Reinventing and recycling for frugal yet pretty Christmas

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

EVERY Christmas I would invest a few pesos on Christmas décor but as the Yolanda mood pervades, I made a firm resolve not to shell out any expense on my desires to enhance my Christmas trimmings.

However, since this is the first Christmas of my first “apo” and although he has no notion of what these trimmings are all about, nonetheless I went all out to make our home as pretty as it could be.

The reminder of Christ’s birth and His reason of becoming Man to be our Redeemer is cause to celebrate. This is the season to be merry and with whatever I had on my cabinets, I explored my innermost creative juices and my hands went to work.

For starters, I emptied all possible hideaways where our Christmas decors have been stored.

I am a Christmas person since I was a teenager. When I became a Mom, more so. I wanted the Christmas spirit to be alive in our homes. Now as a first time grandma, the desire became more intense. But the challenge was not to spend at all.

My stint as one of the earlier manufacturers of the Association of Negros Producers focusing on children’s line and Christmas décor, mostly with bears on them, gave me something to work with. So it was going to be a very “Beary Christmas for my apo!

The scavenger hunt for all available materials within my jurisdiction unearthed many treasures. Voila! An angel which we thought has been lost has been found and now she smiles to all of us from the top of our tree.
As this was a mission for reinventing and recycling, even used wires have been put to good use.

While it takes a lot of imagination and truth be told, much energy and time, I believe I have come out with something good and quite pleasurable to look at.

In the past years, these ornaments were washed, wrapped and stored immediately after the holidays. After they are opened, they are hanged to their designated areas by my small team of helpers. Being more discriminating this time, I looked at every item and they seemed so miserable and lifeless. My Christmas tree looked like one of the coconuts trees ravaged by Yolanda. While they may still be standing, they were reed thin with branches and leaves down to its most minimal number. The components in my wreaths were hardly visible.

So taking them down, piece by piece, as I unraveled each branch and vine and slowly, I discovered the beauty that was underneath these leaves. It was painstaking. Ribbons, which looked like they deserved to be in the garbage bin were dusted and rinsed. I am quite happy that these ribbons have enhanced the wreath that encircles my Sacred Heart image.

The wreath on my front door looks more attractive and welcoming with the red, gold and silver balls now free of grime and retouched with “Merry Christmas bags” which were hanging in my tree the past year. This adds a cheery welcome to guests.

Over the threshold, a large bear done by my sewers a good 20-25 years ago, greets you with a Welcome salutation. This was a piece of cloth we quilted and framed and it sets the mood perfectly for a comfortable entrance.

The centerpieces in our dining room area needed little embellishment. These have been put together by our very innovative Nana who has been with us for the past 40 years and she is a whiz in enhancing with flowers and trims.

Part of my bear collection is a white bear given to me as a gift. I propped it on the balustrade of our entrance. He makes his appearance for the first time.

As my company then was Bear Essence, as the name connotes, everything had practically a bear in it. I am so proud that the throw pillows we did are still as sturdy as the day they were made. Even the bear Christmas hangings are as cutesy as ever. Quality must always precede quantity. So 20-25 years hence, they seem to be aging gracefully.

My Christmas tree is always my grand finale. Nana wanted less hangings so it was the bears for coordinated look. We had to fatten our tree which sad to say looked deprived and slim. It was a matter of extending its branches. Now she looks healthier and happier with giant ribbons which I have kept in storage for the longest time!

As nothing is left to chance, whatever remains from the ribbons, vines and ornaments are all put to good use titivating jars, lamps and corners.
What I discovered from preserving lanterns is that you do not keep them in enclosed bodegas otherwise they become staple for rats. You are just left with the bamboo sticks that frame them. Keep them in a more open space. What a joy that this year, I have them to dress up my terrace.
Still on being frugal, to wrap my small gifts, I recycled old soap and computer ink containers. As neatly as I could muster, I turned them over and used the flipside.

Creating Christmas joy for Christ’s coming starts in our homes. It need not be expensive if we just know how to reinvent and recycle what we have! All you need is to keep those imaginative juices flowing, with some of your time and a lot of energy!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 12, 2013.


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