Lesson #58: What to Do With Yourself When They Start Hanging Wreaths on the Palm Trees

by Rachel on November 30, 2010

Last night, I went to the dollar store and to Wal-mart to start scoping out Christmas decorations.

(Yeah, that’s right. I’m festive. Poor and festive. Like Tiny Tim, without the limp. And, well, no one would ever call me “tiny.” I may look like a ragamuffin from time to time, but much to my disappointment, I always look well-nourished.)

Since Thanksgiving just passed, I’ve only just begun wading into the holiday decorating pool. I mean, I dipped a toe in last night, but it was a sandal-clad toe — it was 84 degrees as I went on this mission. That is probably why I didn’t end up buying anything.

Eric’s work holiday party is on Friday night and I’m still in denial about it. Like, are you sure it’s a holiday party? But…I don’t have to wear tights with my dress?

It just doesn’t add up.

In an effort to get myself psyched up, as well as give holiday information to lucky bitches my dear friends who are chomping at the bit to put on their Uggs and head to the Christmas tree farm, here are my basic steps for getting into the holiday spirit.

Step 1. Put on a little mood music. I’ve been easing into the Christmas season with this playlist. Many of the songs don’t even feel like Christmas songs. They are just chill songs for a winter’s day.

I also have a bunch of playlists from last year that will help you feel festive!

Feeling Christmassy — The Nice List

Ho Ho HO — The Naughty List

Babes in Toyland Playlist

The Menorah Mix aka Jew Jams 2009

Step 2. Get in the kitchen. It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for cooking! I made things easy for you and created a holiday recipes page. I will be whipping up some new recipes this year, but just going over that list made me so excited to bust out my old favorites from last year. Click the picture below for the full list of recipes!

Step 3. Get gifty. You may already be done, another Black Friday and Cyber Monday under your belt. But if, like me, you’re just beginning to think about what to give everyone this year, actually starting to browse online or even just making lists can give you a little boost of holiday cheer. I’m going to do a new gift round-up this year, but here are my gift guides from 2009!

“I’m a Broke Ass Ho But I’m Classy and Can Cook a Mean Batch of Cookies” Food Gifts

“I Swear I’m Not Calling You Fat” Fitness Gifts

“I Have a Huge Problem When I Go Into Bed, Bath, and Beyond” Kitchen Gifts

“Why Are They So Goddamn Heavy and Expensive Because I Want Them All” Cookbook Wish List

Step 4. Be your own Secret Santa. I’m not a huge fan of giving Christmas-themed gifts because by the time your recipient opens it, it’s kinda too late to use it. But you know who I love giving Christmas-theme gifts to? Umm…myself. Seriously, all those sets with potholders and mixing bowls and such? Perfect for getting me in the Christmas mood!

Step 5. Don’t avoid being festive because you don’t want to get fat. When it comes to “holiday weight gain,” just…don’t be ridiculous. I’m not posting pictures of homemade bagels and then telling you to go on a holiday diet. I’m just here to remind you of the number one rule. My advice is to wear jeans frequently this month, remember that a holiday is one day, you can’t give up healthy eating and skip exercise, and you must not be That Girl Who Skips a Party Because She Doesn’t Want to Get Fat.

Step 6. Plan a party! I didn’t think I was going to have a Christmas party this year, but you know what? Maybe a Christmas party is exactly what I need! My cookie party last year was one of my favorite days. Even if it’s just a potluck brunch before work, even if it’s warm outside, even if you’re just having a Fake Holiday party…gathering friends to do something festive is always a good idea.

Step 7. Decorate. See, decorating means that as long as you’re inside with the air conditioner on, you can believe it’s actually December. I have only just begun my holiday decorating, but this year, I’ve decided I’m all about decorating my bedroom, simply because it seems like something only rich people do.

I’ve decided decorating your bedroom should so not be just for the rich! And…now we’re back to the dollar store and Wal-Mart! But instead of buying place mats, I’m thinking of getting some bright red sheets to go with my white comforter…maybe I can even get super crafty and make a plaid pillow sham or something. (Mom, that was a desperate plea for help.) And I plan to hang stockings from my bedposts.

Step 8. Go buy a slutty Christmas lingerie set. Like I said, I want to hang my stockings from my bedpost — and those stockings just might be sheer black, with seams up the back. I think I shall go on this mission this afternoon for the best/tackiest/best again Santa lingerie I can find. And then I’m going where it while I decorate my tree. If that doesn’t get me in the mood for Eric’s work holiday party this weekend, I’m pretty sure nothing else will.

Some questions for you this morning…

1. What is your favorite Christmas “theme”? When it comes to decorations, what’s your style? Do you love old-fashioned Santas? Candy canes? Trees and snow? Do you keep it classy or do you go kitschy with things like a mini-wiener tree?

I really like picking a theme and and sticking with it, but I haven’t decided what I want to do this year!

2. Does anyone know where we (not just me — I know you all are a bunch of festive girls) can find ideas, inspiration, and instructions for decorating my tree/house? I read some interior design blogs but I want more of a DIY blog or website to help me pick a theme and/or create a stylish tree, fabulous wreath, etc. I’d also love suggestions on books or magazines that would have good ideas.

3. Any suggestions on where we can get inexpensive decorations? The dollar store and Wal-Mart had good ornaments and inexpensive dishes, and I’m planning to hit Michael’s with my coupons. Just wondering if you knew of another store that be worth checking out!

All right, I’m already feeling a bit more festive after writing that! My nails are Essie A-List red and my sweater is olive green. Fa la la la la blah blah blah blah.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather November 30, 2010 at 9:24 am

if you’re having trouble choosing a theme, try doing one for the bedroom, one for the living room, etc.

My mom is the kind of woman who has a Christmas tree in EVERY room of the house, and each one has it’s own unique theme going on, so when I got my own place, I followed suit. Natural/Woodsy ornaments in the bedroom, royal purple and blue in the living room, bright pinks and the like in the bathroom, and foodie type ornmanets in the kitchen. (This year is MUCH different, as I am decorating my tree entirely in paper. woot!)

As for places to find inspiration for DIYness…I am 99% against posting a link to my own blog in comment sections – but a few weeks ago, I did HAPPEN to post a list of my favorite Handmade Christmas Blog resources…. so, alas – http://thenheathersaid.com/2010/11/09/handmade-christmas-resources/


2 Caitlin November 30, 2010 at 9:28 am

Last year we hit up Big Lots for a lot of our Christmas decorations and had a lot of success doing so! Target is also a go-to spot for me – that is if you can get past the soccer moms and rowdy kids. As far as being crafty, my only advice to you is to search YouTube for some DIY videos and before you know it, it will be 1 a.m. and you’ll be watching your 14th video on how to make your own garland. Not that I know anything about that.


3 Jackie (ananda prana) November 30, 2010 at 9:30 am

Christmas Tree Shops! They have tons of holiday knick-knacks on the cheap!


4 Nicole November 30, 2010 at 9:34 am

My mom and her friends were obsessed with chili pepper lights when we lived in Houston. She still puts them up during the (frigid Michigan) holiday season to remember the good times she had during the HOT xmas celebrations in Texas!

Merry Tex-mas ;)



5 Nicole November 30, 2010 at 4:51 pm

PS Free People’s blog has amazing, always festive DIY stuff


6 Rachel November 30, 2010 at 7:55 pm



7 Lauren November 30, 2010 at 9:34 am

Do you have Hobby Lobby in Texas?!? That’s my go-to place for holiday decor ON SUPER SALE. Happy shopping!


8 Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle November 30, 2010 at 9:39 am

HomeGoods for decorations. I went in there the other day for a rolling pin and came out with some christmas tree dishes (that I really didn’t need, but HomeGoods always gets my money somehow). They have a ton of aisles devoted to just christmas related things. And they are all cheap.


9 Alina @ Duty Free Foodie November 30, 2010 at 9:45 am

I was going to suggest Michael’s, but you are already going there. I love glittery ornaments on Christmas trees, so I think it would be an awesome project to decorate your own ornaments with fun patterns in glitter and glue.


10 Rachel November 30, 2010 at 7:53 pm

mmm I love glittery ornaments too. I’m like a drag queen.


11 Heather November 30, 2010 at 9:52 am

My favorite holiday theme is classic white, silver, gold, with hints of evergreen. I just feel like you can’t go wrong with that! Plus, white and silver and gold aren’t necessarily just holiday colors so you could reuse other pieces when decorating later. I’ve actually found some good stuff at Target, especially in the bargain shelves in the front!


12 Amanda November 30, 2010 at 9:59 am

I’m a big fan of Not Martha. She has a new post of Christmas resources, but she’s been blogging since ’01, so I’m sure she has plenty of resources in her archives. http://www.notmartha.org/

I guess I should also say hi since I’m losing my comment virginity. I’ve been reading your blog for about six months now. Love it.


13 Rachel November 30, 2010 at 10:44 am

Oh hayyyy! Thanks for coming out of the commenting closet!! And thanks for the tip — can’t wait to check out this site!


14 Diane November 30, 2010 at 10:33 am

My favorite Christmas theme is brown and gold! A few years ago, Target had a lot of fabulous decorations in those colors. My room is sort of an “adventure” theme, featuring paintings of African safaris and stuff, so I’ve always wanted a Christmas tree that reflected it. My mom got me some jungle animal ornaments a few years ago, so I think I will start with a gold tree and go from there!


15 Rachel November 30, 2010 at 10:37 am

Love this idea!! I like brown and gold a lot and a Jungle Fever tree sounds really fun!


16 Jennifer November 30, 2010 at 10:40 am

I think HobLob and Michael’s are great for decorations, but I’ve found surprisingly cute and affordable stuff at TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and even CVS! CVS or Rite Aid are good for things like bows or lights…basics. I’m splitting decorations between my place and the BF’s this year so that when I spend time at his place, it also feels festive. If I wasn’t so broke, I’d be right out there shopping for more decorations with you!


17 AnneWF November 30, 2010 at 11:08 am

Oh my gosh my husband would totally LOVE the mini wiener tree! Throw some mini Hershey’s chocolates around the bottom and he would be the happiest man in the world.


18 Kaitlin November 30, 2010 at 11:34 am
19 Marg November 30, 2010 at 11:55 am

Go to the TJ Maxx/Homegoods off of Richmond near 610 – I love that one! Not sure what they have for Christmas, but that one is my favorite location (way better stuff than the one near my house). Check out Hobby Lobby too.


20 Abbey November 30, 2010 at 1:34 pm

I love this blog for DIY projects: http://www.younghouselove.com/
She just wrote about DIY holiday tumblers! Super cute and inexpensive.


21 Danielle November 30, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Love your ideas for getting in the Holiday spirit!


22 Bridget@PavementandPlants November 30, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I love homemade Christmas things. Our tree at home is full of ornaments given to us by friends and family. I love it much more than the white and silver only or glass bulb only trees. I’m leaving on the 10th to go back home so I have to wait until then to dive into the holidays!


23 Manon November 30, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Hobby Lobby and Kohls have all their Christmas shit 50% off!!!!!


24 Rachel November 30, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Just went to HL today!!! Got some little things…also, did not know wreaths were so damn expensive!!


25 Lisa November 30, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Hobby Lobby for sure. If you sign up for their email list you get a nice coupon every week for those 1 or 2 items that aren’t on sale. Also check out craftgossip.com for random crafts posts. There’s usually something good there!


26 Summer November 30, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Um, can we talk about the real problem here?

Like, why Lady Gaga is missing from this playlist??


27 Rachel November 30, 2010 at 7:52 pm

OK — fair question.

Lady Gaga isn’t on that list because it’s my easing-into-Christmas-chill-background-work playlist! I can’t get any work done with that crazy beat and “Oh oh Christmas! My Christmas tree’s delicious!” in the background.


28 Summer December 2, 2010 at 12:04 am

Haha, point taken. Exactly why I have “The 99 Most Essential Christmas Songs” from Amazon…it’s like, 6 hours of chamber music. I play it in the background at work while I’m proofing :)


29 Alison November 30, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I’m making ‘pre’ christmas gifts for my working friends tonight that will double as ‘oh isn’t Alison thoughtful’ and also ‘dirt cheap decoration’ —paper chain countdowns! because everyone is angry that Thanksgiving is over and we have to wait all of December for another break. Hoping they’re a hit and I’m not ‘that lame girl who makes crafts at night’…. :)


30 Rachel's Mom November 30, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Walmart had some really ghetto fabulous Christmas lingerie. I saw it there on Black Friday.
Maybe a cute way to make a pillow would be to get a plaid flannel shirt in red and green, and then just cut off the sleeves, stitch it up, and stuff it like a pillow?


31 Summer December 2, 2010 at 12:04 am



32 Ashley November 30, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I don’t know how I did not know about your holiday recipes page but oh. em. gee. Obsessed.


33 Elina (Russian Bites) December 1, 2010 at 9:46 am

I never decorate enough for the holidays but I love people that do. I have like one christmas platter (with cute raindeer, love it!) and just bought some xmassy cupcake liners and napkins. Hopefully I actually put them to use. Oh and of course there IS a christmas tree. We definitely do that.
I think I need to go on a Target binge and buy more. I want this year to actually have christmas spirit in my house. It’s such positive energy :)
PS – I think my theme will be “modern.” :D


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