I’m cheap. There, I said it. It’s now out there for all to see. I’m not cheap because I want to be cheap. I’m cheap because I have to be cheap. When I was married, my then-husband made OK money but we were in no way rollin’ in the dough. We lived paycheck to paycheck. I had to become creative in just about every area of my life: groceries, decorating, cleaning, dinner, etc… In some ways, I am glad I had to be creative. You’d be amazed at what I can make out of a piece of paper, glue and a piece of string!
At my “real” job, I’m in charge of decorating for events such as our monthly staff lunches and for the general decorating in the call center where I am the HR assistant/receptionist. I work for a ministry, so as you can probably surmise, I don’t have a big budget…actually I don’t even have a medium budget! I have to make centerpieces for 22 tables plus a long birthday table…for $10! That’s $10 TOTAL, not $10 per table! Did I say I can make amazing things with a piece of paper, glue and a piece of string?!?! Well, it’s true. I’ve even amazed myself sometimes with some of the centerpieces I’ve come up with! Like paper pumpkins using only paper and a piece of ribbon. Of course, no one really recognized them as being pumpkins because the only paper we had that was even close to being orange was a salmon colored paper. Once I told people what they were, they did that head nod thing where they say something like, “Oh, yes…I see it now…” When really, they’re thinking, “There is no way that is passing for a pumpkin!”. Oh, well…
Now, my budget for decorating the call center for Christmas is even less…less as in Nothing. Nada. Zippo. Zilch. We do have a tree that someone donated (THANK YOU!), but I think it was originally 2 different trees because when it gets put together, the top and bottom have lights, but the middle section is strangely void of anything that resembles a light. Well, at least we have a tree…. I just add some extra lighting and you can’t even tell the difference.
One other thing you must know is that the ministry that I work for is also a Bible College. Imagine my distress when I walked over the week before Thanksgiving and saw these amazing decorations being put up. There were trees everywhere, decorated in a fashion that would make The Broadmoor jealous; wagon wheels with greenery, lights and pinecones (pine cones?? I never know if it’s one word or two) hanging from the ceiling in all their glory, and over every doorway is a hand-cut aspen branch with pinery, cones, and ribbons cascading down them. I swear it looks like something out of a magazine. I bet they have a budget. And way more than $10….
So I walk back over to my office and look at my mismatched, half-lighted Christmas tree and want to cry. How will I ever match what is happening over there?!? I feel the creative juices flowing, and I think there is no way I can even get us in that league let alone match it, so what should I do? Well, I do what every other red-blooded American woman would do in any such situation: I open up Pinterest, and click on the “Holiday” section to see if I can get any ideas, when BAM! it hits me: I won’t try to match them, I will just do something totally different! Yea, that’s the ticket! They are having a Colorado Lodge Christmas, so we will have a Colorado Country Christmas–simple decorations, lots of pinecones (because I happen to have a HUGE bag of them, and there are tons of pine trees in the front of the property that I can just go pick up for free!) and greenery (because I know I have a bunch of those fake pine garlands at home). But what to do for decorations?! I know! I have several yards of homespun fabric in the abyss at home, so I will make some little quilted ornaments.
I gather my supplies (mostly from the abyss at home) and bring them to work last Monday. For the whole week, in between phone calls and regular work-related stuff, I cut and sewed, and cut and sewed some more. I “antiqued” some Dollar Store jingle bells to hang on the tree. I made homespun candy canes using plastic Dollar Store Candy canes and torn strips of homespun fabric. (Tomorrow I will show you how I made all these fabulous decorations!) I think I impressed my boss so much that he allowed me to order some grapevine garland that I absolutely needed to make this tree a country tree! I worked hard all week, just waiting for that grapevine garland to come in so I could decorate the tree when it came in. It finally arrived on Wednesday afternoon. I was so excited! Would this tree turn out as beautiful as I had pictured it in my mind’s eye? Ya’ know, sometimes you get this image in your head that is so glorious, and when you turn it into reality, it’s, well, let’s say it’s not quite as glorious as you imagined…as a matter of fact it is down right awful! I kept thinking “what if this turns out sad and pathetic?”.
Well, the tree turned out even better than I imagined! It is very simple, and very country. The grapevine garland just made it. I am very happy with it, and have gotten a lot of compliments on it. I wanted to sneak it out the back door and take it home with me. I took pictures with my cheap point and shoot camera so the pictures aren’t the greatest….trust me when I say it’s MUCH more beautiful in person! So, the moral of this story is that you don’t need hundreds of dollars to decorate a beautiful Christmas tree….just some ingenuity, creativity, fabric and scissors!