The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Holiday decorations for small spaces

Boughs of holly

I used to love Christmas trees, but somewhere during the move to the farm, I lost the impulse to put one up.  Mostly, it's just a matter of not having space inside for a big decoration, but Sarah's recent post reminded me that ornamentation doesn't have to take up much (or any) room.

"Do we have any Christmas-tree lights in the barn?" I asked Mark.  Upon hearing that we didn't, I instead headed out into the woods with some clippers in search of pine boughs.  The pine branches were all too high to reach, but young holly and hemlock trees were pushing up toward the canopy as part of the forest's middle age.  A bit of green embroidery thread and a red ribbon I'd tucked away in that embroidery bag turned the greenery into a garland around the base of our jam shelf.

I was surprised at how much the bit of greenery brightened my day.  I'll bet that's why we started bringing in Christmas trees in the first place.  What's your favorite space-saving, low-cost holiday ornamentation?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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A magical Solstice cedar tree at Bristol, Tn's nature Center has pressed Queen Anne's lace flower heads as snowflakes! Cut out paper snowflakes to put around here and there. Candles are part of the reason to look for light in this season. You can put a vase of greens in water, too, for the wonderful fragrance. The music part is also a brightener--Solstice and carol tapes, even just the words, to sing:) And the Christmas cookies-- cut-out reindeer, stars, etc. Forget the commercialization. That is, forget the electric lights! Remember little things from what your teachers did...

Comment by adrianne Fri Dec 13 07:41:38 2013
My grandmother always took us into the woods on her farm to gather running cedar and partridge berry plants. She'd put the running cedar on the mantel and the berry plants in a little jar. It was a special occasion gathering these items and they were beautiful in the house.
Comment by Tee Fri Dec 13 07:42:22 2013
You can also make a wreath out of grape vine prunings.
Comment by Brian Fri Dec 13 09:02:17 2013
Comment by Jayne Fri Dec 13 11:07:49 2013

I am a new follower. I can't even express in words how much Trailersteading has inspired me. I have read your book eight times now in the last three months. I just bought a home last Spring. I didn't buy a trailer even though my husband & I were planning too. We actually found a home for practically nothing that was perfect for us and our needs. I still use so much of your Trailersteading in my new home. My husband finds your fruit tree posts so inspiring. I have always practiced minimalism, frugality & homesteading techniques since I was a young girl.

I love your decor. I think it's elegant & beautiful. I have a small pink tree decorated with Hello Kitty ornaments. I am in my forties. :) My tree is very simple & makes me smile.

Comment by DeeAnn Sat Dec 14 06:12:13 2013
Ha, I love it! Very elegant and festive! If I had my way, every square inch of wall space would be covered in Christmas lights.
Comment by mitsy (aka, sarah) Sat Dec 14 13:07:36 2013

(Great to see so many comments here!)

DeeAnn --- Thank you so much for your kind words, especially! It's people like you who keep me writing. I'm glad to "meet" you.

Comment by anna Sun Dec 15 18:58:28 2013

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