November 25, 2009

"Bells are ringin', children singin', all is merry and bright" are words from a popular Christmas carol and also the spirit of a traveling road show in Eastern Kentucky. The Merry and Bright Traveling Road Show is designed to show participants ways to make the holidays simple and creative.

University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension agents for family and consumer sciences in eight Eastern Kentucky counties teamed up and took their recipes, craft and decorating ideas on the road, making an appearance in each county over a two-week period.

"It's actually a great way for our clientele to get ideas for the holidays," said Lee County agent Crystal Osborne. "Also we try to include cost-saving ideas for doing things."

Osborne showed the audience how to use previous years' Christmas greeting cards to create scrapbook page embellishments, gift tags and even homemade greeting card designs. She emphasized that by recycling cards in holiday decorating, consumers can save money and the environment.

Natasha Lucas, family and consumer sciences agent in Owsley County, said the crew has been doing the show for several years, and it's easily one of the most well-attended events they offer. She showed participants how to make simple wall decorations using cardboard coasters from local dollar-stores, ribbon and colorful paper.

"These are simple, easy things that you can do for the holidays that are not going to take a lot of time, they are not going to cost a lot of money, and you can come learn where to find the supplies," she said. "It's not something you have to go across the world to find."

Agents compiled a couple booklets of recipes, craft how-to's and other ideas for participants to take home.