Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Weekly Header Challenge - Holiday Preparations

It's time for the Weekly Header Challenge!

"Headbanger" Participants

I'm joining in the group above for this weekly challenge.
Feel free to click on the other participants' blogs
to see what they've come up with!

Theme ~ Holiday Preparations

Simply put, we have no money to spend on Christmas this year.  This includes three major areas of celebration:  We did not purchase a Christmas tree, we are not spending money on gifts, and we are spending very little on Christmas dinner (fortunately, my mom obtained most of the needed food items and I help making it with her).  Ironically, we gave away our artificial Christmas tree last year to a needy family (we definitely don't feel bad about that!); so, there is no tree in our front window.  The small extended family grab bag in which we will be participating will include homemade gifts, and over the next few days I'll have guys in the kitchen making cookies and treats (with my help, of course!) for the people whose names they chose.

But despite all this, the true celebration of Christmas is a reality in our home--we are celebrating the fact that God sent His Son to earth to live as one of us, to show us the way to Him, and to die on a cross for our sins.  This can be celebrated without a tree, without gifts, and without a special meal if it had to come to that.  I chose my header photo from last year's images; it's part of my mom's decorations at her and Dad's home, and it reflects what this season is all about.

I bring you good news of great joy!

Decorations are always nice to help celebrate, so I used what was on hand, a few "gifts" that appeared on my front porch, and a few purchased items to make our home cheery and festive.  Here's what I did.

This "wall tree" was constructed out of tree branches Fernando and I picked up on a neighborhood walk, some spruce trimmings from a sweet neighbor's yard (she invited me to glean), a small strand of white lights for a few dollars, and my own gold and silver snowflake ornaments (I collect snowflake and icicle ornaments for our tree each year).

I made these trees with the mysterious gift of garland left on our front porch (in a bag with a bow on top), and purchased cone shapes and decorative Styrofoam balls.  They need stars, which I couldn't find at the dollar store so will be attempting to make from paper later today.  Here they are on my fireplace mantel:

The Frasier fir trimmings were from Home Depot, which collects them as they trim trees for customers, and they give them away for free.  The rest of the blue decorative balls ended up in a flower vase on the left.  I wish the candles were white, but the blue ones were free since I already had them from a clearance sale at IKEA probably a few years back.

The white decorative balls ended up in a trifle bowl I've used only once or twice with another blue pillar candle I found; all ended up on my dining room table.  The tablecloth is from a post-Christmas sale at Target years and years ago.  I think I paid $4 for it--it barely covers our super-long table but it's blue!

More Home Depot tree trimmings got tied together and draped over the clock in our front living room, above.  Then, holly garland I've had for forever got hung in its usual place in our foyer, below.

Finally, I haven't put it up (later today!), but here is a close-up from my manger:

These figurines were purchased by my Italian grandmother at a Ben Franklin store (some of you may remember that long-ago five-and-dime store!).  They are  papier-mâché and not at all expensive, but they are dear to me for the history they contain.  And they're what Christmas is all about.

Treasuring life's moments,

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  1. Quite right Christine, lots of folk drink and eat too much.
    Like the idea for the tree also the decorations.

  2. I was pleased last night as I filled in for one of our teachers at church and asked the kids what the first thing they thought of when I said Christmas. None came up with the glitz and glitter of Santa and the commercialism, though one did say gifts. Their thoughts went to God, to family, and ---well, food. We are also having a low key Christmas, with limited spending and quiet. My husband has shopping time today between doctor appointments in the "city" and asked me what I might have been thinking of. As I broke my dental bridge before Thanksgiving my response was that I could literally sing this year that "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth..."

  3. Lovely decorations and photographs! You do such a marvelous job with your home, Christine! Merry Christmas!!

  4. Christine: A beautiful post showing such wonders of a truely rich holiday preparation.

  5. You have taken simple things and made your house beautiful! I love the wall tree. I believe all at your house will remember this Christmas long after the gifts from other Christmas's are forgotten.