DIY CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Christmas is right around the corner, folks! We are only forty days out from today. How crazy is that?! We all know how quickly that time will go. Currently, I have a Christmas playlist blasting through the house and plan to coerce my husband into watching The Santa Claus with me tonight.

We all know 2020 has been a hell of a year. It’s been tough, uncomfortable and not at all what we expected. The economy is in a recession, unemployment numbers skyrocketed overnight and businesses are having to shut down because of the circumstances. Are you on a budget but looking to add more decorations to your tree or in your home? I’ve got you covered! Below are some DIY decorations that are fun, family friendly and budget considerate.

Gingerbread Ornaments

I made these with my mom growing up and loved them! These gingerbread ornaments last years and smell heavenly. These also make great gifts for teachers, neighbors or your Sunday school teacher. This is the recipe that I follow, but feel free to find one that you like. I also added a dab of glue to help keep its shape. Don’t forget to poke a hole in the top to string it with some cute holiday ribbon!

Orange Garland

This garland makes for a beautiful decoration to hang from your hearth or above your bed. I prefer this over store made garland, anyhow. To get the optimal finish on your garland, follow The Ginger Home’s recipe or find one of your liking. This also makes for the best aroma when the oranges are done baking.

Pinecone Name Plates

These pinecone name plates make the cutest decor for a Christmas get-together for family or friends. Find a handful of pinecones outdoors or buy them from the store and spray paint them with a gold or silver spray paint. Cut down a piece of card stock or find your favorite piece of Christmas scrapbook paper and get started writing those names!

Pallet Christmas Trees

If you are into the “bigger scale” project, then this is your scene! My in-laws made my husband and I a set last year and stained them a dark chestnut color. String lights and hang ornaments on your Christmas Pallet tree and voilà! You can also paint them green to immolate more of a “real” tree if that’s the look you’re going for. Making smaller trees is also a great option for keeping them inside as well.

Wooden Sign Decor

With wooden signs, you have endless opportunities! If you have a Cricut or are artistically blessed, in which I am not, then there are so many options in terms of signs you can make. I also have Chalk Couture, which is a chalk-based transfer system that is fool proof. Chalk Couture came out with so many new Christmas designs this year, which has been really exciting to test out. Plan a trip to your local Michaels or Hobby Lobby to check out their wooden section. They have so many different options to choose from. Look at Pinterest for some inspiration if need be!

Stove-Top Potpourri

This isn’t necessarily a “decoration,” but stove-top potpourri is amazing to have simmering at home doing chores or relaxing on the couch curled up with that book you have been wanting to read. I have experimented with lots of varieties that all smell like you set foot onto a tree farm. You can also put ingredients into a mason jars that make for great gifts. This website has some great options you //.

QOTD: What is some of your favorite Christmas decorations, either store bought or handmade?

TOP 5 FALL ACTIVITIES

Fall is almost here, y’all! Fall has always been my favorite season and means sweaters, leggings, boots and bonfires. Just two weeks ago, pumpkin spice hit my local Dunkin’ Donuts and it touched my soul a little differently.

As our first fall season in Asheville, I figured I would make a list of my favorite activities to do to help get us in the mood for the best season of the year. 🤩 Within the last week, the weather has dropped and it makes this girl one happy camper.

Taste the apples of a local harvest

SKY TOP APPLE ORCHARD
This has always been a Fall favorite of mine! Chandler and I have gone to Sky Top every year since we started dating and it definitely helps jump start your mood for the fall. This is a great place for families with kids, groups of friends and couples to go and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery lined with acres of apple trees. Dogs are allowed, so don’t shy away from bringing your furry friends. Sky Top offers hay rides, apple cannons and the most delicious apple donuts and slushies. Expect a longer line when buying your donuts, but don’t let that detour you from getting some for yourself. These delectable desserts are made in house and literally melt in your mouth. We usually go in late September to get the full fall effect, but any time really is a good time. You can grab a bag of apples to go or fill your basket as you get lost in their luscious fields. Each different row of apples are clearly marked if you are looking for a specific type.

*Because of new Covid rules, you now get to keep the basket you pick apples with. I fully expect to use mine for some kind of fall decoration this year.

Spend a day baking your favorite fall treats

Baking has always been a “therapy” of mine, so I had to include this on my list! Set aside time to try a few new recipes. If you’re unsure of what to make, Pinterest is always a good place to start. You can always make treats for coworkers, neighbors or friends! If you do end up going to the apple orchard, make a batch of apple butter. It’s definitely a fan favorite and is super easy to make! Below are some of my other personal favorites!

Thanksgiving Margarita Recipe
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Caramel Cheesecake Bars

Visit the fair

Some of my fondest memories growing up were at the Piedmont Interstate Fair every year! We’d load up the whole family (cousins, grandparents and neighbors) and take a trip (or three) to the fair that week! We’d ride every ride at least once and eat funnel cakes until our stomachs hurt. I always loved stopping by the animal exhibits to see the horses, cows and rabbits. The Spartanburg fair always had such beautiful table exhibits and art galleries to stop and marvel at. Once I got to college, I drug my friends to the state fair and loved reminiscing on my younger days. Check out your local fair. It’s nothing short of amazing.

Host Friendsgiving

Like Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving gives you another chance to indulge in the soul food that ensues around this time of year. Offer to host your friends and create a sign-up sheet for people to volunteer for different food and drink options so you don’t have any repeats. It’s a great night of community and a great refresher for the soul.

☆ Run (or walk) a holiday race

Every Thanksgiving morning, it feels like my entire hometown of Spartanburg is at the Turkey Troy 8k. It is an opportunity to see friends and other people that you wouldn’t otherwise see that day. Our race begins at Spartanburg’s Morgan Square and is a big loop through downtown’s local neighborhoods, parks and streets. People wear turkey hats, full pilgrim suits and crazy Thanksgiving socks for the race and it’s always a good laugh to see what new outfits people whip out every year. Starting at an ungodly 7am, you finish just in time to watch the Macy’s Day Parade and take a nap before the Thanksgiving feast starts. I’m sure there are plenty of race options in your area, so be on the lookout for those in the weeks to come. Get your exercise in early and don’t feel as guilty for the wearing your sweatpants later that night.

If you have any other fall favorites, I would love to hear from you!

As always,
♡ Alex in Asheville