Pinching Christmas Pennies
December 7, 2011
Christmas is expensive; and I’m not even talking about gifts. It’s the little things that add up. Making your home look and smell as it should for Christmastime takes a financial toll.
Growing up, my mother wouldn’t simply decorate the house for Christmas. She would transform the home into a magical, yet very tasteful, winter wonderland for a month and a half. Pictures were taken off the walls and replaced with Christmas art. Everyday throw pillows and rugs were packed into boxes as those with sparkling snowflakes and embroidered poinsettias took their place. And good luck finding a mug that didn’t have a whimsical landscape or reindeer-drawn sleigh on its side! Strands of sleigh bells hung from door knobs and the smell of wassail and cinnamon rolls filled the air. I could go on and on. Needless to say, I have always loved Christmas.
I took with me into adulthood the need to decorate my home for Christmas. Unfortunately, I was rather nomadic during my time spent in Philadelphia and never had the opportunity to Christmasify any of my apartments, so all of my boxes and Rubbermaids of Christmas decor are still stored away in a basement in North Dakota. We had a couple boxes of ornaments that came with us to the farm, but that was it. And with animal feed, fencing, and gasoline to buy, we just can’t justify spending money on filling our new home with Christmas cheer, so we have been resourceful.
After picking the color scheme for our tree, we had lots of glass balls leftover. But rather than throw them into the box with the rest of the refuse ornaments, we put them to use elsewhere! This year, create a beautiful (and free) display by simply placing some christmas balls in a decorative bowl or vase. Who needs snowbabies?
Before rushing to the nearest greenhouse to buy a dozen poinsettias, we decided to go for a walk around the farm. A half hour later, we both had our arms full of dogwood, winterberry branches, and rose hips- just enough for two arrangements and a wreath. All for free. So next time you go for a drive, bring a pair of clippers with you. You never know what you’ll see growing on the side of the road.
Crock Pot Potpourri
Nothing compares to the smell of baked goods in the oven. Be it pie, cookies, or bread, there’s something about the smell of Christmas baking that really turns a house into a home. But who has time (and money) to bake all day? Well, instead of spending way too much on an overpriced candle to fill your home with the smells of the season, dust off the crock pot and peek into the spice cabinet. Throw in whatever you like and pour in some water. Turn the dial to “low” and let yourself be transported to a magical Christmas oasis.
Two cinnamon sticks, a tablespoon or so of whole cloves, some freshly ground nutmeg, approximately 15 whole peppercorns, a pine cone, two small clusters of pine needles, and some orange peel have been in our little crock pot for about a week now. We turn it on for a few hours in the afternoon and before we know it, every room smells like Mrs. Claus’s kitchen. And it is just as fragrant today as it was on day 1. All we need to do is add some water as needed.
Even though it is 53 degrees outside, it feels like Christmas inside. And we haven’t spent a dime.