Vase Market's got some winter holiday tips for decorating your home and events even under a budget!

With the holidays fast approaching, no doubt you have been bombarded with various sales and ads calling you to spend your money on gadgets, clothes, and fanciful living space items. Some sites, like One Kings Lane, have even nonchalantly suggested that spending $75 on a brass foot-long ruler$650 on a set of steak knives with malachite handles, or nearly $700 on a crystal glass and cotton table runner is "worth a splurge".

Hey, we're not gonna judge if you have that kind of time and money to spend for your holiday. But you could at least consider some budget friendly alternatives and suggestions for preparing for you holiday decorations. It's not tremendously difficult. It can even be fun. Treat it as a creative home decorating project (one that's significantly more affordable at least). Bring your kids, other family, and friends to help you. Make your seasonal preparations an event to remember, not just for the immediate gratification that money can buy, but for the meaningful time you'll spend with those you love.

 

1. Begin By Finding Inspiration

 

An elegant dining set-up with holly patterned plates, teacup, and saucer.

 

To start your holiday decorating, you probably want to find sime inpiration. For example, this dinner table features a very western style table-top setting, which is not something every American family is used to. I mean, who needs that many plates? What's the second plate for? What's that gold thing beneath the plates? And why are there two forks? No offense, if you like this kind of stuff. Some homemakers and decorators probably find it pretty charming, but one look at an elegant set-up like this and they might also find themselves ready to give up on this whole holiday decorating endeavor.

However, theres a lot to learn about what makes something look welcoming, elegant, or classy, and those elements aren't necessarily rooted in beautiful and expensive china or silverware. If you're looking to set up a small private party or dinner at your home with friends and family, it's unlikely that any of them are going to judge you for using anything other than ultra-fine porcelain diningware. If they do, then I recommend cutting ties and finding new friends. You deserve better.

Although we probably can't replicate this table arrangement, we can certainly be inspired by the way the winter and holiday theme is enhanced through the snowflake "placemat" and the pattern on the plates and cups. You could put out paper placemats with printed patterns of poinsettias and hand-drawn holly drupelets (there's a tongue twister for you). Cut out large paper snowflakes in different colors and place them between the plates like in the image above. 

 

There are so many ways to make something simple look elaborate! Mind over matter!

Looking at the set-up from the side, you'll notice a few more elements. I would say that those stem glass candle holders, compared to fancy dinnerware, are much easier to acquire for a decent price online or in off-price department stores. That's probably one of the few things you'd have to actually buy, since most people can't make glass candle holders themselves. But if you're fine with skipping out on ambient table lighting, that's cool too.

As for those sparkling centerpiece "trees"? If they didn't buy those kitchy things from some living space high-end department store, they probably made it themselves. You could probably find cone shaped styrofoam or floarl foam at local craft and garden stores or online. If not, you can cut out some cones yourself using sturdy carstock. After that, just douse the sides of the cones with mod podge and glitter and your are golden (literally). 

 

2. Discover the Functions of Filler

 

No room on the tree for all your beautiful ornaments? Your collection of Christmas ornaments don't have to go to waste!

 

Christmas Ornaments


If your family is anything like mine, you might have one of those families that love collecting Christmas tree ornaments. Some families make their own, often with picture frames filled with portraits of kids and gradkids, but big retailers tend to get you with those special color schemed ornament sets, sometimes accompanied with sets of tinsel or a tree topper. Each year, new individual designs also appear in gift shops, stationary stores, bookstores, and online. There are ornaments made of glass, aluminum, ceramic, plastic, wood, and felt. I, for one, am a huge sucker for nerdy space-themed ornaments, like this Star Wars BB-8 resin ornament.

But with your ornament collection expanding on an annual basis, your new ooh-and-ahh jinglers and trinkets might struggle to find a free bough on the Christmas tree, and unless you're looking to buy a bigger tree each year, you're gonna have to find another place for these ornaments. Lucky for you, that doesn't have to mean stuffing them back in your closet or garage shelves. As our previous post has suggested, you can easily turn them into perfect holiday vase fillers for your clear glass vases like cylinder vases. It would make an amazing centerpiece or fireside decorative accent, and appear totally intentional. You can also place them in a long rectangular wood planter (like in the image above) to be displayed on a long dinner table. Try lining the box with a patterned cloth or holiday wrapping paper. By using what you already have in your home, it's a nice low-cost way of decorating for the winter holiday without spending more money on new stuff (unless you fail to break your habit of buying another new set of 50 ball ornaments this year).

A series of more natural/nature-y fillers that are great for bowl centerpieces and vases

Natural Vase Fillers


Among other budgetable decorative fillers include natural elements such as dried lotus pods, corn-stalks, cinnamon sticks, nut-shells, pine cones, pine needles, dried leaves, and other natural, biodegradable items that you can easily find in your home, at the park, on nature hikes, or even possibly in your backyard. Such warm, autumn colored fillers can look great in plates, tall vases, or glass jars. You can even turn them into Christmas / holiday themed potpourri, to be displayed in glass bowls or in sheer fabric pouches. Add a dash of a wintery scent, perfume, or powerded cinnamon to the pouches to really bring home a sense of nature and a winter atmosphere.

 

Cheap, easy to gather, and comes in the perfect colors for your winter holiday expression!

 

Glass Vase Fillers and Table Scatters


For vase fillers that last a little longer than dried biodegradable plants and leaves, glass pebbles are a classic choice. They're simple and you can reuse them every year. Make a great holiday color combo by combining red glass pebbles with greenwhite, or clear flat gems. Line the bottom of your vases with a layer of these pebbles and you can add flowers, candles, or other kinds of vase fillers on top for a fetching display.

Of course, at any craft store, you can find plenty of other materials for DIY home decorating projects. How much effort you want to expend, how much you care about personalizing your home decoration, and how often you want to reuse your hand-made and home-made holiday pieces depends on your budget and tastes. Some people are all about reinventing themselves every winter, while other have no issues with putting up the same faux pine wreaths and paper snowflakes up 10 years in a row. If you want to optimize your holiday decorating budget, there's probably no greater return for your money than in items that can potentially last you a lifetime. We would recommend it, but it's up to you. 

 

3. Keep It Simple

 

A family portrait of our wintery white glass trumpet vases
(Sometimes it only takes a few simple things to make a bold decoration statement)

 

Now that we have an idea of the things we could do, here are a few final decorating tips for a lovely, yet affordable holiday event. 

  1. - Keep It Simple - You don't need a lot of kitch and flashy decor to make your holiday special. Decorating is about creating a mood, and it doesn't take a mountain of money to make a space that warm and welcoming.
  2. - Be Creative - There's so much inspiration available in books, on TV, and online. Homemakers, professional decorations, and craft fanatics everywhere are eager to share. Mesh and meld those ideas to make something original.
  3. - Have Fun - This is not something that should be stressing you out or frustrating you to your core. If it is, take a deep breath and chill. It's a happy season. Find a way to love it.

 


 

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