Nothing says “I love you” and “screw this whole Black Friday mess”  like putting the time and effort into hand-making a gift or holiday decoration.  Why go to a big box store and buy something that everyone else will have under their tree this year? Instead, grab your power tools, sewing box, and craft kit, throw some spiced cider on the stove, and get ready to create a little holiday cheer!

Tree for all – When celebrating the magic of Christmas, show a little love to your floral family by sparing the tree this year. If you are still pining for the smell of pine, pick up a potted tree to spruce up your home, and start the tradition of planting you new friend in the garden or park after Christmas. If you are a little short on cash, arrange your books into the shape of a tree in your shelves, or construct a faux fir from recycled cardboard and bottles. For those living in close quarters, wall stickers and frames make for a space-saving and attractive 2D tree. Even an old ladder from the garage can create an excellent frame for lights and ornaments!

For the light show, consider using low-energy, efficient LEDs. Not only do they shine brightly in a myriad of different colors, but they don’t kick out as much heat or waste electricity. Consider putting them on a timer to shut them off while you sleep and wait for Santa.

Spirits of the Season- Concoct your own top-shelf flavored alcohol this season with easy at-home recipes. Depending on how savvy you are around the still, it may be best to buy a base such as rum or vodka from the store and add ingredients to infuse into the booze. Favorites include Limoncello, Mocha Cream Liqueur, and Sangria.  For the infused liqueurs, make sure to start ahead of the holidays, as some require some time to marinate in the bottle. When finished, present a bottle as a gift, crack it open at your next gathering, and count the minutes until your crazy uncle dons a light-shade for a hat.

Deck the Halls- The closest thing that those of us on the Central Coast will get to snow is making our own from paper and scissors. Office cooler cups can be arranged to make some pretty stunning, snow-white stars, and you can never beat the classic cotton ball for a fluffy drift. (Bonus points if you use organic cotton!) Reclaimed wood, screws, and old ribbon can make a simple and attractive patterns for five or six pointed stars, and even old PVC pipes can be repurposed into s surprisingly lovely holiday wreath.

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