Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Don’t throw out your damaged decorations just yet!

So, have you started decorating your home for Christmas yet? I love digging into my many boxes of decorations – collected over the span of 27 years! Because I shop the after-Christmas clearance sales, I always find surprises that I don’t remember—they’re like early Christmas gifts for me and my family! Those are fun, but I cherish the old ornaments—those that have been handed down from my family, those I bought new, and those “antique” ones I bid on at an auction long ago. So many memories are held in those old ornaments—even the whimsical plastic and Styrofoam ones of the 50s and 60s!

As you unpack your ornaments and decorations, you may come across some damaged ones—broken, dented, chipped, or just loose. You may be tempted to toss them in the garbage. Don't be so hasty! Damaged decorations still may have life in them. Look at them with a creative eye. Can pieces be glued back together? Can they be touched up with permanent markers or even nail polish? That cheap nail polish at the dollar store isn’t just for nails, you know! The metallic shades are great for covering tiny blemishes on ornaments. Maybe a damaged decoration can be taken apart and re-purposed. Could parts of a damaged decoration or ornament be used in handmade Christmas cards or to decorate your gifts to make them look extra-special under the tree? Can pieces be attached to a Christmas wreath?

Hmmm, that reminds me … I have an old, brown plastic candle ring that was in a box lot that I got 27 years ago. I’ve held onto it because it’s old and isn’t taking up too much space in my box of retro stuff. Every year I glance at it and wonder what the manufacturer was thinking, making a brown Christmas candle ring! I think I’ll spray paint it silver and put a red candle in the center—or a glass globe filled with candy. I already have those things, so it won’t cost me anything to create a new end table centerpiece!

If the effort just seems too great, maybe you could give the project to someone artistic in your family. If that person simply doesn't exist, then please donate your old decorations to the local thrift store where I might find them. *grin* Crafty people will be on the lookout for them! Better there than in the landfill!  

Happy Creative Christmas!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ... in the stores and Up North!

Some of my Canadian friends are currently enjoying snow up to their tushies! Well, enjoying may be a bit too strong of a word choice ... and tushies is an exaggeration ... but you know what I mean. Winter wonderlands are magically appearing! Christmas must be just around the corner! It's definitely arrived (along with Santa) in the mall!

If you are going to send Christmas cards, NOW is the time to print out your labels, or hand-label your envelopes—if you are one of those personal-touch people. (I'm not. I'm a quick and easy and typed-is-easy-to-read kinda gal.) Finish (or start) your fun and informative, one-page Christmas newsletter. Get your cards ready to mail out on November 30! That's right, set that bar high and let everyone turn green with envy at how organized you are! Plus, if your cards are ready to go that early in the season, you are guaranteed to have your pick of the holiday stamps available at the post office!

NOW is also the time to start gathering the special ingredients for your holiday goodies. Look over your recipes (did you remember to choose a few new ones to try this year?) and make a list of what you'll need. Do you remember the sick feeling you got last year when you ran to the store a few days before Christmas for those peanut butter chips you needed for your famous double decker fudge, and you discovered that the entire inventory had been wiped out already? (Or was that just me?) Don't let that happen to you again. Or, if you are not at home in the kitchen, then now is still a good time to stock the freezer with store-bought holiday goodies. You want to get them while they are available—not stand in front of an empty store freezer with a tear in your despairing eye later in December!

Have you been stocking your Christmas closet/cabinet/hiding place with gifts throughout the year? Now is a good time to take stock of what you have and what you still want to make or buy for gifts. Now is also a good time to wrap the gifts you have. No more Christmas Eve all-nighters, wrestling with rolls of wrapping paper and Scotch tape till that inevitable moment when you lose it and begin carelessly cramming gifts into gift bags— whether they fit or not and even if you ran out of tissue paper to tuck in there! That activity does not a good Christmas Day, or Christmas photos, make!

Finally, consider the possibilities of charitable giving. Gift Tag Trees are going up throughout our communities. My church already put up the missionary Christmas tree. My daughter has already claimed an envelope from the tree and returned it! A local restaurant has a sign out letting us know the date for their annual toy drive. Other stores have Christmas trees featuring tags that list a child's age and the toys on that child's wish list. Many organizations collect donations for children, for the elderly, and for other needy people in general.

When money is tight, you can give of your time instead. Volunteers are needed to sort, package, and deliver Christmas collections. Go caroling in a nursing home. The Salvation Army needs bell ringers! Use your talents to bless others this holiday season. There are so many possibilities. Christmas is the season of giving.

Leave me a comment and tell me what you have finished, what you have left to do, or what you love most about Christmas! I would love to hear from you!