In January 2015, 89-year-old Neil Olson of Wausau, Wisconsin set the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest-standing Christmas tree. Olson, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, put his tree up in 1974 after two of his six sons had gone off to fight in Vietnam. He vowed to leave the tree up until they made it home. His eldest son Barry was injured in Vietnam and is now disabled and living in Washington, and still hasn’t been able to make it back to Wausau, though he remains in touch with the family. Olson left the tree up in the hope Barry would be able to make it home someday. He says the tree is like family now and he would hate to take it down.
You probably won’t break Olson’s record for the world’s longest-standing Christmas tree, but there are still ways you can use your holiday decorations all year long, whether for sentimental reasons, to keep the spirit of the holidays alive or just to save money. Here are three ways to repurpose your holiday decorations for use throughout the year.
Create a Tree for All Seasons
Instead of just leaving your Christmas tree up all year like Olson does, you can repurpose it as a tree for all seasons, suggests Around the House with Matt and Shari host Shari Hiller. The inspiration for Hiller’s tree for all seasons was born one year when she couldn’t bring herself to take it down after remembering how much work it took to put up. She decided instead to change her ornaments periodically over the course of the year so that she wouldn’t have to take her tree down.
On January 20, Hiller changed her tree so that it looked white and sparkling like fallen snow. In February, her Christmas tree became a Valentine’s Day tree with red hearts and doilies. In March, shamrocks and gold went up. April brought bird decorations to celebrate the coming of spring. May continued the celebration of spring with flowers and picket fences. June celebrated a marine theme with ships and nautical flags. July transformed the tree into a patriotic display of red, white and blue. August was a month for birthdays in Hiller’s family, so she made a wishes tree with hats and gifts. September saw back-to-school decorations on display, including a graduation hat on top of the tree. Halloween and Thanksgiving rounded out the rest of the year. Holiday cards could be used to invite your friends and family.
Reuse Your Christmas Lights
Your Christmas lights can be reused throughout the year, too, says Brit + Co designer Kelly Bryden. Bryden turns her leftover Christmas lights into homemade marquee signs to decorate her house.
To make a sign for her bar, Bryden used a large wood board as background, printable letters spelling out the letters “BAR,” black and white paint, Velcro ties and Christmas lights. She then marked and drilled holes around the perimeter of the letters where she could attach the lights with the Velcro ties, used the white paint to wash the wood and used the black paint to paint the letters. Her bar now has its own homemade neon sign. Bryden used a similar technique to make a constellation display for her living room.
Turn Your Holiday Tablecloths Into Perennial Decorations
Holiday tablecloths are another item you can use year-round. Apart from using it as a tablecloth throughout the year, a linen tablecloth can be used to make items such as reusable paper towels, bowl covers, rugs, bath mats and home decor, says homeschooling site PatAndCandy.com.
Your holiday tablecloth doesn’t have to be linen to come in handy on other occasions, either. Recycle Nation contributor Wendy Gabriel reuses her plastic tablecloths for Halloween costumes.