Alex has spent much of the past four holiday seasons, from 2008 to this year, in a hotel room in Kharkov. While the perks of maids and room service are nice, it’s hard to feel homey in such a place for long, and particularly when there’s nothing seasonal in the decor. Aurora Hotel has a nice tree in the lobby, but 1) that’s it, 2) the entire tree is decorated in purple–nice, but it doesn’t really scream “Merry Christmas,” and 3) it’s really a “New Year’s tree,” since Ukraine flips the two holidays. (Since Soviet times, Christmas has been less significant, a time when you go out with friends–New Year’s Eve is the big family holiday with decorations & presents. The upside is that the decorations still go up in early December, and don’t come down until the end of January–my kind of seasonal decor!) Here’s my favorite seasonal decor in Kharkov, up on the large columns inside the train station: splatted Santas!
On Thanksgiving, I was frustrated by not having any seasonal decor, but I also didn’t want to go out and buy a whole bunch. I didn’t want to spend the money, and we have about 10 tubs full of Christmas decor at home (yes, after The Great Purge of Stuff I did this year) and I don’t want to accumulate more.
So I searched Ye Olde Awesome Interwebbes, bought some office supplies, and “splurged” on tinsel, tiny ornaments, & glitter glue (probably $6 total). Here are the results, and the websites I used for inspiration. (Click on the images or descriptions to be taken to all the photos on Flickr.)
- magazine Christmas tree
- paper snowflakes (basics)
- paper snowflakes (includes angel snowflake design)
- origami star (tree topper)
For the “Merry Christmas” message, I hoarded the paper doilies that the hotel brings us with hard-boiled eggs or small bowls of yogurt. They come in two sizes, so I mixed them up randomly between letters for a whimsical look. For the lettering, I googled “merry christmas typography design” for inspiration. I then sketched out the message with pencil on white paper, and traced each letter onto the doilies (they’re thin, so it was easy to trace) with red and green gel pens. The hardest part was taping them all together, because the scotch tape here is rice-paper-thin and I’m still not entirely used to my lengthy manicure.
For awesome holiday playlists (music), check out our ex-roomie Claire’s ideas–I’ve been enjoying them!