Decking the halls
Decorator shares ideas for Christmas décor at home
Written by Laura Purvis
Silver and gold. Snowflakes and sleds (not here but somewhere so I hear!). Chestnuts and open fires. Holiday parties and open houses.
The stores have been filled with holiday decorations for a couple months, but now is the time to start thinking about some serious decorating. Even if you put your tree up the day after Halloween, it’s never too late to start enhancing your holiday décor.
Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year, and I tend to go a little nuts with my decorating, but hey, it only comes once a year. Go crazy!
For inspiration, here are some sparkling ideas to inspire your creativity.
-Make a good first impression – Dress up the front door with a beautiful wreath or colorful holiday arrangement. Tie ball ornaments onto the wreath and add some small wrapped presents and a bow. Light the walkway with luminaries or outdoor lighting. You don’t have to be Clark Griswold, but the possibilities for exterior lighting are endless.
-Interesting entry – The foyer deserves special attention and you want this area to feel warm and cozy. The front hall must be welcoming with good lighting and perhaps a holiday arrangement on the hall table. Mirrors and candlelight will brighten a foyer nicely, and a rich oriental rug can add a luxurious touch. If the entry is large enough, a small (or large!) tree can make a huge impact.
-Let there be light – Soft glowing light is complementary to you and your guests. Once
you’ve turned the lights down low, bring out the candles by the boxful. From tall and tapered to short and stout, candles set a celebratory tone. For the most dramatic impact, group candles just as you would any other collectible, and display them on a silver platter.
-Haul out the holly – When choosing plants to help add holiday cheer, think beyond the
traditional poinsettias. Fill metallic vases with bouquets of fresh flowers and holly. It’s easier than you think to arrange fresh flowers in a vase or bowl in the holiday colors. Local grocery stores have a great selection of fresh flowers already grouped together. All you have to do is choose a vessel. Or choose beautifully shaped topiaries covered with pepper berries.
-Precious metals – Silver is still the metal of choice and you can incorporate it in a number of ways, including candlesticks, picture frames and decorative boxes. Don’t hesitate to mix things up a bit. In formal rooms, combine your silver pieces with gold or polished brass accessories. Or take a more casual approach by blending pewter, copper and brass.
-A feast for the eye – The dining room itself should be a visual feast. Drape the chandelier with pine garland or holly. Shiny ornaments hung with ribbon from the chandelier makes a spectacular statement of elegance and beauty. Surprise your guests with wrapped gifts on their salad plates. And for a cohesive feeling, incorporate an element of your room’s design on the table. If your room features a mirror, use mirrored chargers beneath each plate
-Ornamental accents – Christmas tree ornaments are not just for trees anymore. Display some on the coffee table in an oversized bowl or clear glass urn. You can even use round glass balls as place cards, and write each guest’s name on each and set them around the dining table. And red and green come in many shades and hues. Bright lime green and an orange red make for a funky and unexpected color pop yet still keeping with the holiday colors.
-Be my guest – Is your guest room ready for holiday guests? Is there a luggage stand or space in the closet? Are there plenty of pillows? Is the bedside table big enough to accommodate a lamp, reading materials and a carafe of water? Don’t forget the little extras such as fresh fruit, potpourri and a basket of toiletries. And be sure to include a few holiday touches like greenery or a small gift or even a travel-themed tree with an ornament or two for your guests to take with them.
-The wonder of wreaths – Whether you prefer wreaths made of natural materials or some of the lovely permanent florals on the market today, wreaths are an absolute must for any holiday home. In addition to their traditional place on the front door or over the mantle, smaller wreaths can be used as curtain tiebacks or napkin rings.
-Festive fruits and vegetables – Visit the produce aisle of your grocery store for unique holiday decorations. For example, spray-paint walnuts and gourds in silver of gold and display them in a decorative basket. Or fill a large crystal bowl with red and green apples. Oranges wrapped with ribbon and secured with cloves and placed in a decorative dish make a beautiful and fragrant display. You can also tuck sprigs of fresh magnolia leaves or pine boughs in with your artificial greenery to make it look fuller and give it that fresh-cut fragrance.
-Set your own style – Make your tree an integral part of your decorating scheme and a reflection of your personality. I have a different themed tree in almost every room in my house. My boys have a small tree in their rooms with ornaments that reflect their interests and passions. Our family room tree has all our family ornaments that the boys made all through their school years. The tree in the dining room has sterling silver ornaments and is classic formal Christmas. And being from the South, my husband has a football themed tree in his man-cave with his favorite pro and college teams’ colors!
-Wrap it up with ribbon – Ribbon can be used for much more than wrapping presents. Use French wire ribbons, in a variety of widths, to tie bows on your trees. Or instead of a garland or greenery, wrap your banister with ribbon. You can also hang holiday cards from a mantle or shelf using narrow ribbons in holiday colors.
-Holiday art – The holidays can be a great time to change up your art. There are plenty of options for holiday themed art for your home, but try to think out of the box. A trio of
greenery wreathes with burlap or velvet bows can take the place of that oil painting over
the sofa. Replace that mirror with sconces and red or white candles and add a bow. If your family likes to gather in the kitchen (and whose doesn’t?), make sure there are
attractive accessories such as bowls of fruits, candies, pastries or flowers in view.
(NOT FOR CONSUMPTION)
1 qt. pineapple juice 1 qt. water
3 3-inch sticks cinnamon 16 whole cloves
1 qt. apple cider 1 t allspice
4 pieces ginger 1-2 t. pickling spice
Combine all ingredients in a large cooking kettle and bring to boil. Simmer all day on very low heat. Add more juice and water as evaporation occurs.
Keep a kettle of Aroma Punch (recipe below) on your range top to provide that special holiday aroma throughout your home.
Our Question of the Month comes from Carol, and she writes: “My fireplace is old and outdated. What can I do to freshen it up and bring it into the 21st Century?”
Great question, Carol! Most homeowners cannot afford to replace or reface a fireplace, so paint and some new accessories can make a real difference. With this fireplace, we painted the brick a contrasting color to the walls and added new artwork and some new accessories. This is a quick and easy way to spruce up that old tired fireplace and make it a focal point again.
Keep those questions coming! I hope your family has a wonderfully blessed and happy holiday season, and I’ll see you in 2017!