Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Sea sun's greetings from the Reuse Centre!

While we may still be just over five months away from the traditional Christmas holiday, there are some countries in the southern hemisphere that actually celebrate Christmas in July! For these countries July can actually be their coldest month, while December falls in the peak of summer.  By gathering friends and family to celebrate Christmas in July, residents south of the equator can enjoy the kind of Christmas atmosphere that we get to experience up here.  Christmas in July celebrations can include social parties, Christmas trees, and decorations.
There's no reason why residents of the northern hemisphere can't get in on the fun!  Here in Canada, celebrating Christmas in July is a unique way to gather your friends and loved ones close for laid-back parties and BBQs to mark the halfway point to Christmas.  The best part is that any ornaments or decorations you may make for your Christmas in July parties can be reused again at Christmas!  The following ideas really just scratch the surface of Christmas in July projects and general Christmas crafts, but they can help get the ball rolling for your summer parties or December prep.

1) Christmas Wreaths: For me, the first thing that goes up at Christmas is the wreath on my front door.  But sometimes the fake pine needles fall all over the place, or the pinecones flake off, and I'm just generally left with a big mess and a sad wreath.  Here's a great solution: no fake needles, no pinecones - just a shaped coat hanger and some evenly-cut scraps of paper.  You could maybe try and make this even more special by cutting up your old Christmas cards for a punch of colour and some words of love.

2) Paper Snowflakes:  You can't go wrong with putting up snowflakes when decorating for a Christmas event.  Unfortunately, if you're like me, you can go seriously wrong trying to cut them up.  Here are some great step-by-step instructions for cutting out paper snowflakes.  Paper snowflakes can also be used to embellish cards, party invitations or gift tags.  You could try cutting them from old book or magazine pages, and maybe even run some string through them and create an easy garland!

3) Felt Decorations:  Whether you find scraps of felt material in your basement cupboards, or pick some up at the Reuse Centre, you can make quick, easy, and adorable felt ornaments for your tree, your home, or your gifts in a few easy steps.  Here is a great collection of more than 20 felt Christmas ornaments from Better Homes & Gardens with links and instructions for assembly.

4) Christmas Crackers:  Growing up with an English grandmother, traditional Christmas crackers were a constant at our Christmas dinner table.  Typical store bought crackers can be expensive, and usually include very cheap toys and really bad jokes.  It is possible, however, to create your own!  You can almost make these entirely of things you probably already have lying around at home, with the exception of the cracker snaps you'll need to make the crackers "pop" when they're pulled.  If you take the time to make these yourself, you can put meaningful messages and surprises in your crackers for a personalized touch.  This would be a great way to use all of those random scraps of wrapping paper that everyone keeps to use later, and then it never happens.

5) Christmas Card Projects:  Reusing old Christmas cards for crafts is a revolutionary idea for me, and it's the perfect solution for dealing with the multitude of cards that collect over the years.  From garlands, to wall art, to candle holders and more, the possibilities of what you can do with old cards are endless.  I found a great collection of ideas from Better Homes & Gardens for ways that you can upcycle your old cards into decorations for any Yuletide festivities.  Try any of these, and make those old season's greetings and messages of love a permanent part of your Christmas holidays.

Calvin Coolidge once said that "Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind."  So whether you're planning a summer Yuletide celebration, or getting a head-start on December, I would like to wish our Reuse-It readers all the joy and wonder of the season.  Sea sun's greetings, everyone!

- Nichole (Volunteer)

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