When I first bought my house, I couldn’t afford much in the way of Christmas decorations. Actually, when I first bought my house, I couldn’t afford much in the way of food or furniture, but it’s much easier to find a chair on the side of the road than a mercury glass Santa Claus. And my mom was always an easy source for food.
So my first couple of years here, the Christmas decorations consisted of a lot of cheap dollar-store Christmas balls in bowls around the house and pine cones. A lot of pine cones. When in doubt (or debt), add a pine cone. That’s my Christmas motto. They’re really inexpensive if you buy them, plus you can also find them for free on the ground. Regardless of where you get them, pine cones have a surprising warmth and elegance about them after you've scraped the worms and dirt off. The pine cone: nature's little Christmas decorating miracle.
The dollar-store balls are gone, but I still have the bins of pine cones from when I couldn’t afford a lot of Christmas decorations. And I still use those pine cones every single year. Some of them are store-bought, and some of them were found, but all of them find a place in my house every holiday season.