Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Lately, I have been pondering the lyrics to this Christmas carol. Looking at them with fresh eyes has brought me so much hope this season. Here are the words to the last verse:

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name

He is so worthy of our praise and worship! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

thrifty Christmas decor

As I was adding one more Christmas decoration to our home last night, I thought that it would be interesting if I did a blog post about how I decorate for Christmas in a way that meaningfully celebrates the season but doesn't break the budget. We live in a small one-bedroom apartment, so the decorating space is minimal but I do my best to make it merry, meaningful, and festive!
Here is my newest addition:
I use the top of my bookshelf in my living room like I would a mantle since we dont have a fireplace. Have you seen this picture from a recent home design from Emily Henderson from Secrets of a Stylist?
Well, I loved this image. (As did many other people, according to Pinterest images.) Well, a lady named Angela Hardison made a free downloadable PDF and I saw it on Pinterest. Here is the link to her blog and her free downloadable image http://angelahardison.blogspot.com/2011/12/repeat-sounding-joy.html . All I did was print the image, put it in a frame we were given as a wedding gift and set it on top of two antique books on top of our "mantle" bookshelf. Voila! $0 decoration! That is something I will likely keep up year-round. (There is a link to the right that will take you to my Pinterest page. I just joined a few weeks ago and I am having so much fun! Feel free to follow my pinboards.)

I love the image declaring Joy over the entire globe. That is Christmas! Jesus came that the world might have life and have it abundantly. The image that now sits on my bookshelf reminds me to believe that truth even when the world news is devastating. It reminds me to pray, and it makes me so grateful that Emmanuel came. Christmas. Plus, it causes me to loudly belt out the "Joy to the World" carol much to Slater's delight. :)
Here is an image of the whole bookshelf with Christmas decorations:

Those are our new stockings!! We love them. We were not able to get stockings our first Christmas together, so it was a treat to be able to include that in the Christmas budget this year and hunt for the perfect stockings. Our style is somewhat natural. I LOVE everything white and Slater like everything multi-colored. (That made registering for dishes for wedding gifts interesting haha.) After searching and searching, we finally found ones that fit our personality. Slater has a colored one with a happy snowman since he loves color and loves the snow. I have a white one with a classy Christmas tree and a flower on top. The burlap ties them together so they coordinate and helps it match the rest of our home. In the future, we would love to get our names put on them at the top. We found the stockings at SPICE in downtown Waco. I purchased the stocking holders last year after Christmas in Shreveport from a store called Red Door. On the top left is a basket that holds all of our Christmas cards. I love sending and receiving Christmas cards!! I love that tradition. Its so cool to see people and their families grow and change over the years. On the top right is one of my favorite vases with Christmas tree greenery and glitter sticks inside. I'll get to that in a minute.
Here is the Christmas card we sent this year:
I made them using VistaPrint and ordered them when they were running a major coupon code. They were very inexpensive. This is what I did with our Christmas cards last year before we had stockings:
I hung them up with twine and clothespins! It was a fun display.

Back to the greenery...this is probably my favorite thrifty Christmas decorating trick. When you go to buy your Christmas tree, there will usually be a big bin with Christmas tree branches. You can take as many as you want for FREE! You could also ask the person cutting the trees if they will cut you a few branches off of your tree. Real trees are glorious! I take those branches and arrange them in vases around my house for a natural, smell-good, pretty Christmas display. My favorite kind of Christmas style would be described as "natural with glitter". So, I add in a few glittery sticks that I picked up from Michael's or Hobby Lobby last year. They are cheap. Here are my examples. Pictures from this year and last year...

As you can see in the picture above, I have some wintry pinecones. Last year, I did a pinecone ornament craft. We were thanksfully given some ornaments from our families and sporadically picked up a few ornaments, but still needed to fill some space in a Christmas tree. I picked up a bag of pinecones, some twine, some snowy white paint, and some glitter spray paint. 
Ta da! Snowy pinecone ornaments for much less expensive than at the store.

Here is our tree last year and this year...

We just bought some cheap cotton from Michael's and spread it out around the bottom of the tree to make a very inexpensive "tree skirt". Bonus - it looks like snow! Remember when I said before that Slater likes everything multi-colored and I like everything white? We had to majorly compromise when it came to Christmas lights. We decided he gets colored lights on the Christmas tree if I get white only lights on the outside. :)

This year, Slater found some amazing vintage Christmas tree tins for only $10 at the city-wide garage sale in Austin. We love great vintage finds. His parents bought them for us for his birthday. I displayed them on shelves we already had up in our living room.
I put a ceramic nativity that was a gift from my mom on a vintage side table in our living room. This year, I have an amaryllis bulb/bloom (also an amazing gift from my mom) with the nativity scene.
Here is me last year with our Christmas wreath. I bought a pre-made wreath from a craft store and then spray painted glitter on it (leftover from the pinecone craft) and added a few gold glitter elements.
See? Earthy plus glitter is the best.
The image above is so special to me! But first of all, please please disregard the horrific mess in the corner. This picture was taken last December. We have a nook in our room that had boxes and junk that still needed to be unpacked. The corner is no longer the junk corner and it does not look like that this year! I promise.  Anyway, on this cool wire tree that my parents gave us, hangs angel ornaments made out of shells. My parents give me one every year on my Spiritual birthday. They have done an amazing job of really celebrating with us what matters. Every year we celebrate the day I (and my brother and sister) gave my heart to Jesus. To commemorate the occasion, we go out to eat, the family encourages the one celebrating the spiritual birthday, and we get a gift that goes along with a spiritual collection we have. My parents give me these angels hand made out of shells that hold different objects and have different meanings. My spiritual birthday is on December 4th so it is always special to get these out and decorate with them. It is a great reminder of Who I am celebrating and that He has saved me. I am so grateful to be a child of God!
And finally, I leave you with the Christmas candle. :) We like it. I have a few other Christmas candles and hand towels sprinkled throughout the house.

I hope this post inspires you to find creative and thrifty ways to decorate your home. It was fun for me to look at pictures from last Christmas and this one. It is so fitting to celebrate Him and fill my home with reminders of why we are celebrating. In short, MERRY CHRISTMAS! Emmanuel - God is WITH us! Hallelujah!