10 (Re)Uses: Holiday Ornaments


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'Tis the season for decorating, and ornaments are a quick, easy-on-the-budget way to add festive color and sparkle to almost any room in the house. Available in vast quantities of nearly every color, they’re easy to get and match to your decor. Here are ten ways to use ornaments beyond the Christmas tree.

  1. On the mantle 
    Above the fireplace is a great place to add more decor. Save the trimmings from your Christmas tree or get some from the seller and nestle ornaments in the branches and add lights for more sparkle. Variations on a color or shape add interest.
  2. In bowls
    Heap ornaments in a bowl for instant festivity.
  3. As gift tags
    Write the recipient’s name on a matte ornament or simply tie one to the gift for an extra gift and decoration.
  4. As a gift container (but not for children)
    Fold paper money lengthwise, then roll it into a tight cylinder. Remove the top from a clear, unbreakable ornament (we found them for fifty cents each at Michaels). Slide the cylinder(s) in and shake. Replace the top and watch the recipient scratch his head and beg for tweezers and a toothpick. (Add glitter and/or confetti if you’re feeling particularly evil.)
  5. In a centerpiece
    Jazz up plain greenery and few flowers with a scattering of ornaments.
  6. In a lighted display
    Run a strand of lights into the bottom of a large jar or vase. Add ornaments around the strand, pulling more lights down between ornaments. Drape the cord over the back of the container, using an ornament to hide it. Conversely, use a battery operated set of lights if you don’t like a visible cord (Target has battery-powered lights starting at $3.99).
  7. Suspended from a chandelier or the ceiling
    Hang ornaments from a chandelier using fishing line or coordinating ribbon. Stagger the heights of the ornaments to add interest. Adorn the fixture with tulle or garland to hide the knots. No chandelier? Tape or putty some string to the ceiling (but do a test patch first to be sure you won’t damage it) to let ornaments dangle above guests. WARNING: Use light, unbreakable ornaments for this, to be on the safe side. No one wants to get knocked in the head with a porcelain Santa.
  8. With candles
    Use them in hurricanes to surround the bottom of a narrow candle.
  9. Make a wreath
    Affix ornaments to a wreath form for a custom decoration.
  10. Hanging from curtain rods
    Tie ornaments to curtain rods with decorative ribbon.  

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