The holidays are upon us, one of the most wonderful times of the year! But with all the holiday shopping, parties and decor – it can also be the most expensive time of year.
The following is a guest post by storage and organization expert Laura McHolm, founder of NorthStar Moving Company.
It’s easy to feel a little less than jolly about the season’s notoriously pricey reputation, but one area that doesn’t need to break your budget is decorating your home. The holiday season should be a time spent with family, and many times we need to slow down the festive train to remind us of that.
One way to check three things off your list – budget holiday expenses, spend time with the kids, and decorate – is with simple DIY holiday decor. These fun do-it-yourself family projects you will save cash, but most importantly keep the whole bunch jolly and help create unique family memories!
Festive table centerpieces
For a quick and easy table centerpiece, buy bags of fresh cranberries, fill a glass vase three quarters full of cranberries, add water and place fresh flowers in the vase – it makes even white daisies or chrysanthemums look holiday ready.
For a yummy, fresh smell, buy oranges and long clove sticks and arrange the cloves in the oranges (the kids love that task!), vary the clove design on each orange or make them all identical as you like. Either place the cloved oranges in a large white bowl or place individual oranges around the house. (You can use a bit of ribbon cord secured with a long stick pen to make the oranges into large heavy ornaments for doors or lower tree branches too.)
Another super simple centerpiece idea is to visit your local farmer’s market with the kids. Have your children pick out four of each of the reddest and greenest apples they can find (a fun hunt for the younger ones!). Fill a large clear glass bowl with the apples for a festive kitchen table centerpiece. It is truly a red and green way to bring family and friends to the table for a holiday meal.
Give old ornaments a make-over
We all tend to hang on to ornaments for years and years for sentimental purposes, but there comes a time when the tree decorations from ten years ago start looking like the tree decorations from ten years ago.
Instead of heading to the store to shove through the holiday shopping frenzy and spend a fortune on new ornaments, revamp the old by painting over the worn areas. The little ones can join in the fun by applying small holiday stickers to worn out ornaments. This is a great arts and crafts project for the whole family to enjoy, especially with carols playing!
Make broken ornaments beautiful
Broken ornaments at the bottom of the box are almost inevitable after a year of being stashed in the attic or basement. Instead of throwing them away, fill a large durable bag with all of the cracked and broken ornaments. Open up that toolbox, grab a hammer and gently smash the ornaments into smaller pieces. (Wear gloves!) Place the pieces in a medium-sized glass bowl or vase like you would sand and add a candle for a festive accent piece for the counter or end table.
Ribbons, ribbons everywhere!
Put leftover wrapping and decorative ribbons to good use and tie them onto household items you would not normally think of. The kids can get creative with the endless possibilities! Some household items that are always ribbon-adorned in our home include doorknobs, vases and even a couple of the tree branches here and there.
Strings and garlands
Embark on an old-fashioned holiday project with your kids and string popcorn and raw cranberries together as a less expensive and earth-friendly alternative to store-bought tree garland. Or, use holiday-shaped cookie cutouts for baking sugar cookies and attach strings on the tops for a creative, easy, and tasty tree ornament! To do this, take plastic straws and cut them off , stick the straws at the top of each cookie, bake them, and before the cookies cool, remove the straws for precise, secure holes in each cookie for the string to hang it on the tree.
Laura McHolm is co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company and an organizational & storage expert. NorthStar Moving Company is an “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services. www.northstarmoving.com