Last Minute Holiday Touches on the Cheap!

by Kathleen Wilson

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Last minute details can take a holiday home from ho ho hum to spectacular, and doesn't have to cost a lot of cash! Here are some great quick, easy, and inexpensive ideas to wow your guests and comfort your family.

  • Use those leftover bits of wrapping paper and a hole punch to make confetti. (Great job for the kids!) Use the colorful confetti to sprinkle across holiday tables for festive cheer, or save for that midnight moment!
  • Invest in a large roll of wire edged ribbon in gold or silver, so that it can be used for all holidays right into New Years. Learn to tie fanciful bows, or just tie a simple bow to the backs of dining chairs, around stemware, or around your silverware. Let it ribbon through holiday centerpieces, over mantels, or stream it across doorways. Click here to learn to tie several different bows!
  • Use graham crackers, a little frosting, and cookies and candies from the dollar or discount store to create a wonderful Gingerbread House centerpiece in no time! This is one of those projects that make memories, so bring the kids to the table, make a replica of your own home, or make replicas of friends' homes and give as gifts. The best frosting to use is a stiff one, with no ingredients that will spoil. Remember that you can color some frosting to make grass and trees.
  • Have your children pitch in with holiday decorating, and ask them if they have any toys that would like to watch for Santa. Tie ribbon around the neck of a teddy and tuck onto the mantle or use wooden blocks to spell out Christmas words or sayings. Create a toy wonderland from your own "backyard" so to speak.
  • Drop by your dollar store and pick up some Christmas wrapping paper. (Yes, it is just a buck!) Wrap some of the pictures from your walls like gifts, add a bow, and then re-hang. I like to do this just in the entryway for more impact using fewer dollars. You could also "wrap" your front door or window with a bow, ribbon, and some packing tape.
  • Cut simple holiday shapes out of paper or felt and then hang with thread from curtain rods, hanging lamps, doorways or over the outside of a lampshade. Try your hand at paper snowflakes and hang them in groups in your windows.
  • Stamp holiday shapes on your glass windows with craft paint. Mix acrylic paint with an equal amount of dishwashing liquid soap, then use to stamp snowflakes, stockings, and Santa on the inside of your windows. After the holidays, it will clean right off with window cleaner and a non-abrasive scrub pad. (I mean the kind that is safe for non-stick cookware, so that it doesn't scratch your windows.)
  • Finally, light those candles, and bring the sparkle of the holidays right to your table each and every night. Don't wait for company! Enjoy the joy of the season.

Kathy Wilson is a home and garden writer, author and consultant and is the home decorating expert for Visit her for more home and garden ideas at and

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