While everyone was out fighting the Black Friday crowds I was in crafting heaven - pleasantly sprucing up the artificial Christmas wreath decorations for the front of our house.
And, I have to say, I was actually reveling in the fact that after 20 years my artificial wreaths are still as good as new. I thought to myself, "Now that's a GOOD BUY."
I dare say most of the items purchased on Black Friday would not be as good as new 20 years from now.
The first few years that we lived in our house hubby and I would go out on Black Friday and buy fresh evergreen wreaths and fresh evergreen garland to decorate the front of our house for the holidays. The fresh greens always smelled great and looked beautiful but, they weren't cheap. I was always amazed at how expensive fresh greens were.
When we first started decorating the outside of the house we decided to not only decorate the house, but to decorate the three blue spruce trees that we have at the front of our house. Back then the blue spruce trees were small enough so we could decorate them. We used three blue flood lights and shone them up through the blue spruce creating a wonderful snowy effect.
We put small electric candles in the windows, hung fresh garland around our front door and lamp post, and hung four fresh evergreen wreaths with red bows on the front of the house.
We also added two large grapevine deer that my brother and I had found on a shopping trip to Sturbridge one year to the front yard. We quickly learned that we should stake them into the ground so the wind wouldn't blow them over.
White flood lights were used to light up the front of the house and when everything was on the house just looked so festive. We both loved it, but it was a lot of work to get it looking the way it did.
While we loved the fresh evergreen wreathes we both thought that the wreaths could be a little bigger as they really couldn't be seen from the street. However, we both knew that the cost of buying fresh evergreen wreaths the size we needed was just too expensive.
So, one year we decided to buy four very large artificial wreaths and decorate them with pine-cones, red tie berries, and small multi-colored glass bulbs. So, off to Michaels I went to buy the largest artificial evergreen wreaths I could find. Fortunately they had four 3-feet to 4-foot wreaths that I knew would be perfect. I bought four of the large wreaths and bought four smaller artificial wreaths that I had in mind to use elsewhere.
I also bought red tie berries, some multi-colored glass bulbs, wide red with gold trim wired velvet ribbon, and some other silk floral greenery I thought might be nice. I had in mind to create a pine-cone cluster on each side of the wreath but didn't need to buy any pine-cones as I had plenty of my own that I had collected myself and dried. I had already spray painted some of the pine-cones silver, some gold, and some with clear acrylic to preserve them.
When I brought the wreaths home I decided to decorate them right away. I made four large bows with multiple loops out of the red and gold trimmed wide wired ribbon and fastened one to the top center of each wreath. I added pine-cone clusters to the sides and bottom of each wreath and adorned these with the red tie berries. The small multi-colored glass bulbs were added throughout the wreath for decorative affect. The wreaths looked wonderful and I loved them and thought they would be a really good addition to our Christmas decorations.
We put these wreaths out for many, many years along with the blue flood lights, window candles, white flood lights and grapevine deer. It was always a LOT of work, but the end result was always so pretty to look at.
While the wreaths themselves looked beautiful every year and could definitely be seen from the street we both thought that, despite the flood lights, the decorations on them could only be appreciated when viewed up close. However, we weren't about to make a change so they would just have to do.
As the years went on the outdoor Christmas decorations started to change. We stopped lighting up the blue spruce trees as they just got too big. Eventually we stopped using flood lights to light up the house as it was just too much work. One year we stopped using the candles in the windows. And, several years ago my sister took the grapevine deer to her house as we weren't using them anymore and she thought they'd look great on her farm.
When we put the artificial wreaths away last year we realized that the years of being outside had finally taken their toll on the red berries and small multi-colored glass bulbs. Many of the red tie berries had corroded and many of the glass bulbs had broken. The pine-cones I had collected from the yard looked as good as new as did the artificial wreaths.
We decided that we would need to spruce them up before we could put them out next year. So, this year, we purchased several boxes of large multi-colored plastic bulbs that were 3" - 4" around, and some beaded swirly silver and red accents for the sides of each wreath. I thought they would add some wonderful color to the pine-cone clusters that were still on the wreath. We wanted large bulbs as we definitely wanted them to be seen from the street. And, we wanted them to be plastic so they would last.
It took several hours to update the decorations on the wreaths. By the time I was finished my hands and lower arms were not too happy with me and ready to go on strike. My hands were covered with tiny wire cuts from working with the artificial evergreen wreaths, wired floral, and plastic bulbs. However, when I was done both hubby and I were really pleased with the results. My hands might not have been - I was.
So, we took our newly decorated wreaths outside and put them up. We were thrilled with the results. The wreaths looked great and the 3" - 4" bulbs could definitely be seen from the street.
Twenty years ago I had bought the four artificial wreaths from Michaels for $20.00 or so each. It cost another $20 or so for the red tie berries and small multi-colored glass bulbs for a total of $100.00 or so for the 4 decorated wreaths. If you divide the cost of the wreaths ($100.00) by the length of time they lasted (twenty years) that translates into an annual cost of $5.00 a year for the wreaths to decorate the outside of our house. That's a GREAT buy. I dare say we would have spent a LOT more than that for the fresh evergreen wreaths. We probably would have had to mortgage the house by now!
Twenty years later and the pine-cones and artificial wreaths were still as good as new. I didn't need to replace them. Hopefully, we'll get twenty years out of the new decorations. My guess is in twenty years we'll have to replace the plastic decorations, but the pine-cones and artificial wreaths will still be as good as new.
Now that's a good buy.