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Creative Decorating on a Military Budget

If it were socially acceptable, I'd leave my Christmas decorations up until March. I love the warm glow created by Christmas lights and the feeling of coziness which comes from being surrounded by festive decorations. When I've had a long, bad day and I walk downstairs and see the holiday decorations, they instantly improve my mood. I have a friend who is putting her tree up this weekend. She doesn't enjoy the process, she's simply checking a box. Not me. I love bringing out the decorations and setting all of them up. Taking them down is an entirely different story, but I guess that's part of the process, too.

I also enjoy the creative process of decorating. Taking a bunch of odds and ends and figuring out how to make them work as a unit.  I'll share a few tips and tricks I used this year around my house, and ask you to share your favorite decorating ideas, too.

I love a dramatic centerpiece during the holiday season. This year, I made a centerpiece that I'm really happy with.

An up-close view:

My ingredients were a wreath, a cake plate, some sea glass/marbles and miscellaneous ornaments, most of which were tucked in a box collecting dust. I placed the wreath on the table and my cake plate in the middle of the wreath. Then I sat my Santa figurine on the cake plate and sprinkled sea glass, ornaments and jingle bells around the cake plate. You could use anything - small ornaments, confetti, pine combs, fake snow, etc. The last thing I did was to take the gold star and tuck one of its legs in the wreath to support it. And with that, I had a centerpiece I love. No need to spend any money here unless you want to, you can take items from your kitchen and ornaments and other decorating items you already have on hand. The great outdoors are a great place to forage for interesting items like pine combs, pine straw, greenery, berries and twigs (which you can leave natural or spray).

Instead of putting my year-round vases and baskets up to make room for holiday decor, I turn them into holiday decor. I love to take items I use throughout the year and stuff them with lights, pine combs and all those left-over ornaments that are stuffed in the don't-know-what-to-do-with box. They look beautiful when lit and it saves me from having to pack things up and take them out again each year. Here, I've taken vases and baskets and filled them with lights and ornaments. The lit baskets don't photograph well, but they look beautiful in the evening.

And here, all I did was take an existing vase and stick some red picks in it to dress it up with holiday cheer.

Below, I just took a white platter, sprinkled some red beads and small ornaments on it and added a candle. You could use cranberries, tinsel or a host of other items. It looks festive, and smells great.

And again, I took a vase that normally sits on a shelf and just added some festive twigs and now I have a holiday vignette.

We want ideas! Give us your best decorating-on-a-budget tips and tell us about your homemade items. Email photos of your creations to spousebuzz at military-inc dot com (spelling it out to prevent spam). We'll try to feature as many as possible on the site in the coming days.

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