I was trying to do some research on decorating for holidays. It was amazing to me that no matter what I used to search, whatever term or terms – all I kept getting information on was decorating for Christmas. Now that’s all fine and good, but I do like to decorate my home for other holidays as well.
Of course, my favorite go to place for decorations is Dollar Tree. Going as soon as possible after they put the items out for a certain holiday will ensure that you will get a good choice. I went right after Christmas. Believe it or not, they had both Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Day decorations on the shelves already. Between both holidays, I walked out of there with four bags, and I barely spent $20. I got two vases with hearts, several stems of fake flowers, little wooden decorations, 30 paper doilies (in both hearts and shamrocks – these are the perfect few I can put in our front window and have it look good – for cheap) and a few of those bead-like necklaces. You know, the ones they throw in New Orleans. They look great spread around the tray I have on our coffee table.
The stems of flowers (in red and pink, and then in green and white) are stuck inside the hard wicker wreaths we have on our outside doors. They are very simple but it shows that we celebrate these holidays here.
Another decorating idea I have had for a long time is dressing up stuffed animals. This was easier when my kids were small, but I found another way. Being the great thrift store shopper I am, I was surprised to find that stuffed animals are very reasonably priced there. Recently, the one store I go to was having a sale – three (of any size) for a dollar. I bought six of them. I got a chick, a plain teddy bear, one pastel blue and one pastel pink bunny rabbit, a St. Patrick’s Day teddy bear, and an Irish looking frog. I will continue to look for more plain types, because for the more patriotic holidays, all I will need to do to dress them is put a big red, white or blue around their necks. Even though no one will be cuddling these items, I still ran them through my washing machine on a gentle cycle. This way, they’ll get more clean if they look a slight bit dingy. And if they fall apart (even though mine never have), what did you lose? Not a whole lot of money.’
I have always said that balloons make a celebration. Now I realize that balloons don’t last forever, but they do last for a few days. If you are having a celebration, say for Valentine’s Day – balloons around the place, here and there – it makes things look festive. I usually have a package or two of balloons – if you don’t, get a few – I try to get the ten or twelve count package (in decent sizes, not those tiny ones). So in an assorted package, blow up red and white ones for Valentine’s Day. When St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, you can use all the green ones. Easter will come, and if there are purple, yellow and orange – there you go. For the patriotic holidays, you can use red, blue and white. It probably would make sense to have a few packages on hand – depending on how much you plan on decorating. We are having a small party here right after Valentine’s Day, so since our bottom floor is where everyone will be (and we only have three rooms down here) I’ll have a few in each room.
If you’re using disposable paper goods, get one package of plain, solid color plates – say, red. Do the same with the disposable cutlery – one package of your color. Cups, napkins – the same thing. And then get white plates, white napkins, clear or white cups – and arrange them, alternating the colors. Trust me, you can have a very attractive set up this way. You don’t have to spend a fortune to make your table look good.
Another tip I learned (or realized) way long ago when I was an aide in my son’s preschool classroom is that color really does matter. It can be as simple as serving a lot of things that are red for Valentine’s. Dyeing vanilla frosting green and using green sprinkles for St. Patty’s Day cupcakes. For Easter, frost your cupcakes with vanilla and put three jelly beans on top of each. Or even make a sheet cake, and go crazy with jelly beans – all over, or just in the corners. It is totally up to you.
My last tip for decorating, for parties and holidays? Take pictures. And print them out, and display them. Nothing makes you feel better than smiling about a fun time you’ve had…