By Michele Bacigalupo
Photo courtesy of Luz.
Brightening up the house with holiday cheer is an annual activity that is supposed to encompass excitement and joy, but more often than not people have mixed feelings about it. Some people are Christmas junkies who eagerly await the first cold day of the year so they have an excuse to begin the decorating process. Others dread the beginning of December, the universal signal that the holidays are looming closer, and that they no longer have a valid argument for delaying the seasonal preparations. Still others remain neutral about the heavy holiday layering that appears to cover every house, public place, and media outlet from the end of summer through the start of the new year.
Whichever category you happen to fall into, there is no reason to find yourself bored of repeating the same traditions each holiday season. It doesn’t matter which holiday you celebrate this time of year, or whether you choose a specific one at all. It’s possible that maybe you’re more of a Festivus person.
In any case, incorporating the most wonderful time of the year into your home environment should be an enjoyable activity. After all, it’s not always acceptable for people to place flashing lights, burning candles, larger-than-life pine trees, and exorbitant amounts of gifts around the house. The holidays provide a convenient reason to go a little overboard and still be praised for doing so.
Remember that there is always room for creativity to enter the nondenominational whirlwind. You should not feel confined to recreating the exact scene that you had displayed in the living room a year ago. Here are some DIY decorating tips to get you started:
If you find yourself with more ornaments than tree branches on which to hang them, you can place ornaments in a glass vase or bowl and display as a table centerpiece. Pinecones can also be added to the vase as a complement. If you want the display to be gold or silver, you can opt to coat the items with spray paint, giving them a luminous shine.
Another simple holiday adornment are mason jar snow globes. To make these, you will need mason jars (size 8, 16, or 32 ounces), glycerin, glitter, and waterproof superglue. The best part about creating your own snow globe is choosing the scene that will go inside! Feel free to choose something that shows your personality. If you’re keen on a particular holiday movie, search the store for a small character to display within the globe. You can also go a more traditional route by making the trinket an ornament, miniature Christmas tree, or Hanukkah dreidel.
Photo courtesy of Randy Robertson.
To make the snow globe, glue the object of your choice to the bottom of the jar lid and allow 24 hours for it to dry. Then fill the jar with enough water so that the object is clearly covered. Add five drops of glycerin and as much glitter as you see fit. Glue the lid to the jar’s metal screw surface and give it time to dry. Lastly, use glue along the lid’s inner edge and screw onto the jar. Make sure all the glue is completely dry before you give the finished snow globe a shake.
A quick fix for dressing up the dining room table is to wrap the surface with oversized ribbon. Lay strands of ribbon vertically and horizontally over the table, forming a crisscross shape. This will give the effect of turning the table into a giant gift–a very festive decoration indeed.
Photo courtesy of Mae Armstrong.
When wrapping gifts, add your own DIY gift tags. These are easy to make, whether by hand or on the computer. For Hanukkah gifts, you can write which night the gift is for on the tag. If you’re feeling particularly crafty, you can even use cookie cutters to cut the tags into holiday shapes. Another option is to use a deck of playing cards to cut into holiday figures. Cards work perfectly since they are sturdier than regular paper and are already pre-cut into a manageable size.
Whether you choose to do one or more of the above decorating ideas, they are guaranteed to spice up the home for the holiday season, adding more flavor than the usual tinsel and mistletoe. Of course, you can still bring out your familiar decorations, but try to keep an eye out for the opportunity to add some individual flair. Maybe this year the mistletoe can be attached to a disco ball instead.