THRIFTY: Christmas Decorating on the Cheap (and one expensive one)

My two favorite holidays are Christmas and Halloween, and I love decorating for both equally. Especially over the past five years since we've had the girls in our lives, it's become increasingly fun and important to create a festive home for the holidays. As a young family, we are still adding to our arsenal of tchotkes, especially since someone has a lot of fun doing it and is a compulsive thrift shopper. (Ahhem.) Anyhow, I try to be selective about what we collect for the holidays, and I tend to focus on vintage and handmade items. And let me tell you, right now the thrift shops are ripe with goodies.

I just scored this handmade plush JOY sign from a new little local treasure of a thrift shop I just discovered. It was 50cents and is a a perfect, whimsical addition to my girls' room.

I got this pink and red tinsel tree at a yard sale for a couple of bucks in Minneapolis years ago. The vintage tree topper was a recent score for, again, 50 cents. The color combos match perfectly, and pink is one of my favorite colors ever. It sits atop our guest bathroom counter.

Since Lucy is in kindergarten this year, her craft and art making skills have not only improved but have become something she really enjoys. We find it important to showcase her work around the house. One cold, gray afternoon she and I made paper snowflakes adorned with lots of glitter, of course, which we both love. We strung them on yarn and hung them in the dining room window. She loves seeing them when we drive up from outside and the glitter shimmers in the sun when it's shining.

Instead of purchasing a door swag or wreath this year I made my own from tree trimmings, a recycled wire bow and some pine cones I found. It turned out cute and is way cheaper than spending $15-$25 on one at the grocery store.

Some of our holiday decorations have come in the form of gifts. My stepmom got me a set of these light up twigs after I was admiring hers. I found the large glass base at a thrift store and pulled the other twigs and rocks from my yard. The glitter leaves are from the dollar store and the cute beaded initial ornaments were this year's gift from my fabulously crafty sister-in-law Crystal. It's hard to tell from this photo, but it is a really cute and fun little display on our bookshelf in the living room.

But this has got to be the piece de resistance of my Christmas decorations: behold Elvis Presley's Graceland. All decked out for the holidays just like Elvis did it back in the day. I am a huge fan of The King, so much so that we spent our honeymoon in Memphis. And it just so happened that the year we got married and visited Graceland for the first time, in 2000, was also the year that Department 56 released this limited edition beauty. My new mother-in-law, a Department 56 junkie, found out and bought it for us as a wedding gift. And as you can see, it wasn't cheap. The house lights up, and with the pink Cadillac in the drive, you can almost feel that Elvis is in there shootin' up a TV while his Mama is in the kitchen fryin' up a peanut and banana sandwich for her boy. And sweet Priscilla is probably swiggin' on her secret bottle of brandy while applying her black cat eye makeup in the bathroom. The tree lights blink and the "Merry Christmas to All, Elvis" sign strung between two trees is an authentic little replica of the original.
So, I love me some Christmas decor and the cheaper and kitschier, the better. And if I ever become one of those people who install the flag post on the outside of their house, you can bet this will be added to my arsenal that year.