group three pillar candles of various heights in holiday colours on a ceramic or other non-flammable dish. Scatter several tea lights in small glass holders along a mantel, bookshelf or buffet table.
Charlie Brown-style: at half the price of big trees, one to three-foot high mini evergreen trees make adorable desktop or table decorations. Perfect for apartments and other small spaces, ‘Charlie Brown' mini trees are available at many garden centers and Christmas tree lots.
How fairy festive! add a twinkly, romantic effect with white fairy lights. String lights along the length of a window curtain rod to brighten a room. Arrange a strand of lights along a mantelpiece, weaving lights among Christmas cards and ornaments.
Deck the halls and doors… fallen evergreen boughs and small pieces of greenery can be collected outdoors or purchased cheaply in surplus from Christmas tree lots. Natural boughs add a traditional Christmas look and scent and they can adorn banisters, doors and mantels.
Fragrant fireplace: dress up a bare hearth by decorating a small wood log with flammable, decorative, scented accents, including sheet moss, pinecones, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. When burned, this Yule log will make a glowing fire with a festive fragrance. (Use non-toxic white glue to decorate log rather than hot glue.) See below for instructions.
Scented Yule log: with this decorative, burnable Yule log, the open hearth or top of a woodstove will always look and smell festive:
- 1 sheet moss (from florist or craft store)
- Small wood log
- White craft glue
- Pine cones
- Cinnamon sticks
- Whole cloves
- Pot pourri (Christmas blend)
- Essential oils (pine, cinnamon, balsam frankincense)
Instructions: Glue the moss to the top of the log. Glue potpourri pinecones, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks onto the moss. Sprinkle a few drops of essential oils to the moss and spices. Add a festive bow to the top of the log (to be removed before burning).
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