Sunday, November 25, 2012

Merry Macgyver Christmas: the yearly tradition of making something from nothing

I adore the Christmas season.  I love the softer, more golden shade of sunlight in the afternoon, cool nights (I live in So Cal after all), carols playing on pandora radio, balsam scented candles burning and peppermint tea in my favorite mug.  As a believer in Christ the season is a great celebration of "God with us" or God coming down to meet us here on earth and to walk with us.  I love all the traditions that come with the season as well.  Decorating the tree with ornaments we have picked up on all our travels, remembering each trip as we hang them.  Putting my churches on top of the bookcase, hanging our stockings and setting out our olivewood nativity, purchased in Jerusalem while we were living there.

We decorate fairly simply, but every year I want to join in the thousands of men and women who dust off their crafting skills and make something cool.  Now that there is pinterest, we can share ideas online and it has most likely spurred a sort of craft "revival" even for those who might have not ventured into those uncharted waters before.  I laugh at some of the ideas that really take a whole lot of money to accomplish even with a stash of online Michael's 50% off coupons and maybe a friend who owns a lumber mill.  Of course I still like those ideas, I just don't have a budget for them and am secretly (or not so secretly) jealous that they have a friend who owns a lumber mill.

That said, there are many, many inexpensive ideas out there for someone like me on a tight budget.  When I was a kid, I loved to watch "Macgyver" on TV (no not a flat screen, no not on netflix).  The guy could take the simplest more random things and turn them into something amazing.  He makes Jason Bourne, and 007 look a little un-creative if you ask me.  Just two examples I found online: In the first ever episode, he plugs a sufuric acid leak with chocolate.  Later, he builds bombs out of swamp gas, bamboo shoots, and mud.  I am not saying I do, or do not condone bombs, but this guy is seriously cool.

Back to the point - the holidays seem to bring the Macgyver out of people, and definitely out of me.  I dig in the bottom of my Christmas bins to find broken berries, bits of string, and scraps of fabric and can decorate my lamp shade.  I can hang old dollar store ornaments from the chandalier and use a "seen better years" tablecloth as my tree skirt.  I love to hear about other people's resourcefulness and how they can create something cozy, beautiful and magical with very, very little.  My favorite "Macgyver Christmas" craft ever?  The following wreath, made from the simplest of items -

An ugly bush (really, really ugly)

A metal hanger...
Taken and pulled and squished and molded into a sort-of circle
Cut branches overlapped thick end under the thin end and tied with simple twine
= a wreath to hang!

Here it is in our livingroom

A better look - also some more of that bush made it's way into a vase wrapped in old ribbon
I love projects like these because they are easy enough even for an impatient and low budget gal like myself.  And they are so versatile - you could use any greenery you have in your backyard or in the greenbelt or in your neighbor's backyard (rosemary, holly, cyprus tree...hey those have to be good for something other than being a tall, unsightly 70's-esque filler tree).  And if you don't have twine, use wire, or cut strips of fabric, or yarn.  I hereby decree that everyone needs to make this wreath.  Yes, I am excited about this project.  And don't even get me started on what you can do with a 3 dollar can of chalkboard paint.  Pretty much anything can be turned into something cool if there is chalkboard paint on it (unless you are my five year old...or my favorite shirt).  I hope to hear of many more Macgyver Christmas projects this year - I guess words like "reclaimed" and "repurposed" would be the more cool hipster/pinterest/good blogger way to phrase it.  So, devoted reader (Mom? Grandma?) you have some good Macgyver Christmas stories to share?

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