Holiday Decorating For The Lazy And/Or Penniless


Now that it’s officially okay to don us now our gay apparel in preparation for Generic Winter Buying Holiday, the streets are alight with seasonal cheer. Stoplights are festooned with garland and strings of lights, stores have pulled out their terrifying giant Nutcrackers, and soon the houses of your favorite imaginary TV families will be impeccably decorated for a single episode. Every place is alight with festive cheer. Alight, I say! But not your house. Your house looks like it’s mourning the fact that there’s still a plastic pumpkin full of candy sitting on your desk. You want to decorate, but you’re lazy and/or poor. Let’s fix this.

There’s no need to languish in sterile everyday plainness. Find crap laying around your house and decorate. At worst, visitors will think you’re slightly deranged and you’ll eventually have to clean it all up. At best, you’ll create a treasured holiday memory, just like the sort of memory you’d imagine that kids are creating when they pose in front of a fake fireplace backdrop for the Sears photographer.

Do you have plain white paper laying around? How about used notebook paper that you were going to throw out anyway? Do you have scissors? Make some snowflakes! Make sure to cut them over a garbage can or something, because those tiny little cutouts are a pain in the ass to clean up. You can hang them on the walls using tape or sticky tack, or loop thread or yarn through the halls and hang them from the ceiling. Make your neighbors think that you’re totally into Christmas or that you have a six year old who is discovering her manual dexterity by displaying them in your windows.

If this isn’t enough for you, you could try to make a popcorn garland using a double threaded needle (just pull the thread all the way through so that you’re putting the kernels onto two strings instead of one) and non-buttered, unsalted popcorn (because: gross). Then go to town. One by one, carefully work the popcorn onto the thread, slowly sliding them to the knotted end of your garland. If you’ve got some cranberries laying around (fresh, not canned), you can string those on as well, but if you’re going to include cranberries, you’re going to want to use a higher gauge needle and a thimble. This is a really fun way to accidentally put a gigantic needle through your thumb while trying to watch TV and make a craft at the same time. It’s also a great way to eat a lot of popcorn.

Do you live near trees who could stand to lose a few branches? Grab ’em, clean them off, spray paint them with metallic spray paint or fake snow, and put them in a vase. Nothing says “Fuck Yeah, Saturnalia” like dead, detached silver or gold limbs.

Pinecones, for some reason, are considered kind of Christmassy. When I was a kid who wouldn’t stop bothering my mom about making projects when she had to work, she used to send me out to the yard to gather a bucket of pinecones, and then, when I returned, she’d pour a bunch of glue in a small bowl, hand me a little craft brush, and give me some glitter. Amazingly, I never tried to put a pinecone into any orifices, and you shouldn’t, either. Just brush the outside of the pinecone with glue and then roll it in some glitter. Put it someplace where the dog won’t eat it to dry for 24 hours or so. Then put them on stuff. Your bookshelf, your bedside table, whatever. Hooray for fun!

If you can manage to get yourself to a Walgreen’s or other similar store, drop the sub-$5 on a string of white lights and put them up in your windows using those removable adhesive hooks. Use white lights so that when Christmas is over and you inevitably forget to take them down until February, they won’t be horribly seasonally inappropriate. Also, buy some plain candles. They work for almost every conceivable winter holiday and in a pinch can be used for roasting marshmallows and accidentally burning your house down.

If you have kids or a tiny dog, make them wear elf costumes or Christmas sweaters for the entire month of December. Living decorations! How decadent!

One of my favorite ways to make my place seem sort of vaguely festive is to simmer a saucepan full of water, with a few teaspoons of cinnamon and a little bit of nutmeg. This is awesome unless you’re dating someone who hates the smell of cinnamon so much that he gags when greeted by the welcoming scent of your holiday hearth.

Finally, if you really love having a house that looks Christmassy (or holiday-themed) but hate decorating or undecorating, select all of your furniture to match a red and green color scheme, like the set designer did in Home Alone. Lest we forget, in the midst of the sadistic hijinks of Macauley Culkin, the film’s actually about one boy’s Christmas quest to forge a relationship with his mother and also kill Joe Pesci. But mostly it’s about Christmas.

If you follow these tips, before you know it, your house will be shitting holiday cheer. And you did it all using your pluck and very little money! God bless us, every one!

Image via Victorian Traditions/Shutterstock

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