Decorations at Christmas – Small spaces, small budgets, no problem!

I wanted to share some different creative decorating ideas with you, as you consider your decorations at Christmas.

Festive Branches

The simple idea that I want to share with you today is not only gorgeous, but it also comes in at ZERO cost = FREE!

Not only is is free, but it’s also a fun way to decorate your space throughout the whole year.

When considering the focal point of traditional Christmas decorations, the first thing that comes to mind, is the big… beautiful…fresh cut…evergreen Christmas tree. No matter how much you’d love to have the typical Christmas centerpiece, maybe you don’t have the room for it in your small space. Or, perhaps your budget won’t allow it. Maybe you or a family member has allergies to evergreens. If you’re like me, you might just be in the mood to try something new, or add to your growing line up of holiday decorations. Whatever situation you find yourself in, I want to help open your mind to the countless ways there are for you to decorate for the holidays!

You may even decide to keep this simple centerpiece up all year, and use it for every holiday, every celebration, and every season, no matter how much space you have, or what kind of budget you have to work with… remember we’re talking FREE here! (I have lots of ideas for this below!)

The idea begins with a simple tree branch, then expands into beauty that is only limited by your own imagination!

Before I explain further, take a peek at a few examples of how some people have already used this idea in their homes.
(click on any picture to see different sizes, or their other pictures)

Christmas branch

Charlie Brown branches

How to display the branch
– Hang over a table
– Put in a vase
– Stick into a flower pot
– Hang on wall

How to keep the branch sturdy in it’s container
– Sand
– Crumbled newspaper
– Fabric
– Beans
– Rice
– Rocks

Decorating the branch itself
– You could keep the branch natural
– Spray paint it white, gold, silver, light blue, pink, etc.
– You could sprinkle glitter on the branches while the paint is still wet
– Wrap each section in fabric
– Wrap with white or colored lights
– Wrap with ribbon

Christmas decoration ideas to hang from the branches
– Christmas ornaments
– Pictures
– Birds
– Mittens
– Mini stockings
– Pinecones
– Bird nests
– Buttons
– Bells
– Felt balls
– Keys
– Feathers
– Ribbons / bows
– Hearts
– Bead garlands
– Christmas cards
– Paper snowflakes
– Stars
– Tinsel
– Cookies / gingerbread men
– Anything you can imagine!

Idea: Dress it up even more!
When cutting things out of paper, think about using some sort of paper that will bring even more interest to the item that you are creating. Here’s an example of what I mean. Instead of white paper, you might want to consider; sheet music, wrapping paper, pretty napkins, cards, copies of old letters, scrapbook paper, construction paper, etc. You can find lots of pretty things to download online.

Theme Ideas

Have you ever wanted to add a theme tree to your decorations, but couldn’t bring yourself to leave out your traditional family tree? Well, this is the perfect way that you could have both! As a matter of fact, why not have 2 or 3 different displays around your house!

Many times a theme can be communicated through color or collection. In the “color” theme, you would decorate the whole display using different items, but all of the same color. When using a collection, everything can be different colors, but the same types of items. Example: all vintage mittens, vintage baby bonnets, all bells, all snowflakes, all miniatures, all birds, etc.

Look at these other beautiful examples

Christmas Vignette

Branch Tree

Christmas garland decor

Pretty little felt trees

Christmas branch

my tree full

Pastel Branches

Christmas tree decor

The twinkling tree

First Christmas decor

Red window with garden view

Where can I get a tree branch?
– Your backyard
– Your neighbor
– From a friend or family member’s backyard
– Curbside (other people’s yard debris, can be your gorgeous decor)
– A walk in the woods
– A logger

How big should my branch be?
– This is totally up to you! How big of a branch can your space handle, and what kind of look are you going for?

How else can I decorate my centerpiece throughout the year?
– Winter decor – birds, paper snowflakes, pom-pom snow balls, snowmen
– Valentines Day – hearts, candy, red/pink paper chains & flowers
– St. Patrick’s Day – paper clovers
– Spring – flowers, paper mushrooms, birds, nests
– Easter – blown out Easter eggs
– 4th of July – anything red, white, and blue
– Summer – pictures of vacations, paper butterflies/lady bugs, flowers
– Birthdays – yearly picture of birthday person, paper numbers
– Anniversaries – wedding pictures, hearts
– Autumn – dried leaves, acorns, moss, mini pumpkins
– Anything you can imagine!

Who knew that a simple tree branch could be so beautiful!

Christmas All Through The House

Christmas in my living room

Christmas in my Living Room

Don’t you love taking walks through the village streets at night! It gets dark so early this time of year, but each little house shares glimpses of their decorations through well lit windows. Twinkling lights, beautiful wreaths, creative garlands, and wonderfully decorated Christmas trees all speak of the joy of those who dwell inside during this wonderful season!

I thought I’d let you peek in our windows & share just a few of our Christmas decorations with you 😉

Here are some of my vintage Christmas ornaments up close
Christmas Tree

For my dining room table I decided to re-purpose a wreath that I usually hang on the front door! I used a quilt with matching colors, the wreath, a large jar that I picked up on sale last year, and the wreath.
Christmas Table

Some new snowmen for our collection
Christmas Snowmen

I love these little boxes that our friends bought for our anniversary. The santa was my first try at wood carving.
Christmas Shelf

Here is some vintage ephemera that I found in a local shop, buried under some old books.
Christmas tin

Here is the poem up close so you can read it!
Christmas Poem - Vintage Ephemera

Christmas Shelf

Christmas Display

For my tree skirt, I just placed some $2 pr yard black & white toile around the base of the tree.
Christmas Tree

Some new pieces picked up at the local discount store for $5 each!
Vintage SnowmanVintage Christmas SantaVintage Christmas Girl

My “Prim” Christmas Tree

Primitive Christmas Tree

Primitive Christmas Tree

Primitive Christmas Tree

Christmas Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas day.
Their old familiar carols play
And wild & sweet the words repeat, of peace on earth good will towards man.

Here are some Christmas Pictures from last year.

Christmas Tree Tips – Finding And Caring For The Perfect Tree

Christmas in The Parlor

Each year we look forward to our special “Family Christmas Tree Day”, when we all go out to find our perfect Christmas tree. I say “day”, because we like to make a whole day out of this fun family event. We bundle up with our boots, coats, hats, gloves, and scarves to keep us warm, because there’s usually lots of snow! Even though this year there was only a few inches of snow on the ground, it was still unseasonably bitter cold. After we find the perfect tree, we go out to dinner, and then we come home and prepare for the festival of decorations 😉

My husband & I have been married for 21 wonderful years, and have been blessed with 4 “not so little anymore” children in our family. I guess you could say that we’re not your typical family. My children are all musicians, singers, actors, and artists of some kind, and all that being said, you might be able to imagine all of the silly fun we have in our home! I like to look at this way… we’re making lots of wonderful memories 😉

Today, I thought we could have some fun sharing our “special” day with you!

So… here are some tips from our family to help you find that perfect Christmas tree!

1. First, you need to find a good tree farm with lots of different types & sizes of Christmas trees to choose from.

We like to go to a farm about 25 minutes away called Grangers Tree Farm. If you don’t know where to find a tree farm in your area, simply google the phrase “christmas tree farms” and include your state.

Christmas tree farm

Did you know…

– Christmas tree are grown in all 50 states including Alaska & Hawaii

– For every Christmas tree harvested, 2-3 seedlings are planted in it’s place to insure a future harvest

– There are approx. 1 million acres currently used in the growth of Christmas trees, and each acre can provide the daily oxygen requirements for 18 people

– The Christmas tree industry employs over 100,000 people yearly between 21,000 tree growers in the US

– Christmas trees have been sold commercially in the United States since about 1850

– It takes 7-15 years to grow a tree of 6ft, which is the average purchased height

– The top selling Christmas tree varieties are; White Pine, Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, Noble Fir, Scotch Pine, and Virginia Pine

2. You need to be happy about the task at hand!

Don’t forget that 80% of the fun comes from the fact that you are together & making memories – not just the hunt itself!

My happy elves
I’m sorry, but those are some of the cutest elves I’ve ever seen 😉

3. Don’t just settle for any tree!

Take some time in choosing your family tree… what’s the hurry anyway 😉

Here is a nice guide that explains all of the different types of Christmas trees. You could read through the guide and look over the pictures before you go tree shopping. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of what you would like before you go.

Don't settle for just any tree!

4. Measure the tree to make sure that it will fit in your home.

My son is standing next to the tree, so we can gauge the approximate height of this possible choice 😉

Measuring the Christmas tree

5. Be sure to examine the tree out from all sides.

There’s nothing worse than getting your tree home, only to find out that half of the tree is missing!

Christmas Sweetie

Sneaky elf

6. Make sure you all like the tree that you’re picking out!

This is it!

But… if you LOVE it, it’s that much better 😉

Gotta love your Christmas tree

7. Have someone stand with the tree while you go get help, so no one else decides to walk off with your prize!

Standing Guard

8. Take some time to take in the atmosphere!

Many tree farms have others things to enjoy such as; petting zoos, a cozy fire, and goodies!

Christmas in the barn

Christmas in the barn

Country Christmas

Christmas in the Barn

9. Take a few minutes to rest before the trip home.

We like to take a few minutes to sit around the cozy fire, and have a few goodies.

Resting after the long Christmas tree hunt

Christmas Love

10. Cover the floor with plastic, and get your tree stand ready.

To protect your carpet from the water, sap, and anything else that might drip on it, put down a layer of plastic (something water proof – I use a garbage bag cut open) before you put your tree stand in it’s place. Make sure your stand is in good working order, after all that’s the only thing that will be holding this whole presentation together 😉

I think getting your tree into the stand, and having it stay up properly is one of the biggest hassles of putting up a real tree. But… it doesn’t have to be a big deal anymore, or so they told me at the tree farm! This year we picked up a new tree stand called the “Stand Straight Tree Stand”. All you need, so they said, was a pre-drilled hole in the bottom of the tree trunk, place the peg into the hole, then stand the tree up in the middle of the stand. With a 9ft “very full” tree, I wasn’t quite ready to sing the praises of this new stand yet…

Stand Straight Tree StandStand Straight Tree Stand

11. Leave the tree bundled up until you get it in the tree stand.

We have found this to be such an easier way to handle the tree, instead of dragging it through the house… dropping needles and small branches along the way 😉

Bundled Christmas tree

12. Fill the tree stand with water.

Because our tree was a fresh cut tree, we could bring it directly into the house & put it into the stand, but if you buy a tree from a roadside stand, be sure to cut a fresh slice off of the bottom of the tree’s trunk so it can properly absorb water.

Did you know… a fresh cut tree will drink a quart or more of water each day for the first week it is brought into your home?

Tip: To make watering VERY easy, simply place a long tube of some sort down into the tree stand, then, using a funnel, pour in enough water to almost fill the basin. For the tube, you could use a piece of pvc pipe, a piece of an old garden hose, or any other type of long narrow tubing.

13. Remove the netting from the tree.

Freeing our Christmas tree

14. Trim the tree as necessary.

After you remove the netting and the limbs relax into place, you might find that the tree needs a bit of trimming here & there. Some folks like to let their tree relax for at least a day before decorating, especially if the tree came into the home directly from the field. * Please remember to shake the tree as much as possible before bringing it into your home, as you could end up with pools of water from the melting snow if you don’t – yikes.

Trim the Christmas tree We didn’t like the little “spindly” spike at the top of our tree, so we cut it off.

15. Let it go & pray it stays up!

Many times we have had to hide a little guide wire hooked to the wall to keep the tree from toppling over, but this year, we wanted to try this new stand to see if our troubles were over 😉

Christmas tree is finally home
It worked… I can’t believe it, but it worked beautifully!

15. Now, decorate to your heart’s content!

We have so many ornaments that we’ve collected over the years, that all 6 of us have lots to do when we decorate!

Ready to decorate our Christmas tree

I hope you & your family enjoys getting your tree ready for the holidays as much as we did!

I’ll be sure to share lots of pictures of our cottage, as soon as we get everything ready!

Make Your Own Christmas Ornaments & Gift Tags

Each year I save my favorite Christmas cards & re-purpose them into different things. Here is a card that I turned into a Christmas ornament. I just added a bow that came from a different gift that year.

Last year I kept all of my Christmas cards! They come with such beautiful colors & pictures, that I knew I’d think of something to do with them!

This year, I decided to cut out all the pictures & use them as this year’s gift tags!

Cut out whatever shapes you’d like, punch a hole in the corner, & tie on with ribbon. You could also tape them right on the package if you’d like.

Because you’re cutting out the picture from the front of the card, the back is normally white & not written on.

Use a pretty color gel pen & write your message on the back.

Christmas card display
Hang varying lengths of beautiful ribbon from your curtain rod. As you get a Christmas card, pin it on one of the ribbons with a straight pin. Hopefully, you have lots of friends & can fill the whole window with cards! =) The end product looks like a holiday window treatment.

* You could also use last year’s cards for an instant display.