The Days Before Christmas Part 1

We have had a lot of fun with family and friends this Christmas season. Maybe part of the "nothing happens in November" lament of mine has to do with the fact that I need a month of nothing before we get bombarded with visits and last minute plans and lack of schedules and craziness! It's good on all fronts though, I have stretched myself a little more over the last month and I'm really happy with how things turned out this Christmas.
Here is our house at Christmas this year. I wanted to focus more on what Christmas is all about this year, so I simplified the mantle a bit- much to Steve's dismay- "where are the santa and the snowman?" But he still liked it, he just missed our Christmas buddies I guess! Any new stuff I got came from our new Dollarama. I have to admit, that place can be dangerous and the close proximity to my house is probably not the best for controlling my spending, however, it made it much easier to change things up without breaking the bank and we got all of our stocking stuffers & candy there this year, which also helped keep costs minimal. Our nativity was from Superstore, I hadn't had one for the kids and thought this one was decent since it's wood and it was under $10, I'm not regretting that choice at all, they played with it everyday and were so sad when I put it away. Recently I heard comments from someone about how you can't decorate your home nicely unless you have money, which I found interesting since I don't have money in the way she was talking about. So, here are some tips that I have found to be beneficial for decorating for Christmas or any holiday that you want to celebrate. All I know is that it can be expensive, but I just make it a goal to buy everything either super cheap or use 40-50% off coupons at the stores that offer the higher quality things that I want. Haha, this has created the issue that my Dad noticed when they were visiting one time,
Dad: "Allison, why do you only have that beady garland stuff on the top two thirds of the tree?"
Me: "Um, because I forgot to take my coupon and go get another strand to finish it this year"
I'm not kidding, let's hope they have the one I need next Christmas! Also, shopping after Christmas for the next year is always a good idea, for example, I would consider Crate&Barrel one of the higher end stores that I really really like, but can't justify spending much money at unless it's a necessity purchase. This year, I noticed their Christmas ornaments are super cheap after Christmas and by that I mean, I bought 8 really nice unbreakable ornaments for under $4 total for our tree next year. Anyone with small kids knows how awesome it is to find nice ornaments that their kids can't destroy, so a victory for all of us, and someday my kids will get to take some of these ornaments with them, so a small investment for the memories.
I also shop the after Christmas sales at Superstore for some of their supplies and ornaments. 14 ornaments for under $3? Um, yeah I did. Tablecloth for next year for $3? Yes. All the Christmas napkins and plates I'll need for Advent next year? $5.
I buy nothing at full price when it comes to decorating unless it's from the dollar store. Simple, and everyone that came over this year really liked it, so it must not look that cheap. I also think that if you don't have a ton of space, don't try to decorate for everything and then stress about where to put it all after. Steve and I decided the first year that we were married that until we had the space, Christmas would be the only holiday that we buy decorations for. For the most part we've stuck with that, we have one giant bin of Christmas stuff and a small rubbermaid container with some Halloween stuff from Brynlee's 1st birthday. Other than that we don't do a lot through the rest of the year, unless me and the kids do a craft and tape it to the window, or use our window crayons to draw hearts or leprechauns, etc...
I also accept hand-me-downs when people offer, even if I may not use them. Case in point, my giant wreath on the inside of our door. Steve's mom changes her decor ever few years, so when she offered the wreath form one time, I hesitated and then after thinking about it I accepted it. I really thought it was too huge for any door I might have, but I could probably do something with it eventually. I started working on that in the weeks before Brynlee was born. Then she came and the work was delayed. Then last year I realized that I had a bunch of gorgeous glass ornaments from our first year of marriage, that I couldn't put on the tree because Kalea would rip them off, so I used them in the wreath.This year I added the wired ribbon that I bought for $.50 last year, and voila! A few years later it's done and I love it and I loved that Steve went along with putting the snowflake lights where we did this year, to highlight it. I made another wreath for the other side of the door with leftover burlap and random scraps of ribbon from my sister in law's wedding in April and my own stash. It turned out okay, I dunno if I totally love it, but it served it's purpose for this year. I did add a wooden, sparkly "FALALA" to it and it looked a bit more Christmas-y but I think I'll have to play around with it some more.
Websites like Pinterest, although addictive, also have some great ideas on the cheap. That has been an invaluable resource to me in all areas, since I caved in and started using it. But really, life is only as expensive as we make it, so if we can do something super cute for super cheap I am a fan, and if I can make it myself with stuff I already have, huge bonus.
Anyways, I hope my thoughts in this area are helpful to at least one person who reads this blog. I am such a slacker I'm sure nobody does anymore! Haha, more Christmas posts to come this week!


Megan said...

I'm with you... Spending a ton makes no sense when you can do it for cheap! Also, I miss you... Come to Olive Garden...

Sheri said...

Love your Christmas decor! Gorgeous. Nice work on doing things on a budget......totally my style. As an extra tip, I love Home Sense (although I try to only go every few months) but I often find that things have little scratches, dents, etc. If you ask a manager they will always further discount that item another 10-40% off at the till :)