Guess you're surprised to see me posting, especially upon such a subject as "Cheap Christmas Decorations".
Well, just because I've been extremely busy with other creative endeavors doesn't mean I'm totally out of the loop on this blog, and the fact that I'm a guy doesn't mean that know nothing about decorating, let alone decorating for Christmas.
I've been a bachelor my whole life and know first hand what living on a (tight) budget is like, so here are some thoughts on how to decorate for the holidays without spending a whole lot of $.
Now, Nancy is the Queen of doing this, but this time of year at places like Salvation Army or Goodwill, there are always Christmas decorations (or potential Christmas presents) that someone has donated. Granted you may not find exactly what you are looking for at your first stop or visit, but over time you might find some cherished item or nick-knack that becomes part of your holiday decor.
Besides, the money you spend at those establishments goes to worthy causes and I'm sure there will be other holidays through out the coming year that you might be able to find something for.
HANG UP THOSE CHRISTMAS CARDS
A couple of pieces of string to drape all those cards of Christmases past upon will do wonders to brighten a room. Just be careful to chose cards that don't have handwritten messages inside that are either too personal or too embarrassing for anyone else to read.
THE PHONE BOOK CHRISTMAS TREE
Believe it or not, this was something I had to do the first year I was living on my own because I could not afford an official Christmas tree, real or artificial. So I made my own.
This could also be a fun project to do with your children.
01. Take an outdated phone book that is still in relatively good shape. Sizes vary between towns and cities, so choose carefully, especially in relation to Step 2.
02. Start dog earring the pages. Fold one corner of a page until it is pointed towards the center of the phone book. Obviously, the bigger the phone book, the more pages you will have to fold, but try to make the dog ears as uniform as humanly possible. A smaller dog ear will give you a wider tree while a bigger dog ear will have the opposite effect.
03. When you have dog earred everything, including the covers or the outer pages if any of the covers are gone, open the phone book until the farthest outside pages/covers meet.
04. Find some way to attach those ends to form a somewhat circular object with the phone book when viewed from above. You can use glue, tape, staples, or whatever else might be available, but try and make sure whatever you use is not visible from the outside if possible.
05. You should now have a basic tree shape roughly outlined.
06. Decorate your tree. If you're really ambitious and have the supplies available, you can spray paint the tree green first. Otherwise, you can cut out decorations from construction paper, magazines, or whatever else is available.
07. If you need/want a tree topper, you will notice a circular opening at the top of your tree from the phone book pages being fanned open. Attach your topper onto a pencil or Popsicle stick if it will not fit on top on its own. The pencil/stick will sit inside the circular opening on top.
08. If you want to preserve your tree after the season passes, you will have to put it in a box as if it were a hat or some other precious item and store it until the next Christmas.
Unfortunately, I changed apartments between that Christmas and the next, so mine didn't survive the move.
GIFT WRAP FOR THE YOUNGER SET
While there are more specialized designs amongst all the wrapping paper that is available for purchase/use, if you are wrapping a gift for someone very young that what the paper looks like won't matter, you can always use previous editions of the Sunday Funnies from your local newspaper.
It is colorful enough to keep the baby's attention while still ending up where it was destined to go (hopefully a recycling bin) anyway.
The Sunday Funnies gift wrap idea can also be used at other times of the year, depending upon the gift and the age of the person receiving the present.
We've all made them at one time or another when we were in elementary school. Or at least I did in the first grade. Another fun project to do with your children.
01. Take a couple of sheets of construction or computer paper, at least two different colors, and cut them up into strips. For Christmas, most people use red and green. Cutting them width wise in relation to the size of the paper will give you more strips, cutting them length wise will give you bigger strips.
02. Take a strip of any color, bend (do NOT fold) it around until the two ends meet, and then attach those ends with tape, glue, a stapler, or whatever might be available. You have now created one link of chain.
03. Take a strip of another color and repeat step 2, but be sure to put that strip THROUGH the link of chain you have already made BEFORE connecting the ends.
04. Keep repeating the link making process, alternating colors, until you run out of color strips.
05. You now have a decorative, home made chain to hang or drape somewhere.
More appropriate colors can be used to make chains for other holidays like Easter (yellow and green), Halloween (orange and black), etc.
I certainly made plenty of those over the years with my younger sisters, usually because I was the only one my mom trusted with the scissors.
In any event, there you have it folks.
Some inexpensive decorating ideas for Christmas and, in a couple of cases, beyond.
Whether it's Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa; I hope everyone has a happy holiday season!
Lee is the author of Hugh Monn, Private Detective from Pro Se Press; available via Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, or CreateSpace, and is the Editor-In-Chief of this blog's sister site: The Free Choice E-zine at www.thefreechoice.info