One of the best ways to keep the holidays cheap is to rely on your own creativity to carry the season. Start today by making and sending handmade cards to your friends and family, HGTV suggests. With a few simple materials — paper, glue, felt, glitter and so on — you can easily make cards that look like they cost a fortune. Try creating a Santa card with a cotton-ball beard, for example, a winter scene with glitter “snow” or a card that turns into an ornament. Whatever you craft, it will be inexpensive and fun to spread a little bit of holiday cheer.
Decorating for the holidays doesn’t have to be a chore — or break the bank — if you get creative. Even small spaces can share the joy of the season with DIY projects such as a tabletop or twig tree, Good Housekeeping says. Evergreen garlands and clippings can bring the colors and scent of the season into the home, while a handmade “tree” or card display can serve as the focal point of the room. Don’t forget to place candles and string lights strategically throughout the house to make the holidays feel warm and magical, the story says, even as you keep an eye on your budget.
If you’re handy with tools, there’s no reason to let #clutter get the best of you. The DIY Network suggests 20 clever projects that can help homeowners cut the #clutter and maximize storage space, including under-stair drawers and nooks, built-in bookshelves, bicycle wall racks, drawer organizers, and crafting and study stations. “If there’s a nook or cranny not being used, then there’s plenty of room to expand,” the story says — and all you’ll need to complete most projects is a few pieces of wood and basic tools such as a drill and screwdriver.
Decorating a large tree for the first time? You may not have enough ornaments to really fill it out. To bring it a distinctive, homey look without spending a lot of money, make your own ornaments. Try making some of the creative ornament suggestions from Woman’s Day such as mini snowglobes, glittery jingle bells or yarn-covered Christmas stars. You can also use “found” twigs to form ornaments or print whimsical family photos to hang on the tree. And you live near the ocean, all you need is a drill and some string to hang oyster or beachcombed shells on your tree.
Air conditioning is a boon when summer’s hot, humid weather becomes unbearable and you need to escape the sun for the most scorching parts of the day. But if you don’t have central air or a window unit (and the local movie theater or coffee shop is closed for the night), you can try making a homemade air conditioner using a fan and a Styrofoam cooler full of ice. LifeHacker also suggests turning window fans toward the outdoors to draw the heat out of your home at night and putting your sheets in the freezer before bed. Also, avoid cooking anything on the stove or in the oven; it’s cookout season anyway!