This year is our first Christmas in our new home, and people keep asking me whether we will have a tree and what decorations we will have. However, dreams of a family Christmas, cosy fireplace adorned with cards and beautifully decorated Norwegian Spruce in the bay window are somewhat distant. The reality is that our home is far from perfect! Despite being in the middle of a full house renovation, we do still want to decorate the house and enjoy the festivities. We still have so much left to do in the house (well, we haven’t really started any of the major works at all), the budget and time for decorating the house is limited this year. With a bit of careful planning and Pinteresting, I have managed to come up with a few ideas that will add a touch of class without breaking the bank.
Re-using things that I already have
I had a house plant with little red flowers that someone gave me as a thank you gift (I think it’s called a Kalanchoe). It came in a little plastic pot from the supermarket and I sat it inside a galvanised milk churn that I already had hidden away. With an offcut of ribbon tied around it, straight away it looked like a Christmas arrangement from a florist. I think you could achieve a similar look with a bunch of flowers, stems from the garden or even artificial flowers you may already have in the house. I might well have a go at arranging some foliage in a vase too.
Most of us have several sets of Christmas lights. After choosing the best set for the tree, I put the oldest set in a large vase along with a few pinecones. You could fill vases, bowls or even lanterns with a mixture of pinecones, baubles or lights. We did have a go at filling a lantern with Galaxy lights when we did our photoshoot, which is subtle but does look pretty. These are not new ideas, but are an endless way of using things already in the house. You just need a bit of imagination!
A Classy Tree on a Budget
This is the first year that we have enough space for a real tree, and they can be quite costly. Whether it is real or artificial, it’s the decorations that make it sparkle. I have been planning how to decorate our tree for quite some time now, as I don’t want to spend the whole budget on enough baubles to cover a larger tree. Last year I bought some glass robins in the sale after Christmas, and I then made a few felt robins to go with them. I used Fimo and offcuts of red ribbon to make some hanging heart decorations. The items that I bought were what I would call 'classic' and I am sure we will use them year after year. The box of decorations still looked a bit empty, so then I had an idea. I asked my mum if she had any baubles that she could donate to our collection because she only has a small tree now that we have all left home. Mum and I spent a good hour looking through her decorations, reminiscing about who bought us which ones and remembering Christmas as children. And I came away with quite a few items that Mum wasn’t attached to anymore, but could now take pride of place in our home for years to come. I have bulked out the decorations with a pack of cheap gold baubles from the supermarket.
If you really can’t fit a tree indoors, you could put one outside your door. We wrapped a small tree with outdoor battery lights as a gift for a family member and I have to say it really does look welcoming outside the front door. Your front door is the first thing people see when they visit at Christmas. Our house may be far from perfect, but I do at least want our front door to look welcoming.
Free Decorations from Outside!
Don’t forget that there are some nice natural decorations too. This year I went for a walk into the forest on a crisp afternoon and collected a bag of pinecones. I put them into the oven for a few minutes to dry them out an open them up, and now they are ready to attach to parcels and decorate the table. The easiest way to use them is to put them into a glass bowl with some lights. I have noticed plenty of berries, holly and foliage in our overgrown garden and when I have been walking Jess.I will collect some a little closer to Christmas to arrange in a vase.
This year I enrolled onto a two hour course run by local florist Vintage Essence in Barnard Castle to make a wreath for the door. It cost no more than buying a wreath but I got to choose what went into it and got into the festive spirit at the same time. I continued my red and gold theme with dried chillies, berries and pinecones. Just excuse the shabby front door behind the wreath!
I don't think anybody's home is perfect, and especially at Christmas we compare our own interior and garden decor to that of the glossy magazines. I am going to concentrate on making a couple of cosy areas that look festive and not worry too much about the rest of the house. Well...until next year when I will no doubt have my same dilemma over again!