This morning I was over at my mom's house and was happy to see that all of our flowers from Christmas were holding up nicely. It made me think that it was an excellent $16 spent. And then I realized that I spent a whole $22 on Christmas decorations this year. Yep, frugality. I love the way it all turned out too.
I bought two "Christmas Bouquet's" from Trader Joes two days before Christmas for $7.99 each, then I took them home and separated each bouquet into individual types of flowers. I reassembled the roses, cedar branches and large white mums into a traditional flower arrangement for the sideboard, then I took the white carnations and more white mums and broke them down into small vases that fit into the all white table setting scheme. I took some garishly green small mums and put them in a matching vase for the bathroom, and finally took the alstroemeria and put it in a plain pottery vase and took it to my house, where its currently looking lovely on my butcher block counter.
I wove small branches from the yard into a make-shift flower frog inside the vase in order to hold the stems up.
Those cut glass votive holders, along with a cut glass plate that I used to hold hor d'oeuvres, were responsible for the remaining $4 of my budget. Purchased for 50% off at a local thrift store on the same day as the flowers, they fit the white and sparkly theme that I settled for.
For the other Christmas decorations I used things I already had--
This mexican tin Christmas tree that was fairly expensive for my post-college budget ten or so years ago, but is easy to store and looks festive year after year. (And becomes multi-denominational since the only candles I can ever find that fit the little holders are for a menorah and usually come in blue and white-- plus, that six pointed star at the top totally makes me think this tree was made by crypto-jews, which many of the hispanic New Mexicans who settled here in the 17th Century apparently were).
The Christmas chandelier, as I dubbed it, cost $2, for the mini-string of lights that I bought at Target. The ornaments were those I already owned, and the tree branch came off the big wood pile on the property.
My favorite decorating idea was to throw a bunch of old photos out on the coffee table for guests to look through and laugh. About half our guests had never met each other, but we've known all of them for years, so I focused on trying to find old photos of everyone who was there. I thought it would be a good ice-breaker. Then I threw in old pictures of my mom and uncle, because Christmas Eve is my mom's birthday and the day has to celebrate both. And finally family holiday photos spanning the decades. (Including me with 90s hair, because if you want people to laugh you have to let them laugh at you too).
This is a better picture of the red carpet that I bought on ebay for $30 (including delivery) a few months ago. It became part of the dining room display by covering part of the makeshift floor in front of the buffet. Not part of the $22, but definitely a frugal purchase.
In my final act of frugality, I'm having a couple of friends over tonight, and am using up some of the holiday groceries by making molé enchiladas with the rest of the leftover chicken.