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  1. #1
    Deal GURU Jane's Avatar
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    Default Have a $2 Christmas

    Decorate for Christmas when you're beyond broke
    Ever find yourself short of cash and the holidays coming up? I mean short as in... having none? Don't give up! Take heart and make a real Christmas anyway!
    Christmas (or any other holiday) always seems better when you can look around you and see the evidence of it, so the first step is to decorate! Whether it's your house, apartment or car, do something to make it look like Christmas.

    Penny Decorations

    First, grab a pair of scissors (or razor blade or very sharp knife) and a newspaper. Beg one that someone's through reading if you don't have one, or pick it up from the trash. Don't buy it for this project, and get two or three if you can.

    This time of year there are plenty of Christmas advertisements, which means lots of Christmas pictures - Santa, reindeer, tree ornaments, candles - cut them out carefully and make a scene or just scatter them around.

    Use 'scotch' tape or clay or putty to put them on a wall, or tack up a sheet of paper or a piece of cloth (kitchen towel, or pillowcase, etc), and pin, tack or sew them on.
    Using the pages with ads and bright colors, make an old fashioned chain. No glue? Use eggwhite. Or flour and paste glue (just mix a few drops of water with a tablespoon of flour and cook for a minute). To make your chain unique, make the loops tiny and/or use egg white to glue salt or sugar to them to make them glitter, or just brush on eggwhite and let it dry, to make them reflect the light. Make this as long as you can and drape over doorways or windows, or use for tree decoration.

    Oops.. no tree? No problem

    Stick a broomstick in a bucket of sand and drape a green.. towel, bedspread or what-have-you over it. Pin decorations on.

    Get your hands on a sheet of heavy paper or pasteboard and make a cone shape from it. Color, paint or wish it green, (or pink if you'd rather) then cover it with small decorations and a star.

    Use a houseplant, preferably one in a bushy or upright shape. Decorate with small items.

    Make a tree from cardboard, large or small, depending on what you have. Draw the shape of a tree (doesn't have to be perfect) and cut it out, then use that as a pattern for three to five more. Cut deep slits in the top of each to set them together. Trim to shape when you're finished.

    The idea is to find something, (and it could be almost anything) green or otherwise that will lend itself to the right shape. It can be as funky or as dramatic as you like.

    Make a star for the top from cardboard, and cover it with aluminum foil or melted wax or bits of broken tinsel, or all three. Glue a piece across the back so you can set it on the tree.

    Remember the old 'paper lace doilies' we used to make by the dozens? Make a fancy version by using salvaged or saved foil or other material like cellophane. Cut it into small squares, then fold over first one way then the other. Cut swirls, squares, triangles (upside down ones, too) and any other shape you like from all four sides, being careful not to cut too deeply. When you've got it all cut out, unfold carefully. Tie a thread at the upper center for hanging.

    Cut balls, bells, stars, gingerbread men or whatever you can think of, from the newspaper, magazines or pasteboard (like cereal boxes) and hang with thread, yarn, paper clips, or hooks cut from the pasteboard. Or just set them on the branches if you have a 'real' tree.

    Round up everything red, green, silver, and gold that you own and display it somehow in one room or area, and it will take on a Christmas look.

    Fifty Cent Decorations

    Go to the Salvation Army or Goodwill and have a look, but not just at Christmas decorations. They sometimes have costume jewelry for a quarter or fifty cents. Get the biggest gaudiest necklace or necklaces you can find and use the chain (or beaded length) for your tree. Use the rest to decorate the tree, too.

    Bend a piece of light wire into a bell or star or other shape, and fill with beads. Make your own homemade beads. Cut a strip of newspaper and roll it tightly onto a toothpick or large needle. Coat it with glue and slip it off the toothpick. Let it dry. You can get pretty creative with this if you practice a little.

    Use a cereal box to make a magazine holder. Just cut one side out at a slant from top to bottom and cover the whole thing with material, paper, or make a decoupage from (again) newspaper pictures. Paste them over each other to completely cover the box, then cover with eggwhite.

    Make fancy gift IOU's for babysitting, housecleaning, errand running, anything you can do that someone would appreciate. Use plain paper and dress it up with anything - sketches, drawings, pictures, patterns - leaving an area to write 'I.O.U. .. and whatever you're going to offer.

    Fifty cent gifts:

    Got some rice, beans, wheat, peas, dried corn?(NOT popcorn) Make a hotpad with whatever material you have on hand. Cut a piece twice as long as you want the pad, and sew it together inside out to make a flat bag.


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    Put the rice or whatever in it and sew the end closed. Presto. Warm it in a slow oven or microwave and it will hold the heat for a long time.
    Make a wreath, either circular, or heartshaped by cutting the shape from pasteboard then covering it completely with anything you have at hand - pasta, dried grass, bits of ribbon, artificial flowers, bows made of yarn... let your imagination run on this one. This is a great gift even if you have money!

    If you have some material around, make a nice basket by cutting lengths and braiding them together, then sewing the strip to itself in a circle beginning at the center bottom. To fasten the strip together, lace it as you would shoestrings. Lay the braid flat and begin coiling into a flat piece until the bottom is as large as you want your basket to be. Place the braid on top of the last finished round and lace into place. Stand the braid on edge when you make the transition from the bottom to the sides.

    Lip balm makes a nifty small gift. Make it and put it in a pretty (used) container. To 1/8 cup of paraffin which has been melted in a double boiler, (carefully, paraffin is flammable) simply add 1/4 cup of petroleum jelly. Mix thoroughly and pour into small containers to cool. You can add flavor extracts (vanilla is fine) if you like.

    Yes, you can have Christmas for a couple of dollars, plus some courage and a little creative thought. Go ahead, make the most of it.


    http://frugalliving. about.com /cs/christmas /a/2dollar _2.htm
    I'm a Freak!


  2. #2
    Frugal Goddess faxonfive's Avatar
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    Now that is what I call Frugal. These are some really great ideas!!
    Tragedy, sadness, loneliness and despair taught me that life is really a beautiful thing; if it wasn't I wouldn't be able to recognize that anything was wrong - Lynn in Virginia

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  4. #3
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    Wow, great ideas! Thanks.

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  6. #4
    Budget101 Done Digging Janice Terrell's Avatar
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    It's rather humbling, isn't it? Does anyone ever string popcorn or cranberries any more? Very cheap and festive. Could be done as a family night event with everyone taking part.

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  8. #5
    Deal GURU rtebalt's Avatar
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    I've tried since my husband and I got married (which was only 3 Christmases ago ) to talk him into stringing popcorn & cranberries! So far, no luck .

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    Budget101 Guru fosterfamily5's Avatar
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    My kids and I make popcorn & cranberry stings for out tree every year. We put on some christmas movies and have at it. I'll admit I make most of the strings but every one has fun and our tree wouldn't be the same without them. Last year we made snowflakes out of coffee filters and strung them all over the house. Have you ever seen the movie elf?

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  12. #7
    Budget101 Done Digging Janice Terrell's Avatar
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    I have seen the movie "ELF". Don't you wonder how a grown man can do that stuff?! Trees decorated like this are really specially for the children. They look at their tree and think "We did this". That's the kind of memories I like to have. You can also save old Christmas cards, cut out the pictures, punch a hole at the top and hang with ribbon, or string or whatever you have.

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    Mod Squad wilbe95's Avatar
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    We string the popcorn and oranges, apples, and then hang them on the tree outside for the birds and rabbits to eat on. I think if we hung them on the tree inside the cat would destroy the troy. Does double duty outside, makes it pretty to see when we come and go and it is a great way to feed the birds.

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