Piles of Christmas catalogs have been showing up in our mailbox for over a month now. So many dead trees, so much Kristmas Krap to buy. But part of me also loves them. The beautiful Christmas trees, the artfully-staged feasts. Bright-faced men and women sledding in sweaters, throwing snowballs. I know they’re hoping to use my Christmas mood to sell me stuff I wouldn’t otherwise buy. And it used to work. But that was before I had a plan. This year, I’m turning those catalogs into something better: a Christmas wreath. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1. Put yourself on the do not mail list. Trust me, it’ll change your life, and lighten your recycling bin. It takes a few weeks to kick in, so it won’t solve your problem this year, but think how nice you’ll feel next year.
Step 2. Gather all the catalogs in one place. Cut out all the images you like. Don’t judge, just cut. If it draws your eye, it gets cut out.
Step 3. Grab a piece of cardboard (cutting out the side of a shipping box works), and two plates from the kitchen, one small and one large. Take a pencil and place your big plate face down on the piece of cardboard. Trace the outline of the plate. Now take the small plate and center it in the circle you’ve made. Trace its outline. You should now have something that looks like a wreath. Cut it out with some scissors. If you have trouble cutting out the center, I find it’s easier to stab a hole in the middle, then work your way out to the edge.
Step 4. Assemble the images you like around the wreath. It’s fine if they overlap. If what you like are the colors or the patterns, you don’t have to be wedded to the images themselves — cut out shapes or blocks of color that you like and use them as background, or cut them into strips and alternate to make candy-cane stripes. Go wild. With collages, there is no right answer. It just needs to make you happy.
Step 5. Glue everything into place — I used a glue stick, but regular glue applied sparingly works just fine.
Step 6. Find a piece of ribbon or string from that bag of used wrapping paper we all have stashed in the back of the closet somewhere. (In a pinch, the handle of a gift bag will do.) Cut a small length, about 4 to 6 inches. This is going to be your hook for hanging the wreath. Take some packing tape, duct tape or even scotch tape and tape the two ends of your ribbon firmly to the back of the wreath at the place you’ve decided is the top.
Step 7. Hang it up! If your door is occupied with a real wreath, hang it in a neglected corner, or better yet, give it to someone who needs some holiday cheer.
Step 8. Take a smug, masterful look at what’s left of the catalogs and dump them in the recycling bin. Who me, confuse Christmas cheer with buying Kristmas Krap? Not this year!
Note: this activity is best done with company, especially kids, and possibly a cocktail. If you make them with grownups, they will issue the disclaimer that they are not creative. Don’t you believe it — if you let them be, they’ll get really into it, and end up with proud grins on their faces.