7 Tips on Christmas Decorating for a budget friendly yet wonderful vibe that will surely bring that joy, warmth and positivity that we are all wishing for this season.
Decorating at Christmastime is one of my favorite things to do. Don’t be surprised to see Filipinos get busy with Christmas decorations as early as September. In the Philippines the season starts the moment it’s -ber month, which means starting SeptemBER! At this time you can expect Christmas songs already played on the radio, stores and shops dressed up for Christmas, people busy purchasing decorations at the malls, and even planning on parties and gift giving. In fact the Philippines is famous for having the longest Christmas celebration in the world, from September upto January 6 the following year to celebrate the Epiphany also known as the Three Kings Day.
Growing up in a predominantly Catholic country, I remember participating in a number of practices and traditions at Christmas, we anticipate the birth of Jesus in the most exciting and elaborate way. There is the Simbang Gabi which means going to night or early morning Mass in 9 consecutive days before Christmas day, Misa De Gallo which is the Christmas eve Mass, eating puto bumbong and bibingka (Filipino sweet delicacies) after Mass, hanging of parol (Christmas star) by the window or posts of buildings, setting up Belen (nativity scene) in almost all houses, churches, and schools, door to door caroling (singing Christmas songs), Media Noche -waking up at 12 midnight to eat and celebrate the coming of Jesus, and a lot more.
In the Philippines, Halloween is not celebrated by most of us, It’s only in recent years in private villages and malls that you’ll see Halloween decorations. So you can just imagine how all of our energies and budget are dedicated to Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.
It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year, but it doesn’t have to be the most expensive time of the year.
Some people do splurge during this time, but not me. I’m not the type who’d spend all of my savings or max out my credit card on expensive decorations. Here are 7 practices that I do to manage my decoration expenses and to reserve my resources for gifts and donations instead.
Tip # 1: Look for inexpensive items that look classy. Be patient and don’t rush when buying decorations. Go check out small shops, tianges (stalls), bazaars or even bookstores for unique items.
Tip #2: Right timing when buying items. I wait for the off- peak season which is right after Christmas, when stores sell them on discounted price.
Tip #3: Designing using a theme. Think of your favorite color.. gold, red, silver, blue, purple, or pastels for example, then concentrate on purchasing items that has those favorite colors of yours and collect them through the years. Make sure you combine at least two to three colors to give your decorating style some room for different looks every year.
Tip #4: Purchase items that can be mixed and matched. Based on color or design.
This year, my sister in law (who’s as addicted to decorating and designing as me!) opted for her collection of white, silver, and pastel colors. What a lovely color combination that is relaxing and soothing to the eyes.
A good idea too is by collecting your favorite Christmas character or item.. like Santa Claus, angel, elf, reindeer, snowman, or star, then buy the same kind to build your collection. You don’t have to buy the whole collection in one year, only get 2 to 3 items at a time until you accumulate a good number and then display them together to create a themed Christmas tree or display cabinet, like how we did for our dining room display shelf. That way the visual impact is much better and more put together. Add some fun into your design as well by putting treats in canisters or containers for the whole family and guests to enjoy. You may also set up a hot chocolate counter for the kids (and kids at heart) for those cold days.
Tip #5: Reuse and redesign. Here is an old wreath bought years ago that we dress up different ways each time. Using various color combinations every year. This time we chose bright red, serene green and majestic gold, for that lively and positive vibe at home. When packing up your decorations, use bubble wrap for the delicate ones and paper for the breakables then place in a box to maintain the form and look. This way you can use them over and over again.
Tip #6: Be imaginative. When you go for a walk in the afternoon or a morning jog in the park, pick up those wonderful pine cones laying on the ground and start collecting them for an easy decoration.
It is good to clean pine cones first. Here is how I learned from the crafters online.
- First carefully brush off the soil or debris with a small paint brush.
- Soak them in a bucket of warm water with a cup of white vinegar for 30 minutes.
- Remove from water and air dry for 2- 3 hours.
- Bake for about 1- 2 hours in 250 degrees Fahrenheit to dry up thoroughly and kill whatever microorganism is in there (just in case)
- Remove from oven and let cool for about 30 minutes.
- Then throw them all together with some of your old Christmas balls in one of your nice serving trays for a wonderful yet inexpensive table centerpiece.
Tip #7: Be creative. You can use old toys or travel souvenirs to hang on your tree or adorn a nice plant in your house with colorful leighs to create that spirit of Christmas even in the simplest and inexpensive way. This was my theme about 4 years ago back in Manila. I borrowed my son’s collection of stuffed toys to adorn our Christmas tree for a design that is unique, colorful and most of all free!
Happy Christmas Decorating!!
For more decorating ideas, visit my post about Style , here on the site. Please share your tips and tricks on Christmas designing as well so we can learn together. Thank You!