When my husband and I moved into our first home together and Christmas rolled around, we couldn’t help but notice that things seemed a little bare. It definitely wasn’t the festive atmosphere we were hoping for. The solution? Get creative!
Here are some fun ways to decorate that won’t break the bank…
The Christmas Tree
We’re lucky to live in an area with a lot of Christmas tree farms. A 6 – 8 foot tree generally costs $20. But if you live somewhere that trees cost more, or $20 is out of your price range, check out some Christmas tree alternatives. Don’t have many ornaments for the tree? Pick a smaller tree for a more abundant look.
Decorating that Tree…
If you want to put a bit of money into your decorations, I strongly suggest a string of lights for a warm and festive glow.
Generally large containers of christmas balls can be found for relatively low prices at a variety of retailers. Sticking to one or two colours will have a maximum impact. Keep the decorations simple, and you can fill in with more personalized ornaments in subsequent years.
Another simple way to decorate is to fill your tree with candy canes. The little ones can be bought in bulk and make a great visual impact. Or decorate with the paper snowflakes and paper chains discussed below.
Most of us probably haven’t made these since we were children, but paper snowflakes are adorable and appropriately wintry. Check out these easy directions. If you have an office job I suggest using paper from the recycling bin. You can hang snowflakes on your tree or make them into a garland (tape them to a ribbon or string) and string them across a window.
Are you working with kids? This is a great kids craft. Older children can experiment with their own designs, and younger kids can colour the snowflakes.
These guys are definitely retro. For a classier look, use all white paper. Do you like more colour? Use brightly coloured junk mail. Again, great for the tree or a garland. A stapler is the easiest way to put these together, but glue (and a bit of patience) can work just as well.
Are you working with kids? Paper chains make an excellent Christmas countdown/advent calendar. Just attach 24 strips together and rip off one every day in December.
Decorating with Fruit
Clementines always remind me of Christmas. While we’ll often leave them in their crate, transferring the entire box into a white bowl in the middle of the dining room table is an easy way to add some visual impact. Depending on what you like to eat, pomegranates, lemons or pears might grace your table.
Are there kids around? They might eat more fruit…that’s kind of awesome.
I don’t know anyone who likes to eat gingerbread houses. At best the gingerbread is stale and the candy is substandard. But darned if they aren’t festive. Cover a cookie sheet or cutting board with aluminum foil, construct that gingerbread house and go to town. If just adults are participating, go with a subtle colour palette and a large glass of wine.
If you’re involving the kids? Stand back and let them go nuts. It will look ridiculous no matter what, so they may as well have fun.
The gingerbread house will make a great centrepiece for your table, no matter how amateur it looks!
Light Some Candles
There is nothing quite like candlelight to bring a festive air (and hide the dust bunnies). I suggest grouping an odd number of candles on a tray or candle holder. I love beeswax because of the smell. These geometric Ikea ones are also adorable.
If you want to take it a step further, fill the tray with cranberries, pinecones (keep them away from the flame!), or small Christmas ornaments.
Do you have little kids around? Save the open flames for when they’re in bed, or swap the candles out for a string of battery powered mini-lights.
Enjoy the festive season! Sit back, put your feet up and light the fireplace (channel).