If Christmas is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, then the week after has to be the Most Depressing Time of the Year. Taking down all those decorations leaves our once-cozy and festive house feeling cold and bare — just in time for months of icy weather and long, dark nights. A few years ago, I finally decided I had had about enough.
Enter Winter Wonderland.
Several years ago, I took advantage of the after-Christmas sales and bought up every icicle, every snowflake, every silver or crystal or mercury glass deeply discounted winter-y decoration I could find. I also hit up Party City for strands of paper and silver foil snowflakes and snowflake window clings (also at bargain basement prices after the holidays). While the kids were at school, I decorated their bedrooms with the snowflakes.
Flameless candle and mercury candle holders are big sellers at Christmas time and I’ve gotten some incredible deals on them after the holidays. I put flameless tea lights in them and turn on the candles all over the house — It makes for a wonderfully cozy feeling when it gets dark outside.
Winter Wonderland offers a chance to get creative, based on what you already have and on the deals you find! This silver mesh was $.50 per roll after Christmas. I added cotton ‘snow’ from a craft store, white and silver snow ornaments, and clear lights from Christmas to decorate the staircase banister.
Here’s another example of an after-Christmas clearance find. I believe this lantern was $4, complete with a flameless candle inside! I’m only mad I didn’t buy more!
On the dining room table, I used more of the silver mesh as a table runner and added fake snow, silver and white pinecones and wicker balls, and two pretty ice branch candle holders I found on sale at TJ Maxx.
One of my favorite finds has been this wire reindeer, which we found at an antique market for $15 several years ago. At Christmas, he gets a red bow around his neck. I leave him up for Winter Wonderland and change the red bow to a silver one, and add a glass icicle.
Our front door gets the Winter Wonderland treatment as well — $15 on after-Christmas clearance at Kmart.com!
I add a little to our Winter Wonderland collection each year and never spend more than $20 or $30 on new decorations. It makes those after-Christmas sales much more fun and it has also changed the way I do holiday decorating in general. Now, I often hit up the post-holiday sales for great decorations and put them in the box for the next year. It’s so much fun to pull something brand new out of a storage box that I’ve generally forgotten I bought (for next to nothing) the year before. Plus, since all the decorations are still up when I buy it, I know whether I have a place or a need for it.
The best part of Winter Wonderland came last year, when my daughter said that our Winter Wonderland decorations are her favorites, even outranking Christmas! We go all out for Christmas, so this was a wonderful surprise. The kids get really excited about Winter Wonderland each year and so do I — The decorations have completely eliminated that depressed feeling I get when taking down the Christmas stuff. Winter Wonderland is easier for that reason, as well– I put it up as I’m taking down Christmas, so I get it all done on the same day. When February rolls around, I add hearts and pink/red lights to our winter decorations.
Start keeping an eye out now for deals on snow/winter-themed holiday decorations– It’s a popular Christmas theme so you will find them everywhere you look!