& With Creativity this Holiday Season By Sandy Sandler

"do it yourself holiday centerpiece"I know that not everyone was born with a creative gene. If you are creatively challenged, I have some easy tips and crafts to help you “Deck the Halls” this season – and they’re budget-friendly, too! So, get over the fact that you are don’t have a creative bone in your body and get some family and friends involved in some holiday cheer.

Mr. & Mrs. Reindeer Apples: Red apples are a versatile decorating item for the holidays. Some brown pipe cleaners and some candy canes will quickly turn the apples into adorable and fun reindeer. This craft is so fun for children and can be given as gifts to teachers, neighbors, or children’s classroom friends.

Beaded Pinecones: Collect pinecones during the fall on your nature walk; get the children involved and see how many they can find. Thread some beads and eclectic thread onto some wire and wrap them in between the scales on the pinecone. You can also attach a bow atop the pinecone.

For placement, tie some string onto the pinecone and into a loop to create a hanger and display it in the window. Or you could decorate the Christmas tree with them, turning them into frugal, natural and green ornaments, too.

Frugal & Green Holiday Table Decorating: A holiday table can be spiced up with items from the local farmers market or simply from around your home, yard, and garden. Gather items from your home like recycled glass containers, pinecones, candles and extra tree ornaments that no longer fit on the tree. The local farmers market is fun! You can purchase dried wheat bundles, gourds, and fruits to brighten up a few bowls.

With the gourd, you can cut a whole and insert a tea light candle. Top the gourd with floral picks or a bow made with your Mini Bowdabra. Grab a large mason jar and simply add the dried wheat to it for a fall and winter decoration.

Use the recycled glass jars to make a new candle by adding the tea light candles or a decorative piece with ornaments.

Simple Table Decoration: Place some of those extra ornaments that are left over after decorating the tree into a punch bowl and place it in the middle of the table as an inexpensive centerpiece. You can add to the centerpiece by setting glass beads topped with tapered candles inside of small glass jars.

Large Vase Filled with Ornaments: Large vases are eye catching when they are filled with ornaments. Allow the kids to carefully choose the ornaments and help you add them.

Nature Walk Centerpiece: Take the kids for a nature walk and ask them to select handfuls of thin sticks that are two to three feet long. Splatter the sticks with a variety of paint colors. Once the sticks are dry, fill a mason jar with popcorn kernels and place the sticks into the kernels.

The sticks are held up by the kernels, which add even more fun color to the display.

The idea of this season, during the current economic downturn, is to spend time with family while simultaneously saving money. What ideas can you come up with to decorate on a budget? Kids have excellent imaginations if you just start the ball rolling, so get out the craft supplies and let them do the creative thinking.

For more creative ideas, visit www.C4K555.org to download free projects at Crafters 4 Kids.

Sandy Sandler is founder of non-profit Crafters 4 Kids and creator of the QVC best-seller, the Bowdabra. Her frugal craft projects and activity ideas are designed to transform the creatively-challenged into creative pros. Sandy’s focus is on creative and easy projects that parents can do with their kids and that kids can even do on their own that are both frugal and green in nature. Crafters 4 Kids focuses on projects that can be done under 5 minutes and under $5. Visit www.C4K555.org

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