I love Christmas.
Like, I am basically a smaller version of Will Farrell from the movie ELF.
I L-O-V-E Christmas.
I love the carols and hymns. I love the food and the baking. I love the lights and the hustle and bustle. I love the parades and the malls and the decorations that are everywhere. I love the anticipation of the whole month of December and the story of the manger filled with a long awaited baby that gets told on Christmas day.
I love the complete JOY I feel at the realization that I will get to finally spend a few love and food filled days indoors with my babies and hubby.
Over the years, I have learned to worry less about what to put on my Christmas list and instead I have fallen in love with keeping things simple and focusing my energy time and money on giving back to people who have more wants than us, giving more of our time to family and friends and really acting out the love story that Christmas is all about.
I use to get overwhelmed with the need to want "more".
I wanted elaborate Christmas decorations, the brightest Christmas tree and lots of pretty packages underneath it.
I know now, that the More Monster can be deadly and decided to see this year, how much we would miss our sparkly lights and glitzy decor items if they stayed on the shelves in our garage.
The Nester, in this years Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Ideas magazine, described it best when she said she has "tote-itis"
I laughed out loud at that one!
I pictured the heavy, giant looming bins of Christmases past... all lined up in our over flowing garage.
This year I want to simplify.
So, I pulled out one bin that held our Christmas tree and two faux garland branches and went to town decorating our home with things that we already had.
Our table got dressed up with some burlap strips, some gold ribbon, some Ikea lanterns from a few years ago and some crystals from an old chandelier.
We lit it all up with some well loved mason jars and tea lights.
A few years ago I would have been so upset to find that our tree had multiple strings of light that weren't working. The old perfectionist in me, would have endured the pain staking process of twisting and shaking every tiny bulb until I found which one had burnt out, then I would have carefully replaced it, in the process of losing multiple hours of my life.
Not this year.
This year I didn't drop one four letter word or one drop of sweat while decorating our house for baby Jesus' birthday celebration.
Nope. Not one.
This year I grabbed a coffee from my favorite local coffee shop and while there, I asked them if they could spare some of their left over burlap coffee bags. The nice girl with the half shaved head, every changing hair colour and multiple nose piercings really digs that my kids come in once in a while and put their hot chocolate mugs neatly on the counter for her, and my daughter really appreciates her use of vibrant hair colour.
So, she graciously passed on some kindness by filling our arms with a pile of wayward burlap bags.
I used one as a casual tree skirt and cut the others into wide strips.
I immediately loved how they added just the right amount of texture and played off of the spool of gold ribbon we used to decorate with too.
My mama gifted me some burlap ribbon with polka dots and I happily wrapped my chunky burlap strips, the spotted ones and the ribbon alllllll around our tree. They totally hid the fact that our tree is basically only half covered in lights.
No stress, no mess just simple.
The decorations we used this year were mostly from various parts of our home.
I kept in mind that our son is now 18 months and has never remembered seeing a Christmas tree. I wanted ours to be entirely kid proof and we did that by spending a whopping $5 at our dollar store buying plastic gold balls and stringing them with left over string from our burlap strips.
The wooden keys I got from Homesence at the end of last year; a pack of ten for 50 cents!
I had them in a craft bin waiting to do a project with them, but thought they would be pretty with some ribbon and hung up.
I had taken apart a chandelier at some point this year and used the crystals as part of our tree decorations too.
My daughter and I found a long tangled string of these little gold lanterns at our local Goodwill. They were $1 for like a hundred of them. Instead of wasting time de-tangling them, we cut them and hot glued them into little individual lanterns.
I did the hot gluing and my girl did the hanging.
We sprayed some old Christmas bells with some gold spray paint taking them from old country to a rustic chic.
You can see the post about that project HERE.
We crafted our families initials with some left over cork and some twine found in our craft box and a little bit of hot glue.
Then with some craft paper and some tape, we made little horns that tucked nicely into some of the lonely parts of our tree.
This was of course, after we used them as microphones and trumpets and danced around the living room tooting to the Christmas music we were thoroughly enjoying.
We took apart an old flower arrangement and tucked some faux eucalyptus and grass pieces into the tree to add another layer of interest.
Lastly, we found some pine cones on a winters walk and hot glued them to some twine for another natural element.
This year our tree is anything but fussy.
The dog can run by it, the kids can crawl under it and I can sit by and watch our family really live in our home this Holiday season.
Nothing is too precious and the feeling here is relaxed. Best of all, the decorating process was something we all could enjoy this year. When the kids get in the mood, they can move a thing or two around on our tree because nothing is breakable and absolutely nothing was expensive.
If you are looking for some easy, kid friendly solutions for decorating this year, I hope you will shop your house and find out how rewarding it is to re purpose some forgotten items you find along the way.
I hope we will always see that it is not what the tree looks like, how much it costs, how many twinkling lights dress it up, but how much fun we have as a family putting it together and enjoying it all season long.
PS: Husbands really do enjoy not having to drag down those heavy totes and they really love when decorating for the holiday costs little to no money.
PPS: They also totally appreciate a relaxed no swearing or sweating mama too. ;)