Sunday, November 22, 2015

Look Ahead December 2: Deck the Halls

Maybe you've already started decorating your home for the holidays. I wait till the day after Thanksgiving and then the gloves come off and Christmas comes out!

That doesn't mean it hasn't been hanging out in the guest room for a few days! With every litter box trip to the basement, up has come a tree or a swag or a box of favorite treasures. And now we throw open the doors and let it escape!

Decking the Halls

Everyone has their own style, their own favorite ornaments and decorations, their "look." Those who have followed my holiday posts in the past know that I tend to go for a lot of trees! There is this part of me that wants to be more minimalist so that everything shows to its best advantage. And this other part that says "I love this stuff and what other time of year can it go out?"

My holiday stuff has been accumulated over years of family and friendships and a little bit of shopping. Pretty much everything I have means something to me. There are the swags I bought when visiting blog friend Diana several years ago, the oldest ornament on the tree, my favorite snow guy -- you get it.

Grandma's ornament -- the oldest on the tree.
NOW is the time to go through the things you want to use this holiday. If you have a lot of things and not a lot of room, you might try rotating. I always feel sad when something didn't make it out for the season, but I try to be strong!

If you are a Santa person and a Snowpeople person, consider bringing out the Snowfolk after the holiday and enjoy them through the winter. It changes things up a bit after the holidays but you still get to enjoy your favorites.

There are so many wonderful decorating sites, this probably won't bring you brand new ideas but I'm offering a few that are worth remembering.

Use collections. If you collect a lot of Santa figures, for example, consider grouping some of them on a mantle or in a vignette. My vintage postcard collection comes out in a number of ways -- on wall display and tucked into branches on one of my trees. My "Whimsical Whittler" ornaments are always grouped together.

Go to the closet. Look at baskets you might use for other purposes and repurpose them for holiday decorations. Extra ornaments can be grouped in a basket or bowl (cut glass or silver is especially pretty!) for a low table arrangement. A punch bowl or silver tray or serving dish also works well for these groupings.

Look up! Use your space. If you have cabinets with some ceiling clearance, whip out a child's chair (or doll chair), add a teddy bear or holiday figure. Maybe a garland would work better for you. Use all the space.

Southern Exposure used a child's chair, square styrofoam wreath form with floral picks, small faux tree in an urn atop a wardrobe to add interest at a higher level.
Don't forget the picture frames. Even if you don't change out your art for the holiday season (which is fun if you have the right thing), you can still add a bit of garland or tinsel to the frames.

I bought this jingle-bell garland with my blog friend Diana during a visit several years ago. It remains one of my decorating treasures, reminding me of a wonderful day.
Wreaths are fun! You don't have to leave them outside -- bring them in. You can easily dress up a dollar store grapevine or faux pine wreath with favorite ornaments. Grab your glue gun and go to town. Faux blooms or greenery are pretty, too.

Southern Exposure: A lighted wreath frames a clock over the mantle while twinkling stars and candle sconces add a glow.
Light it up! The battery operated LED lights are almost a gift from heaven! Lights can go inside cabinets to help make your crystal sparkle, inside a punch bowl filled with sparkling ornaments, around a creche or tucked into your shelves to light a holiday vignette.

Give the Chandelier Some Love! Whether your are using garland or ornaments, any chandelier can get a makeover with a little bit of sparkle! This is another spot where you can use ornaments that don't quite work on your tree.

Simple is lovely! A white ironstone pitcher with red blooms? Elegant and easy. (Carnations are especially inexpensive). Take the poinsettia out of the foil wrapper and put it in one of your garden urns or a fabulous pot -- or even a country basket. Add a few sparkles to a crystal bowl.


Don't Forget the Dollar Store. If you are looking for extra bits to add to wreaths, arrangements or for a bit of emphasis, check out the Dollar Tree. You might find good picks to include in indoor and outdoor arrangements for a bit of sparkle; golden beads to drape on your tree, the stairway banister or from a balcony loft (perhaps along with greens); grapevine wreaths which can be spruced up by wiring greens or boxwood, along with some shiny tree ornaments; or sparkly stars or snowflakes that you can hang on your chandelier (along with ornaments that might not fit on your tree). A dollar store evergreen can look mighty cute in a copper container!

Group by Color. It seems like red and green are prevalent during this season but you may be into blues, purples, gold or silver. Try grouping some of your arrangements by color. Stack holiday-colored quilts and blankets, for example. Or, be like my friends Bob and Roger. They have lots of trees, too. The presents under the gold tree are wrapped in gold papers, the blue tree in shades of blue and so on. It boggles my mind, all that wrapping but it looks beautiful!

Can you do it yourself? Maybe! And it may save you money. Last year my friend Jan and I saw beautiful pots of greens ranging from $40-$60 at the greens market. We returned home filled with ideas. For $5 at a garden store we bought evergreen branches and for very little more, some floral picks at Michael's. I put an old birdhouse to work and Jan brought some red willow branches. In less than an hour we had a $40+ arrangement for under $10. If you already have dirt in the pot from your outdoor planting, you can put the branches directly in the dirt. Otherwise, simple styrofoam will hold it all very well.

If you look at the photo above, in the background you will notice the base of my outdoor tree, which is sitting in a pot. To cover the rocks anchoring the tree, I used a faux evergreen wreath. It looked tons better than years before. Depending on placement (wind is a factor), spanish moss might work well too.

Here's one more quick idea. If wreaths are your thing, you can make a very pretty "Angel Wings" wreath in about ten minutes. Take a styrofoam wreath form and wrap it with one or two white feather boas (or whatever color you choose). Secure with T-pins or floral wire. It can be embellished with ornaments, hung on the wall or used on a table as pictured. Total cost under $10.

Some of these tips (and photos) were inspired by a holiday visit to Southern Exposure; others were ideas I grew up with or encountered along the way through any number of sources -- friends, magazines, my own imagination.

I have a collection of holiday decorating ideas from Southern Exposure, many requiring little expense. The list is far too long to include in entirety and some wouldn't make sense without having seen the examples but I would gladly email you my top 25 favorites. If you want a copy, let me know in the comments and if you are a "no reply" blogger, leave your email address as well.


anno said...

Jeanie, you continue to awe and amaze me! Your decorations and projects are gorgeous! And if I'm able to do anything besides put up a tree this this year, I am definitely borrowing your idea for dressing up picture frames -- those are lovely! (And lovely pictures, too!) So glad to see your beautiful pictures, so grateful to have you in my life. Happy Thanksgiving!

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

So many great ideas. I already have up four trees and some vignettes. I am working on my Christmas Village, so as soon as everything is complete I will be doing a post. Takes me a little time to get everything done, but I'm almost there.
Thanks again for all the pretty pictures and ideas.
Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

Tracy said...

WOW--you do go all out for Christmas, Jeanie! It's all sooo beautiful... a real Christmas/Winter Wonderland! We usually decorated right after Thanksgiving, the first weekend of Advent. So really looking forward to more lights and candles come this next weekend! Golds and silvers I like best, along with touches of white--and purple, too, for Advent. Wishing you a BEAUTIFUL Thanksgiving week, my friend :o) ((HUGS))

shoreacres said...

I do like the "lights in the cabinet" idea -- I think that's my favorite. However, here's proof that I'm not a total Scrooge. I did stop by some fine local pine trees a couple of weeks ago, and collected a huge bag of the biggest pine cones I've ever seen. Mother Nature's helping me out this year -- don't forget you can forage for decorations, as well as buy them!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I love how festive your house looks during the holiday season! I love the idea of having multiple trees! I'm still building my holiday decoration collection and right now I'm really limited on what I can have since I live in such a small space. But when I live in a bigger home, I will definitely amp up my decorating!! Phil and I are planning to decorate my tree on Sunday and I am so excited to have it up as I love the warm glow of a tree. Although I am still in shock that it's the Christmas season as it doesn't seem possible!!!

Victoria Zigler said...

I don't have many holiday decorations any more. Some have been broken by climbing cats over the years, others damaged or lost during moves. Besides, I never had loads to start with. Still, I do like the ones I have got.

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Good Morning Jeanie,
Collections, oh yes! Snowmen, snow villages, wreaths and more! I love your decorating treasures, they are gorgeous and I feel all of the Merriment of the season in this post. Thank you for the wonderful tips to stay organized throughout the decorating process too!

The French Hutch said...

Hi Jeanie, Oh you have such great ideas and tips. I loved seeing your decorations, such inspiration for me. I can't wait to pull our my favorites. Like you a lifetime of collecting and gifts from family and friends and when the boxes come out its like unwrapping gifts every year! I can't wait to see what you do this year.
Happy Thanksgiving

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning jeanie! I started this weekend but have a few more details to add. No matter what our styles, as long as decorating and preparing gives us joy then that is what matters! Peace and joy to you!!!

Mae Travels said...

There's so much hype about people paring down their possessions, getting rid of stuff, going minimalist in all kinds of material ways. Such a one-sided view! It's a real pleasure to join you in truly enjoying your collections, the small but numerous meaningful or just decorative items that you put together for your own amusement and the entertainment of your friends, family, guests. Thanks for the beautiful examples of stuff that's worth keeping.

best... mae at

Arti said...

Looks like you're having a Christmas arts fair right in your home! Those tiny eggs in the nests are so cute. You're all set for the holidays. But first is Thanksgiving this coming weekend, right? Have a wonderful week leading to that big day of TG and waiting to see your pics. ;)

Jenny Woolf said...

If it can't come out at Christmas, when can it come out, that's what I say? I don't like minimalist Christmases!! I love the branch and baubles idea. one of my daughters has a permanent ornament in her house of a bare branch and hung on it are coloured Japanese origami cranes (for good fortune). It seems like a nice take on this idea for all year round. And what a sweet idea to use the battery LED loops of lights for inside a cupboard. I'm going to do that! Thanks for all these ideas, Jeanie.

Tammie Lee said...

you truly know how to celebrate, decorate, enjoy and share the beauty of the season.

psychelyn said...

You always have the best ideas for decoration, be it halloween, Christmas , etc. I love every single piece of what you've shown us. My favorite's the cabinet though. It gives a very warm ambiance to the room. Oh, love those shells and silver balls too.

Patti Brundle said...

I love the idea of the feather tree. I have a lot of feather "flowers" to use with the boas. I also like the idea of the lights in the china cupboard, wonderful. They'll really make the old glass twinkle even more than it does now. Also the chandelier. I'm feeling rather good right now, so maybe I'll get some things done. If not, there's always next year.

Marilyn Miller said...

I just love your Christmas decorating ideas. My Christmas boxes started coming out yesterday. It will take me about a week to get things the way I want them. I hadn't given much thought about on top of my hutch and some other places, so must given them some consideration now. Thanks for the inspiration.

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