Christmas tree on a budget

Christmas is my favourite celebration. My parents emigrated from Europe and brought Christmas traditions with them that we still use. Each year our tree has a theme depending on what has occurred in our family that year. When our sons got married we had a beautiful all white tree both years. When our first granddaughter was born we again used white and added a furry trim and soft feathery pendants from Ikea. For our next granddaughter we had a pink tree and then blue for our first grandson and so on. For the first time we had a new granddaughter and grandson this year so our tree is decked in soft pinks and blues with white and iredescent ribbon and other trim.

This is actually not as much work or as expensive as it sounds. I took our white ornaments and used paint and glitter nail polish from the dollar store to create "new" blue and pink ornaments. I like to buy wide ribbon from the dollar store or Michaels to quickly add shimmer and fill out the tree. Dollar store sticker letters were used to create words and monograms on the ornaments. I also painted some blue and pink and added glitter glue to give them some shimmer. I used my mom's vintage white tablecloth as the tree skirt. My mother loved Christmas and always made it very special for us in spite of a very limited budget. Now that she's gone I like to use some of her things to invoke sweet memories. For the wrapping paper I used white paper from Michaels($2 a roll). In a shallow dish add dish soap to some water. Add paint colour of your choice. Use an oversize straw to blow large bubbles across the entire surface. Gently press paper across the bubbles. You will need to blow the bubbles again for each time you make a print. You can also use potatoes and cut them in half and draw and carve out a shape to print the paper with stars or hearts. Use glitter glue to add some sparkle. Another idea is to dip the ends of toilet paper rolls into glitter paint to create a pattern on the paper. This can be done with white, silver or gold on coloured paper. This activity is great for elementary aged students but preschoolers enjoy it too.

For the gift tags I printed photos of the grandchildren so that our three year old grandson and granddaughter can help hand out the gifts. I mounted the photos on shapes cut from wrapping paper with fancy scissors to create a beautiful edge. I also used dollar store sticker letters so our five year olds can give out some gifts. Then I created tags with names for our 7 year old who can read them and then hand them out. I can't wait to see them proudly hand out gifts to their family members.

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