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Alternative Christmas Decorations

Another Holiday Season is upon us. Have you noticed? In my corner of the world there are Christmas tunes everywhere I go. Coffee shops have even changed their cups to green and red; some have snowflakes and some reindeer on them.

Store window mannequins wear chunky sweaters or warm plush PJs, and restaurants and food courts smell of vanilla and ginger. Huge Christmas trees adorned with hundreds of twinkling lights are being set up in town squares and Santa’s ‘HOHOHOs’ can be heard in every shopping mall.

This is the time we start looking back at the year that is slowly making its exit but also making plans for the seasons to come. To celebrate the occasion and follow traditions, most families will bring a tree into their homes. Those trees will be decorated with ornaments, some of which will have been passed on from generation to generation, and some new ones. There won’t be two trees alike.

In most previous years, my house goes through a similar transformation. We bring in a tree (a real one), dig out the box filled with ornaments that we have collected over the years, put on some Christmas tunes and get to work. This year however I have thought of a different approach. My tree this year won’t be a tree at all, and the ornaments will be items that don’t have any Christmas related significance. Some of them are already sitting around the house fulfilling their decorative or utilitarian duty, others I will DIY for the occasion.

The purpose of this exercise is to show that the Spirit of the Holidays can live in everyday objects and not just those created to fulfill that role. The “decor” I have selected is not random at all and each item carries a meaning and a personal message for me and my loved ones.

The frame for my “tree” is a door panel I found on the street earlier this year and the shape is composed of old picture frames, some of which I have spray painted to add some colour.

A decorative ampersand sign sits as the tree topper and is intended to suggest “continuation” (2015 turning into 2016), and each picture frame contains a small collection of items which all put together embody our hopes and dreams for the new year.

Frame with initials

Small house in the top frame paired up with Marc’s and mine initials and number 8 represents our home, our unity and the year we met.

Frame with plants and letters

Decoupaged letters suggest the desire to learn new things. Plants signify life and health and the white papier-mâché ship stands for travel.

Star cookie cutters

The display is peppered with old, star shaped cookie cutters I bought at a thrift store and painted in different colours. They are there to safeguard our dreams for the future.

Besides cookie cutter stars, my DIY decor is limited to the art blocks/cubes, art coins and jute twine balls.

Art Coins

The art blocks/cubes and coins are made of leftover pieces of wood to which I have decoupaged random pieces of decorative paper to create abstract yet cheerful decor. Jute balls were created using balloons and glue dipped twine to create round shapes that were, once dry, painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Jute Balls

It was important for me to include homemade items to carry the message of resourcefulness and creativity that I hope will continue to follow me in the future.

And while the clock is slowly melting the minutes of 2015 away, I wish everyone a happy, creative, safe, and above all, healthy Holiday Season.

Jelena Pticek

Jelena Pticek

Writer and expert

Jelena is a Canadian artist who specialises in upcycling furniture, and the Preloved Upcycling Ambassador. She was recently selected to be Annie Sloan’s Painter in Residence, and is always on the hunt for inspiration for her latest pieces.