Home & Garden

Keep some green this holiday season by using what you already have

Looking for ways to add seasonal cheer to your decor without breaking the budget?

Fancy figurines, snazzy table runners and glittering ornaments are festive but pricy. Holiday greens and floral arrangements also can take their toll on the wallet.

So before heading to the florist or store, take stock of what you already own. Check the yard for decorative branches, greenery and berries. Go through the basement, attic and garage. Bring out any decorations you already have.

Check the china cabinet, closets and the shelf where you store the good china. Pull out all the bling you can find. This is the sparkly season, after all.

Finally, head for the kitchen. Nuts, citrus fruits, cinnamon sticks -- they're all traditional seasonal decorations as well as snacks and ingredients for holiday dishes.

Put everything in one place and start mixing and matching. Sometimes all you need are new candles, a different bow, a can of spray paint and some glitter to make what you already have look like new again.

To get started, here are some ideas for inexpensive holiday decorations using something already on hand, a bit of something new and lots of creativity:

-- Make an instant centerpiece with a clear glass candle holder, bowl or vase. Fill the container three-quarters full with fresh cranberries, add water and tuck the stems of cut flowers down among the berries. Change the water daily or as needed and discard the berries when they become soft, which can range from a few days to about a week.

-- A twig tree is an easy and inexpensive way to perk up an entryway. Trim a thin branch from a tree or shrub, set it in a ceramic pitcher and add enough small stones to anchor it upright. Hang tiny glass ornaments off the branches.

-- Pears gilded with gold, silver or copper leaf add glamour and sparkle to any table or decor. Gilding kits are available at craft and art supply stores. Or buy sizing, the metal leaf, a small brush and fresh pears. Working over wax paper, paint the pears with sizing and allow to dry. Lay a sheet of the metallic leaf on the pear and rub it on with a soft cloth.

-- Perk up your throw pillows. Purchase inexpensive fabric in bright holiday colors and cut it in squares and rectangles large enough to cover the pillow. Wrap the pillow in the fabric and, using safety pins, fasten the cut ends of the fabric on the back side.

-- Create festive topiaries using Styrofoam forms. Nuts and candies (like red and white peppermint drops) can be fastened on using a glue gun. To attach fresh cranberries, break wooden toothpicks in half, push part into the Styrofoam and spear the berry on the other end.

-- Create an ornament "garden" for a table or windowsill. Take lots of different sizes and shapes of clear glass containers, fill with round ornaments and display them all together down the center of your dining table, on a windowsill or a buffet table.

-- For a quick "candlescape," set pillar candles of varying heights and widths, all of the same color, on a footed cake plate. Add a few sprigs of greenery and some berries.

* Loretto J. Hulse: 509-582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com.