Time and money are often at a premium this time of year. Adding festive decorations to your home during the winter holidays doesn't have to break the budget, or take forever. Take a fresh approach with a little creativity and the help of Mother Nature.
Before starting your decorating projects, check your own yard for evergreen resources with color or texture, such as boxwood, holly, ivy, and junipers. Evergreens such as pine, spruce and redwood are great for decorating banisters, mantels, entryways and tables. Pairing evergreens with bright citrus fruits like lemons, limes and oranges as well as deep red pomegranates and berries create a natural, beautiful, holiday theme.
Think about your color theme. You don't have to stick to the traditional holiday colors of red and green. Try brick, orange or deep wine tones instead of traditional red. Blue paired with green, gold and silver can create a more contemporary look. Instead of traditional silver and gold, try soft neutrals such as vanilla and mocha, then add a fresh pop of color with eye catching vases, flowers and ribbons.
Decorating Entryways and Stairs
It's a good idea for safety to keep your stair rail clear and functional. Try decorating the spindles/posts instead of the banister rail. Arrange fresh greenery, twigs and berry branches vertically, and secure with floral wire or try ribbon or jute for a beautiful, natural look that's also easy to take down.
Scents of eucalyptus, cinnamon or pine can be welcoming in an entry. Add scented pinecones or interesting seed pods to the arrangement with hot glue or wire. For a casual farmhouse look, start with a group of similar small clay pots. Paint a decorative letter on each spelling a message like "MERRY" or "JOY"; and fill with moss, plants, pinecones, etc. and place on an entry table. You can also use larger clay pots and place on steps, ledges, sills or outside.
When creating centerpieces and tablescapes, be aware of how fragrant your arrangements are. Even subtle scents can be undesirable when enjoying a meal. Keep your arrangements low enough to be able to see across the table to your guests.
Here are a few ideas to spark your creativity:
Use various sizes of clear vases and fill with water, evergreens and fresh cranberries. Place a floating candle on top. Very simple and elegant!
If you have a long table, start with one or more long shallow containers. Add a base of moss and fill with small pinecones and fresh fruits such as pears, lemons, limes, persimmons, and pomegranates.
If you want to add shine and sparkle, add small ornaments, metallic beads, and flameless tea lights.
Add handmade coordinated napkin rings to complete the look by using wired ribbon or jute and attaching finds from your garden like colorful or shiny green leaves. If your winter yard is bare, a trip to the florist may be necessary. Most local florists will offer affordable clippings for decorating.
Around the House
Wreaths and Garland: Start with a natural wreath or garland base such as grapevine, evergreen or eucalyptus. Decide what your theme is and decorate! Here are a few ideas: winter berry branches and fruit, wrapped candy/candy canes, ornaments and bows, walnuts, seed pods and tangerines. Heavy items will need a strong base so reinforce with wire and use hot glue if necessary to secure items. If you want to attach holiday cards, use a hole-punch and floral wire or wired ribbon.
Beverage Bucket: If you use a large metal bucket for beverages, freeze fresh cranberries in a shallow pan with water. Break up and add to the ice bucket for a colorful touch.
Create a pomander by decorating an orange with whole cloves. Using a firm orange, poke small holes with a skewer and then insert a clove into each hole. Create different designs and patterns with the cloves. If you want the pomander to last longer, cover the entire surface with cloves. To hang, tie a ribbon around the middle, or thread a large needle with string and run it through the orange making a large knot at the bottom and a loop at the top.
Cinnamon Vanilla Candles
Start with vanilla scented candles (you can use traditional or flameless) and cinnamon sticks. One method is to place a heavy flat rubber band around the candle and secure the cinnamon vertically with the rubber band. The sticks can be the same height as the candle, shorter, or random (use floral shears to cut). Circle twine over the rubber band until it is covered. If desired for an additional color accent, tie a decorative ribbon on top of the twine. A second method is to simply use hot glue (set at low temperature so the wax does not melt) to attach the cinnamon sticks. Add a finishing touch of ribbon for color if needed.