Radha Prathi explains how articles and accessories available at home, can be used to create an economic, yet, new look for Christmas.
Recession or not, month end or year end, money crunch can do nothing to dampen the Christmas spirit unless you will it to be otherwise. The season’s spirit can be expressed in many different ways. For instance, sprucing up your home could be one of them, especially if you happen to do it yourself.
All of you at home, no matter to which age group you may belong, can see through this process with a little planning and co-operation. This thrifty move will work on family bonding, will go easy on your purse and will give you a better understanding of the place you live in, and the people around you.
Using the occasion
It is said “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. Use the occasion to spring-clean your home, room by room, till it is spic and span. First of all, take stock of all the items in a given room and decide what you need to retain and what you could give away or trash.
Then clear the place of cobwebs, dust and insects. If you have cupboards and shelves with metal or wooden interiors, you could give them a fresh coat of paint, laced with insecticide. Feng shui and Vaasthu Shaastra also emphasise on this facet. You could always give away the things you no longer need, to the ones who can put the same to good use.
If you are clumsy with hammers and nails, then do not be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Avail the help of a professional mason or a carpenter to set right the little anomalies around the home, and also to fix nails and accessories like magazine stands, mirrors or little shelves that have to be fixed on to the walls.
Allotting the right space
Once your entire home is cleaned up, begin your Christmas décor. The size of your home should not prove to be an obstacle to your endeavour. If you have a large home, allocate a room for Christmas décor, but if you happen to be living in very small quarters, apportion a part of a room or living space for the décor.
Free the area of furniture and the usual items of décor that highlight the place, in order to make a remarkable difference when the place is done up for the occasion.
Decorating with saris
Once the Christmas spot has been decided, check the walls and the windows of that place. It should not matter if they appear a little faded or old. Look upon them as an opportunity to implement your creativity. Bring out some colourful lightweight synthetic saris from your wardrobe. Use your elementary needlework skills and attach three or four saris with a running stitch, from end to end, so that you have a good length of fabric with a good contrasting colour scheme. The length can be increased or decreased according to your requirement. Fix vacuum holders in zigzag points with an approximate distance of two feet along the walls of the decided Christmas area, at least eight feet above the ground. Then pleat the sari length wise and pass the pleated sari at even intervals over these fixtures and clip them on with a clothes pin to keep them in place. You could tie blown balloons or pin multi coloured tassels at strategic points on the curtain. Once the walls are draped with waves of bright and beautiful fabric, you can be rest assured that you have set the stage for the rest of the decoration.
Bring out your potted plants. If the pots appear old and mossy, apply a coat of white or red lime, to give them a facelift and line them along the wall at equal distance to give a green, eco-friendly touch to your decor. Since the pots are likely to be indoors for at least a week or so, you will do well to place them on terracotta plates so they do not soil your floor when they are watered. You can place the flower bouquets you receive during the festive season in the intervals, to brighten the area. Just in case you do not plan to have a Christmas tree, you could weave the glittering ribbons or serial electric bulbs over these plants. If you do not have many or any potted plants, do not lose sleep over it you can always buy some of them from a nearby nursery or from the plant vendors who are constantly strolling around the city, selling their wares from push carts. After all, Christmas is a season for ringing in the new and you will be appreciated for ushering some greenery into your home.
Place your Christmas tree amidst this setting and decorate it with festoons and little bells or wind chimes. Though readymade synthetic trees are available in the market, which can be dismantled and used again in the following year, it is preferable to buy a real live potted tree. You can plant it in your own garden or gift it to someone who has a garden.
Flower arrangements can enhance the loveliness of the area. Since Christmas decorations will have to last for a week or ten days, make sure you buy more of longer lasting flowers like Chrysanthemums, Rajnigandha, Zerberas Zinnias or Lavenders, apart from the regular roses and your favourite flowers. Make sure you replace or remove the wilting flowers on a daily basis, otherwise they are likely to spoil the show.
If you plan to have a crib, then place the Christmas tree towards a corner and spread the hay on a low divan or a mat as the stage for the crib. The divine scene of the birth of Christ in a cattle shed in Bethlehem, can be spread on the segment of the floor covered with hay. Place lighted candles in candle stands randomly or set them afloat in large earthen bowls, to give that ethereal look with relative safety.
You will realise that one could still have a wonderful Christmas with minimum expenditure and maximum involvement, which will not only make your Christmas merry but can pave way to an organised, healthy and happy new year which lies ahead of you.