DIY Old-fashioned Christmas Decorations
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DIY Old-fashioned Christmas Decorations

This article was written as a response to the question: What are some home christmas decorations that don't use up too much electricity?

Decorating for Christmas doesn't actually require ANY electricity to do well. One of the best things you can do is go to a tree farm to buy your Christmas Tree. Pick one that is a bit taller than you need, and use your saw to harvest the lower evergreen branches until the tree is a better height for your home. Five feet tall is often more than enough. Ask if they have a bit of green holly to go with it.

Take the extra branches home and use them to festoon outdoor railings and doors. Ask your local tree farmer if he has extras he's already trimmed off that you could pick through. Use twine, wire, and a shiny red bow to tie them to banisters and stair rails, or lay them along the top of your Fireplace Mantel or other surfaces you plan to accessorize for Christmas. Alternatively, visit your local craft store such as Joanne's Fabrics, and purchase fake garlands and branches. These are less likely to shed needles and bugs as they dry out. They are also easier to shape, as wire retains the shape  it's put into.

Once upon a time, families popped popcorn and bought cranberries and raisins. They took a thick needle and heavy-duty thread, and made long colorful streamers of white popcorn (no flavorings, please) and red cranberries, and draped them around an evergreen tree in their yard. It was a way of sharing the feast and the joy with birds and other wild creatures who otherwise have slim pickings in winter months. It was also beautiful.

When I was little, my mother bought a big bag of unshelled walnuts, and a skein of cheep red yarn. We sat together one afternoon, and glued 10-inch lengths of yarn around the seam in each walnut shell. The extra three inches of yarn on each end we tied into bows, and used hooks to hang the red-and-brown walnuts from their bows on our tree. They are still one of my favorite decorations.

Another option is to sit down with white construction paper and scissors, fold the paper into half and half and half-- or try thirds, from a single point, like an ice cream cone. Cut out small shapes from the edges and corners. Make sure you leave some parts of the folded sides in-tact. Unfold and you have paper snowflakes! Experiment with the way you fold, the size of the paper, and rounding the edges into a more traditional circle. These look great in windows, as hanging mobiles, and even on your tree.

Consider investing in several spools of 2-inch wide ribbon, in shades of red, blue, green, silver, and gold. These have wire in them to assist you with shaping, and can be reused year after year if stored respectfully in between uses. They are great for wrapping around pillars, making doors into "presents," even decorating trees and other greenery (indoors and out) with bows and streamers-- wrapped like strings of lights-- around your Christmas Tree.

Another great reusable investment is a bunch of globe-shaped glass tealight holders. Red, green, and white tea lights provide beautiful seasonal atmosphere (a drop of peppermint, cedar, or cinnamon essential oil on the wax adds amazing scent, too). Containing the candles in glass globes on non-flammable surfaces is a smart safety precaution. Consider placing several candle globes among the greenery on your mantel, or in a window festooned with snowflakes.

Pound your washed and de-labeled tin cans flat, and use a chisel and hammer (on scrap lumber underneath to prevent damage) to cut out stars and other shapes for reflective decorations. These are also great indoors or out. Use air-dry clay around a popsicle stick or two to create hand-made decorations. Leave a hole for the hook, and beware that clay gets heavy quickly. Fimo clay that you can bake in the oven is a more expensive but more sturdy option.

Bells, stars, angels, sleighs, snowflakes, drums-- these are all symbols of Christmas, and can be made or bought in large quantities from craft stores and craft supplies. They can be tucked in corners, displayed in groups, hung from trees and other surfaces. Hang a huge evergreen wreath with pine cones, red berries, and a colorful bow on your front door. Whether you choose to embellish with a few strategically placed strands of L.E.D. Christmas lights or not, the whole neighborhood will know you are definitely feeling the Christmas Spirit!

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Comments (1)

Nice article. Particularly liked using walnuts on the tree - hadn't heard of that one before.

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