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Decorating shouldn't break the bank

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours' was busy, but great.
We had a big meal on Thanksgiving Day, and then leftovers for the next couple days. We didn't have as many leftovers as in past years for two reasons. The first one is because I'm getting better at judging how much to cook. The second is because my brother was home visiting after a tour of duty in Iraq!
After dinner we began the Christmas decorating. I love to decorate for Christmas. There's just so much you can do! I remember when I was growing up there wasn't as much variety in the Christmas decorating department. Now just about anything goes!
I was amazed to find a "Noah's Ark" decoration for Christmas. I think there are about a million different angels. There's great big oversized decorations and little bitty teeny tiny decorations. The variety of lights are phenomenal!
There's tiny lights, big lights, flashing lights constant on lights, single colored lights, multicolored lights, curtain lights, net lights, angel lights, bulb lights, twinkle lights, rope lights, lights, lights, and more lights!
There's also inflatable figures, animated figures, and so much more!
The other thing I noticed about decorations is that they are expensive.
So I thought this week I would share some of the things I do to help cut the cost of decorating for Christmas.
First of all, I plan a year in advance. Well, sort of anyway. What I do is wait until after Christmas to buy new decorations for the next year. I admit it is hard to wait to buy them and then pack it all up. However, I remind myself that after Christmas I can usually get twice the amount of things for my money, than if I bought them now. I have to be patient. For example, I've wanted a new tree topper for several years, but after the holidays they didn't have what I wanted. Well, it took me three or four years to find what I wanted on sale after Christmas, but I ended up getting an angel I love for 50 percent off. If there are things that you need for this year, try checking out the craft section of your discount store first. Most of the time I find things like ribbon and beads are much less expensive in the craft section than in the holiday section of the stores. Do you want several bows of the same type? Buy one bow, look at it carefully, then buy some of the ribbon on the spool and make your own bows.
Secondly, I try to "redress" what I already have. I saw a wreath in a store that I thought was perfect, but couldn't afford. I looked it over very carefully, and wrote down a few notes. I went to a discount craft store and picked up some ribbon and decorations that were very close to what was on the store's wreath. I also splurged a bit and bought some battery operated lights. When I got home, I took off the decorations on our wreath of about 10 years, then I "redressed" it in the new decorations. My husband came home from work and frowned at the "new" wreath hanging on the door and proceed to remind me that our budget was very tight and he didn't think a new wreath was an appropriate expenditure – especially one that nice.
He was very apologetic when I told him how we came by a "new" wreath. I've also re-glittered ornaments, replaced ribbons that have frayed, and hot glued many Christmas decorations.
Remember I said one time that desperation is the mother of creativity?
Well, it stands true for Christmas decorating, too. I wanted to put up an extra tree, but buying ornaments for it was a problem. I began to think about the "themed" trees I've seen in the last few years. You know the ones that are all one color, all nativity scenes or whatever. My thoughts became what do I have enough of to "theme" a Christmas tree?
I decided to do a "memory" tree. To begin with, I put a couple strings of white lights on the tree . Next, I took all my kid's baby booties, like the kind they wore for say 2-3 months. I stuffed them with batting, tied their ribbons and strings into a knot and used them to decorate an entire 4-foot tree. I also added the baby bonnets I had leftover for decorations, as well. I even used the shoes my 15 year old wore her first Christmas, and her first winter mittens. I put a large bow on the top with long ribbon streamers going down the sides to finish it off.
I'm also thinking about doing a tree with just the things the kids have made and will make for me. What a special way to show how much their things mean to you – they have their very own tree.
The year we lived with my grandmother I discovered she had saved a couple handfuls of Christmas cards from over the years. I asked what she wanted to do with them and she said just throw them out. I hated to do that, many of the cards were very pretty. Well, I decided that I just couldn't trash them. I sat down and made out a pattern to make blocks.
I then lined the pattern up so the prettiest parts of the cards would be on the sides, I traced my pattern, cut it, folded up the blocks, glued, and added ribbon to hang them. Many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins recognized their past Christmas cards hanging on the tree. It brought up some old memories and great stories of past Christmases.
I hope you have a joyous (and creative) time decorating for the holidays. If you have a holiday tip to share please send it to: Mom's Corner; P.O. Box 1496, Hartselle, AL 35640 or