Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas (items) in July? Buy now!

By the time Christmas is here, tinsel seems kind of tacky and garlands are just a little bit gaudy, right? But here’s a hot tip to tweak your perspective: holiday decorations (for almost any holiday) can be surprisingly cool if you wait a few months and find innovative ways to use them out of season.

If you are hitting the stores right before or right after Christmas, you'll find some fantastic discounts on holiday goodies that you can use for other purposes in the next two to 10 months. Buy now, use (much) later.

Bear in mind there are only two rules if you are going to use Christmas stuff after Christmas:
  1. No green and red color combos. Ever. Except in December. Or if you are designing a kilt.
  2. No Christmas icons may be used in months that don’t end in “cember.” Santa Claus and candy canes are off-limits, naturally, but so are snowflakes, holly, gingerbread men, pine branches, moose (meese?) and almost every P.C. holiday-neutral symbol you can think of. Even penguins, sorry to say. Stripes are safe. So are polkadots. Plaid is iffy, except maybe for Father’s Day, and only if it’s green OR red (not both) and Dad has Celtic roots or smokes a pipe.
If you follow the rules, Christmas stuff (now being sold at 60% off) can put a fun twist on out-of-season décor and gifting. For example:
  • Garlands can be used to cushion a box’s contents (instead of tissue paper) or instead of ribbon to add sparkle to a gift. Especially fun for Valentine’s Day or wedding gifts.
  • Tinsel strands can be added to Easter basket grass, or scattered to add sparkle to a birthday party table. Tinsel can also be incorporated in hair braids (a topic for a different blog, to be sure).
  • Christmas tree ornaments in fun shapes can make wonderful gift-toppers. Consider a car ornament for someone who’s turning 16, or an airplane ornament for a friend’s bon voyage party, an owl ornament for a graduation gift six months from now, or a frog ornament for a bachelorette who has finally found Mr. Right.
  • A mini disco ball , glittery initial or other mirrored ornament adds sparkle to a wrapped gift any time of year. A simple star ornament can be a perfect gift-topper on a congratulatory gift.
  • Traditional glass ball ornaments are pretty even when they are not on an evergreen tree. Try silver balls hanging from a backyard tree at a summer party, or pastel balls in a bowl at Easter time, or green and purple balls adorning a door at Mardi Gras.
  • Christmas lights are now super-cheap and will add festive sparkle to an event any time of year, as long as you avoid the multi-colored lights associated with Christmas. White lights are lovely for weddings, summer parties and patio soirees. Or find lights in your school or team colors to make a spirited post-game event or dance even sparklier.
  • Christmas wrapping paper and tissue paper can be used year round, and long as it’s solid tone or a very simple non-holiday pattern (stripes or dots, for example).
  • Red gift wrap can be combined with pink or white ribbon for Valentine’s Day, or blue for 4th of July, or black any time. Anything but green!
  • Green wrapping paper is perfect for gifts in springtime: birthdays, Easter, St. Paddy’s, Earth Day (OK, maybe not Earth Day -- skip the wrap for that), or to wrap creative gifts involving cash, gardening or the Green Bay Packers. For example.
And of course: if you have storage space, you can always pick up Christmas wrap and decorations on sale now and use them exactly as they were intended to be used…next Christmas! It's definitely on the calendar to happen again. Soon.

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