Our homes are lovely when we decorate for the holidays. The big question is how much are you spending each year to create that perfect look? Can you relate to the holiday blues when you've done the same thing for a few years? Maybe it's time for something new? Before you rush off to the store, learn a new way to save money and change your holiday decorations.
Have a decorating party and exchange your decorations for a friend's decorations. As long as things are stored properly, there isn't any wear and tear from sitting on a fireplace mantle or hanging on a tree for a month each year.
Get tips on hosting your own holiday decorating party. You'll enjoy time with friends, you'll get inspiration for decorating your home and you'll save money too!
Picking Your Decorating Party Theme
It's your party so you get to pick the theme, i.e. maybe you're looking for new ways to decorate for your Thanksgiving gathering. By providing guidelines for your guests, everyone will bring more appropriate decorating materials and expectations will be set. So let's look at my party (photos will follow) as an example and after you've done this once, you'll find it's a great way to celebrate more holidays from Valentine's Day to July 4th.
- Decorating theme – Christmas cheer to recognize family, friends and all the good things we have to be thankful for.
- Decorating focus – will be on the Christmas tree, fireplace mantle and table tops.
Recommendations on What to Exchange
This is the perfect opportunity to clean out some clutter. Most of us own so much stuff that we end up buying duplicates because we can't find things easily, i.e. how many Christmas tree lights do we need? When my boys were still home, there were never enough lights. They'd string them all around their bedrooms, the hallway and stairs – fortunately they never tried to decorate the bathroom which would have been a safety hazard. I cherish the memories today and appreciate that the front of my house is no longer lit up like a carnival.
- Clear and colored vases – get stashed somewhere but how many do we need? Find them, pick a few to keep and bring the rest to trade with someone who doesn't have a collection.
- Baskets and other containers – like vases, seem to multiply and often they're a gift so we don't even recall what we've hidden in a cabinet or closet. Find them and save a few. The rest can be used to safely pack up the vases you're bringing.
- Arts and crafts – are where I store my treasures from nature, from pine cones to acorns, sea shells and stones (I have a stash from the beach for the paper white bulbs I grow in the winter). You may also find colorful ribbon, fabric scraps too small for big projects, etc.
- Christmas decorations – should be sorted first. There are decorations you'll never part with, i.e. the ones your children made. Now sort what you've got into 3 piles (thanks to Genevieve Benton, A Perfect Move, for this tip):
– Keepers – are neutral decorations that always work, i.e. garlands for stair handrails.
– Give Aways – are the decorations you haven't used for years so pack them up right away (no second thoughts).
– Not Sure – start in this pile. Measure the size of the pile, give yourself a time limit like 30 minutes and split the pile in half, keepers and give away.
We're human and I know you'll be tempted to take something out of the bag you just packed. To stop this from happening, put the bags in the trunk of your car. If you still want to retrieve something, you must put it on display for 60 days … or give it away!
Invite Your Guests
This is your party so you get to decide who you'd like to spend a fun evening with. Try to invite at least 5 or 6 friends so you get a nice assortment of decorations to exchange. If you've had a busy year, you might want to catch up on everyone's year and a smaller group will work better. Another time you might ask each friend to invite someone else so you can meet some new people.