This year has been one crazy thing after another. To lift people’s spirits, some people have put up their Christmas decorations pre-Thanksgiving to add some cheer to the neighborhood.
Heather Johnson is one person who decided that Christmas could come early this year. “I couldn’t stop thinking about how something so small like Christmas lights can lift people’s spirits during such a difficult time,” she told E! News. “It’s something easy [and pretty] homes can do to display hope.” There’s even a hashtag for the trend: #lightsforlife.
Brands got in on the trend, too. Anheuser-Busch turned on an elaborate display at their St. Louis headquarters.
“We’ve been inspired by Americans decorating their homes with holiday lights in the spirit of togetherness. We are proud to join in and turn the holiday lights on every night at our house,” the company said in a statement. Hallmark also turned on the tap of Christmas movies, and some stations in the Midwest switched to Christmas music, The New York Times reported.
According to the BBC, the trend even crossed the pond. Houses in Europe are putting up lights, trees, and the whole nine yards. It gets kids around the globe out of the house and doing something positive.
“The children look to us for how we respond to things like this,” said Emma Dickinson in England. “We don’t have much control about what is going on outside of the house but we can control what is going on inside our house, so why not have some fun?”
Elisabeth Forsythe is a social worker in England who was concerned about people’s state of minds, particularly the elderly, who may already struggle with isolation.
“With the current climate, everyone is feeling down, stressed and anxious and I thought, ‘What can I do to help cheer everyone up?’ There are a lot of elderly people in my community who are self-isolating and they might not have mobiles or the technology to connect with people,” she said. “In the evenings, they can open the curtains and see the light and that sense of community.”
Decorating Using Mementos
This holiday season, get little hands involved in making their own ornaments for the tree using an old favorite recipe, salt dough.
Making Salt Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup salt
1 cup cold water
Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and slowly add water a few tablespoons at a time until the dough is smooth and easy to handle. Knead the dough for 10 minutes and let rest for 20 minutes. Form the dough into the desired shapes and bake for 2 hours at 250 degrees. Allow to cool completely before handling. Don’t forget to poke a hole to string the ornaments for hanging.
What to Do with your Salt Dough
Doughnuts: Cut circles using a shot glass or other tiny circle, then cut out the middle. Adorn with teeny salt dough sprinkles. Bake and paint your favorite delicious colors.
Christmas trees: Cover your tree with tiny trees using no more than a tree-shaped cookie cutter, some paint and some imagination. Use bits of mosaic glass for extra bling.
Hand prints: With a little imagination, tiny hand prints can become Santa (think of the thumb as the trail of his hat) or a troll doll (have the fingers be the wild hair). Or keep it simple with a mitten and pressing a bitty hand into it. Trim with faux fur.
Your own twist: Make two thin rolls of dough and twist them into candy canes. Or three and braid it. Instead of using a hole, wrap a ribbon around the crook to hang it.
Stars: Shine bright with a simple star. Make it your own by cutting out the center, using hombre paint, or using a simple dipped paint. Or all three. Go big or go home.
Monogram it: Use cookie cutters to make salt dough into your family’s initials.
Make It Shine: If the matte look of plain salt dough isn’t your thing, you can glitter it up and cover with a shiny decoupage glue. After painting and before decoupage is also the perfect time to add any type of embellishments to your design. Try adding sequins, microbeads, and metallics for extra bling.
Gingerbread everywhere: Make legions of gingerbread men and women march all around your holiday decorations. For a neat garlanded look, try your hand at punching two holes in the chest to run twine through. #
Can the Christmas Tree
Wait … wait … wait. Before you start yelling. We don’t mean completely. We’re just offering these creative alternatives to the traditional evergreen. Or maybe in addition to, if you have enough space. And who doesn’t when it comes to Christmas?
A-Frame Tree: Make a simple triangle or A-frame with wood and line up rungs or slats through the inside for a simple, minimalist way to display your favorite ornaments. Make several in different sizes for added interest.
Terra-Cotta Tree: Make a tree out of gradually smaller stacked terra cotta pots. A bit of garland and some mini ornaments make this one a winner.
Pinecone Tree: Stack up a pyramid of pinecones for a rustic, woodsy take on a tree. Scent the cones with essential oils and give them a brushing of metallic paint for even more oomph.
Pallet Tree: Cut tree shapes out of a pallet for a modern country tree. Use additional pallet boards to make its own stand. Decorate with paint and evergreen sprigs.
Tomato Cage Tree: A simple tomato cage can make a bold architectural statement with some garland and the right tree topper. Group several together for a stunning display.
Yarn Trees: Wrap florist cones in yarn for a warm and fuzzy take on a Christmas tree. You can buy varying sizes and group together for the perfect cuddly centerpiece.
Succulent Tree: Arrange succulents into the shape of a tree. If you’re lucky enough to live in a warm climate, you can keep this guy going all year long.