DIY Christmas holidays with reindeer Rudolph helping.

It is 2016 and shops are filled with creative, traditional or tacky Christmas decorations. But I still remember that the only decorations we had at our family house was hand-made. All year around we saved the small matchboxes (or used them also if full) to wrap up in a shiny 90s gift paper and hang up on the walls. Then we made "Ziemassvētku puzurs", and that strange potato decoration to which I can't recall meaning/name (yes, yes, bring it on all the potato jokes on latvians). And of course Advent wreath was handmade either by mom or granny, or together, but I remember my mother enjoyed making it the most. And for outdoors some branches there and here on the gates or door. And Christmas tree decorations were old with those little pictures painted on them or they were in 'weird' shape, but always colorful shiny, and every year one or two balls were broken.... Me or brother or both, or a cat or a dog, but never by an adult.

Closer to 2000s the Christmas decorations became more "plastic" - lights outdoors everywhere (grandpa enjoyed this task, even the effort doing it so, could make him frustrated. I guess Americanization began?) Mom had a job at some kind of storage shop where she sold westernized decorations (oh, hello Valentine day weird decorations), and I was introduced to the reality of no Santa Claus, and I started saving money all year around to do my own (!) Christmas shopping for family, and every year I bought my own decorations all in blue (I have big box now). 


For some years all the hand-made, traditional seemed to be boring - let's spend, let's buy, let's have what every other family has! Yet somehow the Christmas tree decoration was left upon my duties. I don't know, I just had a visual eye and some years I made it traditional colorful (mother hated, she wanted American TV style) and some year I found "modern" Christmas tree balls. Perhaps now I appreciate that they trusted my "visual eye", as for years I have been this "creating atmosphere nerd before it was cool and pinteresy, but not yet understood in society (true hipster).

It is no secret that we are more consumerist than "self-supporting" society, but even though there was a high love towards Americanized decorations, somehow the last few years it has dropped down and Latvians are back to creating decorations from the scratch by going to some fun workshops held by Latvian artists, or bringing together their friends/families to do it together, or you do it alone for your whole family (like me). Somehow the true spirit of Christmas has come back when the "best looking house/tree or how many gifts you got" has changed to "being together with friends and family" creating the Christmas spirit together - togetherness! Maybe it is just my observation.

The last few years (when you fall out from the consumerist trap) I have often made my own decorations, sometimes it has been oh, so spontaneous and sometimes planned for couple of months. But in the end "even planned" it becomes "last minute adventure" by going outside early in the morning in our suburb area "burrowing" from neighbor gardens some natural bits or walking around the city at the parks picking up whatever I find "christmassy". Like that one year I could not find ANY pine cone! It took me couple of hours walking randomly around the city parks until I stumbled upon some "tiny/hidden/inner" park with plenty of pine-cones! 

Here I am sharing with one of my last time Christmas decorations while with family in Latvia some years ago. This also are the only ones I have memorized in photos as not always I captured the decorations through photos. Sometimes "my creativity" is more practical than "digital eye". But what have I done here is just mostly picking up some branches which I did not need to cut off, if I needed to cut off then I firstly asked (a true nature nerd) to the tree (they were in our garden), and the rest I secretly "burrowed" from neighbor fences, or found in more human-free areas around our suburb outside Riga. And jars are easy - my granny is a jar collector to make the canned food, ribbons - from random kitsch shops in Riga, and basically that's all. 

For Christmas I always think it is important to have colors, but this time I felt the need of "traditional Christmas color blend" - red and green, right? Not much any advises or tips, or suggestions, it was all freely done, me standing outside in -20, occasionally running inside to warm up my fingers, and then back again, take a snap, try to make them different but with a common similarity, and then put them around the outside, inside, each room for each family member so there is a Christmas feeling in every room! Maybe actually one tip: try to keep the "berry kind decorations" in colder spots, they were frozen outside, so, at the end of evening they were soft nearly like a jam, but still worked out well... :) Or just in general - search for DIY decorations, be creative and fun, you can find so many things at home! I just went through some other my year photos of Christmas decorations, that sometimes I filled up a big glass vase and put in red beads or candles.... Then had white "gardenmembrane" or something, and some childish cut out snowflakes, etc. More you do and make, more cozy atmosphere you create! 
Currently in 2016 my ideas have been hanging up on these: handmade decorations using orange peelskin! Adding a color on pinecones, making ornaments from beads.

Enjoy! Maybe you get inspired from these ideas and do it your own too!
MY LITTLE RUDOLPH AS BELLA HELPING OUT.

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