By the first week of December, Christmas has exploded at our house. Many years of accumulation has resulted in box upon box of mismatched Christmas decor. They are things that I love and can’t bear to part with even if I don’t have the room to display them all. That isn’t really true though, because I almost always display them all, somewhere and in some way, which is what I mean when I say Christmas has exploded. But even with all of those boxes and bins I never seem to have exactly what I need to create the latest look that I’ve seen on-line or in magazines. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that Christmas decorating doesn’t have to break the bank.
When it comes to just about everything, I am a “use what you have” and “buy secondhand” kind of gal. It’s economical; it’s good for the environment; and, while your own creations may not be an exact replica of that magazine pic you admire, they will be your own unique interpretations.
This year, I wanted to create a “snowy woodland” Christmas tree. In magazines and all over Pinterest I was seeing beautiful displays of white blended with natural elements. I was tempted to buy a flocked tree but, knowing that I had a perfectly good green tree packed away in my basement, that wasn’t practical. But oh, all of those sparkling white and crystal elements were so beautiful! The question became how to get a similar look using things that I already have, could buy secondhand at thrift stores, or create myself easily and cheaply.
Each year, regardless of the look I wish to create, I start by pulling out all of my decorations and taking a good look at what I have. It’s easy to forget what is packed in those stored away boxes from year-to-year. I divide decorations up by color and think about how I can use them in new and different ways. I consider the possibility of upcycling old and tired pieces, sprucing them up and making them fit a special look with things like spray paint and glitter. Even though my tree is usually very colorful, with colored lights and lots of brightly painted glass ornaments, I realized as I looked through my decorations that I could get the snowy woodland look that I wanted without spending a ton of cash. I already had plenty of pieces that fit the theme.
I found white owls, rabbits and mice, and sparkling ornaments that would fit the snowy woodland tree theme. I had a dozen white silk poinsettias. In another box were white pearl beads and acrylic snowflakes that usually hang in the windows of a different room. There was no reason though that I couldn’t use them on my tree this year. Pinecones fall in my front yard and other natural items such as rosehips or greenery could be collected if needed. And, even though my tree is pre-lit with colored lightbulbs, no rule said that I had to plug them in. Instead, I would string onto the tree, white mini lights and maybe even a string or two of clear C-7 bulbs in order to create that sparkling effect I was looking for.
We have a small artificial tree–6 ft. tall and fairly narrow which fits nicely in our small cottage-sized living room. After stringing the lights, I began by hanging all of my ornaments that were clear, silver, gold, white, or natural looking. I tucked in the white poinsettias and added peach hydrangeas, icy look branches, gold glittered ferns, and I tied them up with burlap ribbons. I used a few burgundy and pink flowers as accents, draped the tree with the white pearl beads and added soft green ones as well. I was surprised how many things that I already owned fit the theme. As a final touch, I dusted the entire tree with part of a bag of loose “snowflakes.” lt was not exactly the same as the magazine photos I’d been admiring for weeks. But the final result was no less dazzling!