Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Decor, Crafts & Traditions

I'm sure you understand by now, but I love Christmas more than the average person. The average person is like "yeah, I love Christmas"...I'm like "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY HANDS I'M SO EXCITED BECAUSE IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME WHERE'S MY EGG NOG AND FIGGY PUDDING AHHHHHHH JOY TO THE WORLD I LOVE BABY JESUS HE HAS COME WREATHSSSSSS TREESSSSSSS ORNAMENTSSSS THE OX AND ASS ARE FEEDING!!!!!!!!!!" I'm pretty sure I'm an elf in my other life...that's not a joke. I can't wait to have kids so I can spread the love of Christmas onto my offspring. I may or may not already have an Elf on the Shelf...and his name may or may not already be Chester. I got him for Christmas last year and was so excited. I was going to play with him this Christmas but I didn't think Matt would find it amusing (considering he's a 23 year old man)...and although my dog is a person and is fully capable of human thought and communication, she'd probably steal him and hide him never to be seen again. Having said that, when I am, in fact, with child...prepare yoselves. I already have so many ideas! These are the kinds of things I think about in my spare time all year round...typical elvish thing to do...you know...the usual.

And after that completely pointless but completely necessary paragraph I move on to what this blog post is really about: Christmas decor, crafts, and traditions! 

Because I'm of the elf culture, I go a little crazy decorating my house for Christmas time. I practically put all of my current decorations in the attic and replace them with Christmas trees and garland and anything with twinkly lights and glitter. If it looks like Christmas threw up in my living room, I was successful.  Having said that, here are some pics of my house this year:

 I made the wire tree a few years ago. Probably my favorite Christmas craft of all time.

I got this little hand-carved nativity from Jerusalem when I went to Israel in 2010. We went to Bethlehem too. Incredible experience. If you get the opportunity...GOOOOOO!!

Love my little Christmas mouse

I painted this little canvas a few years ago. Pretty sure anyone can do it. 

 Stockings hung on the entertainment center with care (because we don't have a mantle...Santa comes through the TV on Christmas Eve every year...this is the 21st century! Would you expect anything else?)

I like to decorate everything...including all of my curtain rods. Why not?

These yarn trees are my most recent Christmas craft. I'll tell you how to make them later in this post.

 Yep...my tree has a hat. I also got some red and green polka-dotted ribbon to drape down the sides this year. I just love it. So festive. It just really knows how to put me in a good mood.

 I'm going to try and get an ornament of every place we go together. I have an NYC one from our honeymoon and a San Francisco one from our 1 year anniversary trip. I had no idea I bought 2 different ornaments on opposite sides of the country from the same maker. Pretty cool. I wrote their significance on the bottoms of them.

Yay Matty for hanging lights up outside!! And P.S. Ignore the leaves...those are last on my priority list...all of the crafts come first obviously.

 So where do I even begin? First I'll tell you about some crafts then tell you about some crafty traditions I started last year.

First, my yarn/pom pom trees! Cute, ehh? They're so easy! Even the least craftiest of people could pull these off!

I got these paper mache cones at Michaels along with red and green yarn and this little bag of tiny pom pom balls.

 I started by hot gluing a piece of the yarn under the cone and then hot glued a strand around the bottom...you want to do this first...trust me. Then just start a wrappin!

 I wrapped it around back to where the yarn was back at the bottom of the cone and ended it just how I started it by gluing a little piece underneath the cone. After that I hot glued the pom poms on. 

Ta da!

Another thing I made this year is the wreath you saw earlier. My momma got those wooden initials for me for my birfday in October. I forget exactly where she got them but they have them on Etsy that you can order. I got the grapevine wreath at Michaels for $3 (very expensive) as well as the silver wire balls. I used 2 bags of those. I used more wire to tie each ball to the wreath. I also added a red wire-edged ribbon bow and some mini battery-operated LED lights (also at Michaels for less than $10). I love it! It really stands out on our red door...especially at night when the pretty lights are on!

Another thing I did this year was embroider Elphie's name onto her stocking...yes my dog has a stocking...and yes I actually spent 2 hours of my life stitching her name onto it. Time well spent in my opinion! I got the stocking at Target last year for like $6. It needed a little extra somethin somethin.

The last Christmas craft that I'm going to feature is actually something I made last year but might still come in handy for those looking for a solution of  how to display all of your Christmas cards! It's pretty self-explanatory. I got all of the supplies at Michaels! I attach all of the cards onto the ribbon with tiny clothespins (also found at Michaels)

Matt walked into the living room mischievously and hung a Christmas card up on the holder as if I wouldn't notice...I was like "who's that from" and he replied "Domino's"...What can I say? We love pizza!

Now onto the traditions!! 

2 years ago I started making a felt ornament every Christmas. Weird and random? Yes. Something I would find pleasure in doing? Yes. In 2010 I made an owl, in 2011 I made a tree, and this year I made a half-eaten gingerbread man. They're not the prettiest things but I like that I'll have one for every year. I even stitched the year onto the backs of them. Instead of spending a lot on fluff, I got some of that fake snow stuff at Michaels. It comes in a big bag and it's practically the same as fluff. I used a coupon and got it really cheap. These things use very little of it so I still have a ton left for future projects.

I love Christmas cards! I also like to keep them organized and easily accessible after I take them down after Christmas. This was my solution last year. I got these big binder ring clips (available at Michaels), punched a hole in each card, then attached a piece of paper with the year onto the front. Perfectly organized and something I'll treasure for years to come. Do this every year and you'll have a lot of fun looking at them down the road. I put our card at the top. They're very important to me. I start thinking about what I want them to look like in the summer and order them in October. I like to get a start on my Christmas festivities a little earlier than most...

Lastly, time capsule ornaments!! I'm also making one of these every year. This one was from 2011. I include a wallet-sized pic of our Christmas card (get these at Walgreens) and another pic of us from the year. Don't forget to write the year somewhere in it so you'll know which is which! These will also be fun things to look back on in the future when you have a whole collection of them. I used ribbon as a filler in this one. Haven't completed ours for this year yet. I used tiny bells as a filler in this year's. I get the clear photo ornaments at Michaels in the Christmas or photo frame section. They come apart so it's easy to put things in them. Last year I could only find ones with little holes in them at the top. They're supposed to be there...haven't figured out why yet. Oh well...you get the point anyways!

Now THAT was a lot to take in.

Of course all of these pretty things make me extremely happy, but nothing makes me happier than the fact that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. What a precious gift! Nothing is more beautiful than His love for us. It might sound cliche but HE is the real reason for the season. And I'm so thankful for that.

Thanks for reading! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and remembers the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas.

Happy Christmasing!!!