The Christmas season is fast approaching. This month, let’s look at some easy and affordable ways to get your home dressed for the holidays. First and foremost, decide what your overall style will be. For example, do you prefer rustic chic or sparkle and shine? Traditional colors of red and green, or modern takes on the colours of the season, such as pink, purple, and lime green? Regardless of whichever appeals to you, carry it throughout your home and even outdoors. Your home will look and feel more authentically you.
Outdoors, be sure your front entry makes a great first impression. Hanging a beautiful wreath, garland, and holiday lights are classics for a reason. If you have a country feel to your home, drape your front entrance in natural greenery such as white pine, if you’re fortunate enough to own some you can snag. Even artificial garland can look terrific. If you’re more contemporary or prefer lots of sparkle, think more gold, silver, and white – with colors more bright than subdued.
Or instead of a wreath for the front door, how about a pair of silver bells or a cluster of ornaments for a different look? Even a few simple evergreen branches gathered together with a large plaid ribbon welcomes your guests with some seasonal spirit.
If you have a front porch or stairs leading to your entry, buckets and planters filled with birch branches, greenery, berries and ornaments make for a beautiful winter display.
Pallet art is also big now; look online for many ideas – pallet signs can be used all year long as well as at the holidays. Think about making a welcome sign to greet your guests. Or, if you have a welcome mat, be sure to look at it now. Does it have daisies on it, or is it worn and weary? This would be a great time to invest in one designed for this time of year. We can get so used to seeing ours that we no longer notice frayed edges and faded artwork, and may not have noticed it depicts the wrong season.
Your mailbox is the perfect place from which to hang an oversized ornament. Tie a bright red or gold bow to it to complete the look. Or instead, wrap it in greenery or even red and white candy stripe ribbon. Silver bells also work well here. But don’t skimp on size, especially at your mailbox. Go big or go home.
If you’re more of a traditionalist, Buffalo plaid is huge this year. It’s a bold look, so use it sparingly but do carry it throughout the home. Sofa pillows, table runners, and bedroom throws are great ways to use this pattern. If it’s not for you, Christmas pillows come in literally all shapes and sizes – and range from beautiful to funny.
If you have a fireplace, don’t ignore it – even if you don’t plan on using it. A basket of logs, or even a display of candles or potted poinsettias inside the fireplace make it part of your holiday decor. Drape your mantle in greenery, hang stockings from it, and even consider an indoor wreath sized appropriately to the wall space above the mantle. If you don’t have a mantle, consider installing one. Just give Mike at D4 Construction a call at +1 250-572-4812 to have one installed.
If you don’t have a fireplace but do have a staircase, consider the same greenery and stockings along the bannister. It’s easy and affordable for most. And even small potted poinsettias on the visible steps will look stately and classically Christmas. Be aware, however, that poinsettias are poisonous to animals, so if you own pets, this shouldn’t be considered. While they are not poisonous to children, mistletoe is – so be sure not to decorate with that if you will have children in the house.
If you have clear glass sidelights along your front door, and a transom over it, hang several shiny snowflakes which will not only carry you through the holidays, but through the entire cold weather season.
The Christmas tree is a huge decoration in your home. If you’re looking for something different, think about changing out the classic green one for a white one. Or even if you love the green, think about doing a small white tree in another area of the house, topped with a snowman head and large black ‘buttons’ going down the front for a fun and whimsical look.
If you typically don’t get around to wrapping presents until the last week of the year, wrap half a dozen larger empty boxes in different sizes and wrapping paper now to keep under the tree as part of your décor. When you do have the real presents wrapped and ready to go, remove the fake ones and put them away where you’ll be able to use them year after year as decor. This way, your tree will have pretty presents beneath it throughout the gift-giving season and not just those last few days before Christmas.
But what if you’re in a small apartment without the room for a full-size tree? Some tree lots will have decent sized tree tops that were cut off for customers and discarded. These can be relegated to status as Christmas trees themselves. Mounted on a crate covered in some fabric, this pint-sized conifer can be your own Charlie Brown tree. Another idea to consider: create your own jute tree or pine cone tree. Typically, these are made on small Styrofoam cone bases found at craft stores. The smaller footprint of an apartment doesn’t have to keep you from having a Christmas tree. These are easy to create; just do a quick online search for instructions. There are many!
Don’t forget your holiday table. There’s no reason to ignore it until the big day. Dress it with the rustic charm of a thicker slice of wood beneath an oversized vase filled with greens, berries, and pinecones. Or instead, dress the table with mercury glass pedestals, topped with urns of poinsettias and greenery. Even cranberries in a vase surrounding a pillar candle can make a stunning centerpiece, and glass pieces can easily be found for very little cost at dollar stores.
If you have a chandelier above your dining room table, consider hanging pinecones or ornaments from it, depending on the rest of your décor. You can easily find beautiful and fairly inexpensive winter-themed table runners for your table, too – an easy and simple way to dress things up in your dining room.
Want a fun way to make some place cards for your holiday dinner guests? Purchase a pouch of Scrabble™-type letter tiles and create them yourself. Or purchase several thin, smaller diameter slices of wood, paint the centers with chalkboard paint, and write names on them with chalk.
Don’t ignore the other areas of your home, either. Small touches throughout will tie your holiday look together. With just a small amount of usable counter space in your bathrooms, you can bring in some seasonal style. Fill a bowl with pinecones (natural or sprayed gold and silver) or, if you prefer, bright and shiny ornaments which work just as well. Add a couple of cheery Christmas hand towels and some fragrant candles to complete the look.
For your guests’ bedroom, a couple of small additions are enough to bring in some seasonal warmth – a holiday pillow, a plaid blanket, or some candles. Don’t forget to change out delicate floral arrangements with vases and greenery more appropriate for this time of year. Even aromatic rosemary trimmed to the shape of a small Christmas tree is popular – and often can be found this time of year in big box home improvement stores. It will be the perfect holiday touch to your guest room.
In your kitchen, some simmering potpourri on the stove will make it smell amazing, and is so simple to make. Here’s how:
Put the following items into a small to medium size pot:
- one orange, sliced
- a teaspoon of whole cloves
- a couple of cinnamon sticks
- a handful of cranberries
- a sprig or two of rosemary
- along with 3 cups of water
Bring to a simmer, keeping an eye on it to replenish the water as needed. Just keep it simmering throughout the day and refrigerate the entire mixture without draining the liquid when done. You’ll be able to use it again for up to two weeks. For a slightly sweeter aroma, add a few drops of vanilla.
Some beautifully decorated cookies in a clear glass cookie jar, or a gingerbread house proudly displayed, make for a timeless holiday decoration (until eaten, of course!) and are not as hard as they may seem, if you’ve not made them before. There are countless tutorials for both cookies and the gingerbread house online.
And finally, Christmas cards you’ve received can be displayed and used as part of your home’s decoration. String them and hang across the front of a china cabinet, use clothespins to hang them from pretty ribbon beneath the mantle, or display them on the moulding that surrounds various doorways around your home. At the very least, if you have a small table in your foyer, have a pretty plate on which to hold your holiday cards which in itself makes for a lovely and colourful display.
And while technically it doesn’t fall into the category of decorating, consider playing Christmas music this time of year. Why just listen when you’re traveling in the car? If you enjoy it, listen at home, as well.
Just using a few of these ideas will transform your house into a festive holiday home. And if you decorate early, you will enjoy them longer.