This time last year I was going through the motions. My Grandad was seriously ill. We had just moved into our new home with the norovirus. I was hanging on by a thread. I made sure I put the tree up for the boys but my festive spirit was nowhere to be seen. 

Here we are a whole year later, it's crazy how time just sneaks up on you like that, and I don't want this time of year to be melancholy for our family. My Grandad would not want that, he loved Christmas. I have the best memories of my nan and grandad's house decorated for Christmas, they'd have the coloured flashing lights that played music, the mismatch coloured decorations, we'd make paper chains, anything festive I made at school they would proudly set out. I loved it. I distinctly recall making a candle holder with cones and far too much gold spray and glitter, you know the sort of thing you as a parent would be proud that your child had made but wouldn't want it anywhere near your gorgeous festive decor?! Yeah, that sort of thing. That's when grandparents come into their own though, isn't it?! 

Then there was my mum's house, all beautifully decorated with her gorgeous, perfect tree. I remember one year staring in horror as she dressed the tree with blue and silver decorations (long before it was deemed cool)  Where the hell was the gold and red!?! Where were my multi-coloured lights?! Ahead of her time my ma. I now smile every time I see the blue and silver combo anywhere at Christmas.

So this year I wanted to pay homage to my mum's stylish decor with my nan and grandad's homemade approach, and this is the result...

I've admired the tradition of stringing popcorn and cranberries but have never done it before, after a little research I found that dental floss is in fact the best thing to use as it's strong and super easy to thread with. So enticing my mum, who was visiting, with mulled wine we got threading, and in no time at all we had some lovely garlands. I had picked up battery operated wire fairy lights not fully knowing what I would do with them, it turned out because they're so delicate and easy to manipulate they've been perfect with the garlands. Needless to say I went on to buy more!

Next up we dried orange slices for garlands and present tags. I sliced four large oranges and baked them in the oven. Have you ever baked oranges? If not, do it immediately even just for the smell alone. The scent is Christmas! It's quite a nice thing to do if you're in for the day as most guides I found suggested 4 hours at 65 degrees celsius, mine still weren't dried properly after that time so I bumped the oven up to 100 for a further hour but careful not to burn them.

Inspired by @karenmcrobbie85, I threaded them onto my wire lights, and as a final touch I added some eucalyptus.

For Christmas my Nan has given the boys money so I decided to use some of it to buy the boys little potted Christmas trees that can be planted in the garden after. I know my Grandad would have loved this, as they'll now each have a tree in the garden from their great-grandparents which will grow as they grow. 

Now I couldn't find musical lights but you betcha I got multi-coloured ones, and it would have to be handmade decorations all the way! We made salt dough decorations as the boys are play dough fanatics just now, plus I liked the idea of their little fingerprints being on them.

I wanted the salt dough to be super white for Christmas and I came across this recipe here. However for all my British readers, if you fancy giving these a go I've popped the recipe below to avoid confusion with the American cooking terms and temperatures.

1/2 cup (I used a small china tea cup) of Cornflour 
1 cup Bicarbonate of Soda
3/4 cup of water
Put into a saucepan on medium heat until it bubbles.
Stir until it looks like a smooth consistency.
Remove from the heat and roll into a ball, if it feels really sticky just add more cornflour, but we didn't need to do this.
Place in  bowl and cover with a damp cloth and leave to cool.
Roll out and use whatever cutters you like, making sure to pierce a hole to thread the string.
Place on a baking sheet and pop in oven at 80 degrees celsius for 45 minutes.
Once out the oven and cooled we painted with craft glue to seal and we added glitter. Its ain't Christmas without a little glitter ;)

The boys loved making these decorations and hanging them on their trees. It is definitely going to be a little Christmas tradition of ours from now on.

Oh and fyi all the fir on the staircase, garlands and presents was cut directly off a tree we pass every day on our way to nursery. Yep, that's right I've become that person who carries garden shears around with me.

Seriously though we've had so much fun making our Christmas decor this year. It's been a family affair and it has cost next to nothing.

I'd love to hear any Christmas decor traditions you have and why?

* The boys pj's (that glow in the dark!) are from Fatface and can be found here.


  1. Gorgeous ideas! I've had to wave goodbye to having a tree (my cat put a stop to that...) so I am all about the paper chains and snowflakes, but I love your orange garlands, definitely going to add those to the 'to try' list for next winter!

    1. Oh I love making paper chains and snowflakes! Hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year! xx

  2. Lovely ideas! Where did you find your wire battery powered lights?

    1. Ahhh so sorry I'm only answering this now! Hopefully you found some, I spotted them in most big supermarkets xx