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Frugally Decorate with Simple Homemade Christmas Gifts

Frugal Parenting (featured column)
Submitted by Rachel Keller 

Our whole family eagerly anticipates the Christmas season. My children especially enjoy all the lights and decorations. While my home will probably never appear in a Better Homes and Garden, I do enjoy decorating it.

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Here are some simple decoration ideas which can also make great gifts: 

Pine Cone Baskets

Place a string of clear Christmas lights, some Christmas balls, and pine cones in a large basket. This makes an attractive decoration. (You can find inexpensive baskets at thrift stores or yard sales. If the baskets look old, paint them with gold spray paint.)

Glittery Pine Cones

To make these you will need various pine cones, white craft glue, a paintbrush or cotton swab, glitter, and string or ribbon to hang the ornament. Paint the top of the pine cone edges with white craft glue and sprinkle glitter on top. Tie a string or ribbon around the top edges and hang the cone or place in a decorative basket.

Snow Pine Cones

Make snow pine cones by spraying them with non‑stick spray and then sprinkling with sugar.

Wax Pine Cone Fire Starters

You can dip pine cones in melted wax and let them dry. These make excellent fire starters. You can also add color or scented oil to add a lovely aroma to your house.

Holiday Greenery Arrangements

For a simple, yet beautiful way, to whiten tree branches for a beautiful winter arrangement, gather the following materials:

2 cups cornstarch
1 cup flour
cold water
1 tsp. white glue

In a large flat pan, mix the cornstarch and flour with just enough water to make a syrupy base. Add the white glue. Dip twigs and branches into the mixture, spooning it over branches until they are thoroughly covered. Place the branches on a flat, protected surface to dry. After they are dry, arrange in a colorful vase for an attractive winter‑white bouquet.

Pine Cone Air Fresheners

My mother and aunt made this simple craft for Christmas gifts one year. I use mine for more than just Christmas time.

For this decoration, you need small pine cones, Christmas tree lights, potpourri, two quart large‑mouth canning jars, and lace material (or a doily)

Place the pine cones and potpourri in the jar so it is about three quarters full. Gently tuck a small string of white Christmas tree lights in the jar. Use a ruler or pencil to evenly space the lights. Make certain you can see them well on all sides. Just remember to leave enough light string hanging out so you can easily plug it in.

Once the lights are in place, fill the jar to the top with potpourri and pinecones. Do not cover it with the jar lid. Instead, cut a circle from a piece of lace material about two inches larger than the top of the jar. Lay it on the top of the jar, making sure the plug end of the light string is sticking out in the back under the lace. Secure the lace by tying a ribbon around the top edge of the jar. (Instead of the lace material, you can use a doily and get the same great effect!) Once plugged in, this is a beautiful decoration and the scent is wonderful!

Decorate With Evergreen Trimmings

Use extra greenery from evergreen trees to decorate mantles, tops of piano, coffee tables, end tables, dining room tables, etc. The greenery adds a special touch. You can trim low hanging branches from your live Christmas tree. You may also find extra branches from retailers who sell live evergreens.

This year try decorating your house and spreading the Christmas cheer by making some of these simple, inexpensive gifts and giving some away.

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Copyright © 2011 by Rachel Keller. All rights reserved.

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