Simple, Hand-Me-Down Decorating for Christmas

I love Christmas, I love how people decorate for it, I love the parties that are planned, the opportunities to dress up, the food, the thought put into gifts that people get, the music. Heck, I even like the Christmas Eve service with the candlelight singing of Silent Night, and I don’t go to church.

Most of my decorations have been passed on to me from my mother. She has been reducing the amount of Christmas decorating she does. Which makes sense, because she used to do the most. We each had a tree in our bedrooms, we had “the big tree” in our living room, the “farm tree”, normally in the office or dining room with all the animal and tractor ornaments, and a “kitchen tree”, a little, couple foot tree, on the counter with cooking and kitchen ornaments. She also had a large collection of Santa and snowmen figurines, a Christmas village, garlands, a star on the barn, and probably more that I can’t think of. Anyways, she used to do a lot. So I’m pretty sure that the tree I now have used to be the farm tree, the lights were hers, my Santas were hers, etc. That’s one of my other favourite things about Christmas is the traditions, so it’s nice to see things that I grew up with still part of my Christmas decorations now.

These are two of the Santas that I got from my Mom, that I don’t remember a Christmas without them, she’s had them as long as I can remember. I don’t have that many surfaces or bits of furniture to display things on, so I set these on the window sill. This is one of the things I really like about this apartment, it has nice deep window sills.

This is my favourite Santa my mom ever had. I remember when she got it in Tennessee, I believe it was from this store in Paris called Najie’s, it was our favourite gift shop when we lived there. He’s actually a cookie jar, and although he doesn’t suit this bookcase, I always like to make sure that he is in pride of place.

I got this wreath at Michael’s in 2016, I couldn’t afford it at the time, but I was having friends over for a Christmas cookie swap and didn’t own any Christmas decorations at the time. My parents lived in a bigger house at the time and still used more decorations, so I hadn’t “inherited” my hand-me-downs yet. And because I was hosting a Christmas thing I felt that I had to have decorations, so I bought this instead of groceries that week. But I’ve hung it every year since.

This year I made these “gingerbread men” ornaments. They are basically permanent, we made some with my mom years ago. I said in a video that it was about 15 years, but I am now wondering if it was closer to 20 years ago. And we still have them. A couple have broken, but they are still around!

They’re also super easy to make, 1 cup cinnamon, about half a cup of applesauce, and a quarter cup of glue. Mix until combined, then knead to fully integrate the ingredients (and rinse your glue measuring cup!). Roll out to 1/4″-1/3″ inch thick and cut into your desired shape. And if you want to hang them make sure you use a straw to poke your holes before you bake them. Don’t be like me and remember an hour into baking that you need to poke holes in them. Then bake at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours.

They smell amazing, but I think they were almost too spicy for me lol, I sneezed the whole time they were baking. Also, do not eat these. There is literal glue in them.

I then cut strips of ribbon, burned the ends to prevent fraying (one of the most useful things I learned as a sorority girl in the Bow Era of 2013-2015), and created a loop to hang them from my tree.

I always have a couple extra strings of lights after I decorate my tree. And I have three strings of lights that are the same shade of light and then two that are a slightly different shade of light. So I’ve taken to draping those over windows for three Christmases now. It makes my bedroom and work-from-home cave feel so cozy. I also love my needlepoint wall with the extra lights from over my desk. I kind of want to leave these up year-round. But I don’t like the thick green cord, so I might look into other options.

And my tree. I did an ornament tour on my Instagram (@LauraCaeris) at the request of my friend Brittany. It was fun! I have my bedside table stacked on top of my side table and use my J. Crew scarf as a tree skirt! I am thinking about getting one of those skinny trees next year, so that it could go down to the floor. But I also have this set up because Montana chews on it and that makes him throw up.

And then this is a favourite. It’s really greens and I think I’ll have to replace them next year. I got the wreath from Blooms and Flora in Guelph, Ontario last year and then tied it to this frame that I found in the basement vintage store of the Pale Blue Dot in Hamilton to be able to hang it in a renter friendly way. I have this in my bathroom and I love it.

That’s all of my Christmas decorations! I keep it pretty simple, I also don’t have space for much more and so far I still go to my parents’ every year for Christmas so I’ve never actually been in my apartment on the day, but it’s nice to have something up. It makes it feel more like the holidays. I’m still planning on doing a dried orange garland for over my kitchen window, although I know I’m starting to cut it close. They’re one of my favourite decorations. And if you use a natural fibre to make your garland you can choose to either keep it and use it again next year or compost it, if you don’t want to store it!

Are you decorating for the holidays? If you feel like posting and sharing, either leave it in the comments, or tag me on Insta in your posts!


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