By Susan Dunn, MA, Personal Life & EQ Coach
Fall is harvest time so take advantage of the bounty of nature. It's Thanksgiving time, so take advantage of the generosity of others. Some clever hunting and gathering can help you save time and money and still have a festively decorated home for the holidays.
1. Gather branches, leaves, seed pods, pine cones, acorns and anything else from your yard that fits with the fall color scheme.
Even without a glue gun you can arrange attractive centerpieces and mantel displays.
2. Visit the produce department of your grocery and pick vegetables that suit your color scheme.
Squashes come in all colors, shapes and sizes and last a long time unrefrigerated. Pumpkins may be reduced after Halloween and work well. Arrange them in groups, alone, or around the greenery.
3. Check out your garden for what's in bloom.
Lucky you if you have chrysanthemums, but many other things will do if you'll take a second look.
4. Cheap tip for a real glow? Buy a fair-sized mirror at the dollar store or thrift shop, place it on your dining room table, buffet or any low table (you have to be able to see the reflection) and cover it with tea lights or candles. Beautiful!
5. Get accent pieces from your local Goodwill store and thrift shops.
People donate the most amazing holiday decorations that can be yours for pennies. I've found everything - hand towels, wreaths, pillows, dressed stuffed animals, wall pictures, bedspreads, water globes, statuettes and serving pieces.
6. Change out your lamp shades.
Check out the lamp shade selection at Goodwill and buy some to fit your color scheme, or simply in darker shades to cozy up the house. It only takes a minute to change them. Just make sure before you go to check how your lamp shades attach and match them.
7. Don't forget to check out the holiday picture frames at the resale shop or garage sales.
You could move a favorite photo to a holiday frame and place that somewhere prominent. Neat if you use photos from former holidays, like when the kids were little, or your grandparents were still alive. Also look over the prints at garage sales and bargain stores with an eye toward the frames. You can throw out the print!
8. If you have a neutral couch with pillows, shop the bargain stores for accent pillows in fall colors, or change them all to the thematic color. Slipcovers are also a possibility.
9. Let the children make some decorations.
Some suggestions: Painting Thanksgiving pictures you then frame and hang on the walls or use for placemats. Cutting out leaves in fall colors to place around the centerpiece, scatter across the front door step to welcome guests, or pin to curtains. Given them clay or play-doh and let them fashion pilgrims, turkeys, leaves, or fruits.
10. Don't forget yourself!
Most thrift stores set up displays of holiday apparel you'll want to take advantage of for you and the kids. (And the most beautiful hostess is the one who is rested and enjoying the event herself, so take care of yourself and use your EQ skills.)
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