Holiday Bash on a Budget
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Here's where you and your children get to have some fun. You can make your home a holiday vision on almost any budget, as long as you're willing to put in a little time and effort. Don't forget to recruit your kids for help. Here are some ideas for decorating your home:
- Deck the halls with boughs of holly - or any other evergreen, for that matter. Don't have enough left in your budget to spend on garlands? Well, depending on where you live, you can find plenty of free decorations - sometimes literally in your own backyard. These plant materials make good décor: holly, pine, balsam, spruce, juniper, and fir branches; bittersweet; pinecones; dried fruit, dried strawflowers, dried safflowers, and other dried plants; vines and berries. Send the kids out with baskets to collect your greens.
- Bake dough ornaments with your children. The ingredients are probably already in your kitchen, and they're definitely inexpensive. There are plenty of other homemade ornaments your kids can help with, as well.
- Give Jack Frost a little help with window or glass wax and stencils. Tape or hold the stencil against your window. Use a sponge or cloth to dab the wax over the stencil, leaving a festive pattern behind.
- Make a gingerbread house village with graham crackers, frosting, and candy, to decorate a table or shelf. Kids love making these quick, easy versions of the classic.
- String lights around your home. Christmas lights are easy to find, and can really add to a home's warm glow. Be sure to use energy-saving lights for a greener Christmas. Such lights also tend to be less of a fire hazard. Once the holiday season is over, pack your lights away carefully, so they can be used year after year.
- If you have a working fireplace in your home, now is the time to light it up. Just make sure you and your children know how to use it safely. To add an extra sensory dimension to your blaze, rub some fragrant essential oil (e.g., cinnamon) onto dry pinecones that your children have collected, and toss them on the fire for a wonderful aromatic effect.
- Hang Christmas stockings around the house. Even before Christmas Eve, empty stockings make a cute decoration.
- Buy ribbon from a craft store to make bows for hanging. You can also wrap the ribbon around banisters and other objects for a decorative effect.
- Find some pretty bowls to fill with candy and set them out around the house. They'll provide a treat for both the eye and the mouth.