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I love crafts, repurposing items and spending time with the family. Christmas is my favorite time of year. Creating things by hand and giving them as gifts. It's all about the giving in my house. Movies are my vice, along with collecting Christmas houses.

A Christmas Movie With a Message

    watching TV at Christmas time with bowls of foodWith all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, sometimes it’s hard to find a moment or two to sit down, let alone time to relax. Watching anything on tv sometimes needs to be scheduled into our holiday to do list, much less the time for a favorite holiday show or movie. Frosty, Charlie Brown, Rudolph just to name a few, all filled our children with magic, delight and reinforced that Santa would be coming to town soon. They all had their favorite and if you were lucky they would not air at the same time, because everyone wanted to see their favorite Christmas show.

As a child I also had a favourite, but I also remember one particular movie that aired time and time again. No matter the channel or time you were sure to see it airing. I remembering thinking to myself, a Christmas movie with old people, in black and white and with no Santa or reindeer in sight. How could this be a Christmas movie? Never giving it a second thought or chance, I turned the channel on to what I called a Christmas show, one with lights that flash, one with Santas and elves and one with snowmen being decorated.

Seeing the ultimate Christmas move for the first time

That all changed when I met my husband. Our first Christmas together was magic, and with one small suggestion a new Christmas memory and tradition was born.

Christmas was just a few days away, and my husband and I were out running last minute errands. We stopped at the local video store, being tired I decided to wait as he choose the latest release – or at least I thought he was. We get home put away our packages and got comfy to settle down to watch the movie.  

I was surprised by the black and white picture that panned into view; ‘maybe it’s one of those movies that start black and white and flash forward turning into color,’ I thought. Then suddenly there it was, the movie I never paid attention to, the movie with old people and the movie with no Santa , It’s A  Wonderful Life  flashed before my eyes. Complaining a little , but finally caving in, I gave it a try.
             
             What a truly wonderful movie. Life not always being fair, pulling together when times are tough, giving, loving and being a family. The message is priceless.

people helping eahc other, elves making gifts and Santa giving a present

Helping and giving are the real Christmas message

I honestly sat completely involved in every twist and turn George Bailey had to endure to find the true meaning of not only Christmas but life. As the credits rolled up on the tv screen I thanked my husband, for not only choosing this movie  but for urging me to watch it.

The Christmas message

 Since that first Christmas, every Christmas no matter what we have on our to do list, a few days before Christmas we get all comfy, settle down and snuggle up to watch It’s A Wonderful Life. Now, I’m the first person to say yes, a movie with old people, yes a black and white movie, yes a movie without Santas and reindeer is absolutely a Christmas movie, it isn’t about the images that represents Christmas , it’s all about the message.

A Holiday Soup Bowl Party

The women in my family would get together every year before the Christmas holiday to discuss and plan the festivities of the seasons. I’m a planner from way back and I love to have everything planned out, with the holiday school pageants, driving around to see the light displays, making crafts and planning the holiday dinner, time needed to be scheduled to ensure we didn’t miss a moment of holiday cheer.

When we first started this holiday meeting it was all eight of us picking and choosing dates that worked for us, a task that seemed to take hours.

We never gave any thought into having dinner that night, who had the time, there was Christmas planning under foot. There we were with our calendars, schedules and appointment books waiting for the local pizza shop to deliver a few supreme pies, a quick answer to our hunger pangs. Pizza was always a snack to me, not a meal and, as my girls will tell you, I always have a meal.

Squabbling one night over the pizza toppings, I mentioned it would be easier to open a can of soup.

Then it hit me. Soups for our yearly planning ritual. Something quick and easy we could throw together, even after a hard day of work. And me being me of course wrote it down, so I wouldn’t forget.

Four different bowls with different soups

A variety of soups is tasty!

The following year I made cute little soup can invitations for our planning date and mailed them off. Assigning each person a different item to bring. One brought assorted bread, one brought drinks, one brought the desserts and the remaining 5 each brought 2-3 quarts of any soup of their choosing.

It was a hit, not only did we get to sample a variety of soups and spend time together, the entire atmosphere changed. Our scheduling was completed in record time and occasionally we would have time left over to enjoy a holiday movie.

That was several years ago, and we all look forward to it every year. A yearly chore that seemed to be stressful and a bit unnerving, now is an evening the ladies of our family can’t wait to arrive. I can’t help but wonder if it was the holiday cheer that found its way into our date making or was it the power of a warm bowl of soup.

Budget Holiday Crafting

Home made wire and bead Christmas Star

Recycled wire, a few old beads and some effort from a 10 year old created this gorgeous simple Christmas star

I start planning and thinking out my next years decorations the day after Christmas.

I know a bit cliché, but true. You can find great deals on holiday clearance sales, which will inspire me on the decor of the following years.

There are tricks to this though, you want more pow for your buck. Some of my best decorations are from decorations that cost merely nothing that I repurposed into something else eye-catching and in some cases a little extra pocket-money, when others wanted my creation. Some of the tricks I use can really apply to any holiday decorations or crafts. Once you have your groove the possibilities are endless.

Finding Christmas decorations to work with…

First, don’t be afraid of damaged items, these are the best deals and can be redesigned with a little imagination.

My favorite creation is a string of greenery garland that was 8 feet instead of 15, yes it had been snapped in two. Yes, sometimes I get stares from other shoppers while I stand in the aisle like a deer in the head lights as my mind races. It’s all in the name of creation. Broken or damaged does not mean trash, a good rule to follow.

Second, yard sales!! Who doesn’t like a good yard sale? Besides the tons of baby and children’s items, you can find piles of Christmas decorations, ready to be reborn, at rock bottom prices. I once got a 13 gallon trash can over flowing with different types of ornaments for $2.00. I was set to make new ornaments and wreaths. Don’t be afraid to haggle, most people selling do not want to pack things back up.

Third, keep in touch with family and friends, many of them clean out and buy new every year or two. Ask for them to set aside their throw aways for you.

There are many tips and tricks, this will get you started. We need to be honest though, we can’t keep everything we find. I think they call that hoarding nowadays. I have 4 plastic totes, once they are filled I end my search. By the end of the holidays my totes are bare and I can begin my search again!

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