17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Holiday Decorating 101

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! And I love decorating for Christmas. If you do to, here are some tips for bringing that Holiday look and feel into your home this season on a budget.

1. Start saving your empty boxes of all shapes and sizes. Keep your eye out for some great wrapping paper. You can use colorful, fancy or fun. Wrap your boxes and stack them around the house (on the floor or atop the piano or mantle) like little Christmas trees-largest boxes on the bottom, smaller as you stack higher. This is an easy, pretty way to take up space and add a lot of color. If you have a covered porch, you can throw some heavy rocks in the bottom and stack them outside with a strand of lights.

2. Stock up on inexpensive Christmas balls. You can find cheap Christmas tree balls everywhere in pretty much every color. I love to take glass vases and pour in some cheap glass balls. Group several different size and shaped vases together (always group in odd numbers) to make it look like a completed decoration. Tie a ribbon around a few of them and you have an inexpensive and easy way to make your home look like Christmas. You can also throw a strand of white lights in with the balls to add a little shimmer.

3. Invest in a nice tree. If you dont' mind a fake tree, keep your eye out for something you absolutley love. I have two trees. A very unique spiral tree and a 12 foot tree. I put them both up each year. The best time to purchase a tree is after Christmas, when they are on clearance.

4. Get yourself some garland. Real or fake, garland can add so much to a mantle, an entertainment center, a piano, a shelf, above a doorway...Around the holidays most Costco locations carry real pine garlands that smell fabulous, are inexpensive and gigantic. I usually hang one around the front door with lights, cut one in half and drape it over the piano and on a shelf and use a third for the mantle. For the mantle, I attempt to copy something from an old Martha Stewart Magazine (see below-mine is not done yet this year). I bought a 2X6 board from Home Depot and had them cut it the same length as my mantle. Then I use a staple gun to staple on some branches and lay it on top of the mantle. You can use left over branches from a tree lot (which are usually free), or take apart a Costco garland attach the individual branches to your board.

5. Try to keep your decorations organized. If you have many decorations, try to keep them grouped together by color or style. If you have just a few, choose a great focal location to put all of your stuff. Holiday decorations seem much more impressive when they appear to be in larger numbers. If you put a couple of things in many different places, your guests will miss most of them. But if you keep them all in one place with some lights and some garland it looks much more impressive.

6. Get creative with your tree. Decorating a Christmas tree has never been so fun and easy. Nowadays, anything goes. Find inspiration in magazines, stores, on-line, from your neighbors, the outdoors, your favorite colors, pictures...it's everywhere! Start with a color or a theme and go from there. Last year I started using fabrics on my tree. I decided on a color and bought about 15 yards of 60" wide fabric at a discount store and cut it into 6 10" strips. I bundled them all at the top in sort of a bow and then bunched and tucked them into the branches all the way down the tree. It added a TON of color and texture and took up a lot of space that I didn't need to fill in with expensive bulbs. I also add sprigs of flowers and leaves that I pick up throughout the year on clearance. If you collect Christmas items like dolls or nut-crackers, try putting them on your tree this year instead of your traditional stuff. I like to have 2 trees because one can be the pretty tree and one can be the kid-friendly tree. My kids love to have their own tree so I bought them a little 4 foot tree that they can decorate with their paper ornaments and popcorn garlands. My son even loves to keep it in his room.

7. If all else fails-fill your home with Christmas smells. Of our five sense, smell has the strongest memory and people will remember the smell of your home during the holidays if nothing else. Use wallflowers, potpourri, candles, oils, or make cookies and cider!


  • I have been waiting VERY patiently for you to post this - what an awesome post! You are just the best decorator and I love what you've done for a tree topper this year.

    I took your advice about having a few bold, rich choices and it looks great - better than my lots of little things here and there.
    posted by Blogger Chloe at 12/01/2007 04:06:00 PM  

  • I'm bookmarking this for "someday"... seems very, very helpful but I'm so unable to pay attention to decorating this year.
    posted by Blogger cchrissyy at 12/01/2007 08:54:00 PM  

  • Amen to buying a fake tree AFTER Christmas. I got mine for 60% off from a store that sells commercial grade trees, so it I'm hoping it lasts forever!
    posted by Anonymous jane at 12/02/2007 01:13:00 AM  

  • These are great ideas Krista! Thanks so much!
    posted by Blogger beth at 12/02/2007 03:16:00 PM  

  • This is a technical question- how do you hide the light's cord that you put in a vase... where does it go?

    I love decorating for the holidays too- when I was growing up I was always the "lead" on that. I've been the nominated "decorator" in my family for many years before I even left my parents house.

    You have some good ideas! I like the 12 ft tree! We have a 9ft(the tallest our ceilings allow) and it is so fun!

    My daughter has a little tree in her room with all pink girlie ornaments that is so cute.

    I love Traditional Home magazine and Veranda for decorating inspiration, they have such classic style.
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 12/02/2007 04:05:00 PM  

  • Hooray for the decorating post! You have such fabulous ideas. Your house looks great...can you just come decorate mine please? You have such a talent for making things look wonderful without breaking the bank.
    I love the Christmas tree out of boxes idea...something even I could do...perhaps.
    You need to put a pic of you mantle when you are done. Last year it looked better than Martha's.
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 12/02/2007 08:17:00 PM  

  • Wow. You are one inspired mama! What is the tree topper this year? I can't tell from the picture...
    posted by Blogger tracy m at 12/02/2007 10:00:00 PM  

  • Yes, what is the secret to the tree topper this year?

    And Krista's spiral tree is AWESOME - one of the coolest I've seen...
    posted by Blogger Chloe at 12/03/2007 05:45:00 AM  

  • Oh Krista, you are so talented in this department. I love the fabric idea. I am going to look for some super sale Christmas fabric for next year's tree.

    I keep thinking about getting a fake tree but I have too many fond memories of cutting down our live tree as a child. Now that we get our live tree from the Home Depot parking lot, I think - what's the point?
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 12/03/2007 09:29:00 AM  

  • The gold ribbon on the tree...is it one continuous strand tucked in and out or is it pieces artfully placed? I can never make my ribbon look right. Maybe you could just do a whole post on just the tree.
    posted by Anonymous mimi at 12/03/2007 02:59:00 PM  

  • Thanks for all of the kind replies!

    Rachel H- The question about the cord is a good one that I also struggle with. I'd either try covering it with a piece of the ribbon you've tied around the vase or perhaps a branch or pick of pine.

    Melissa-Your tree is amazing.

    Tracy and Chloe-The topper is a million things all squished together at the top. Lots of fabric, a bit of ribbon, left over fall flowers (my tree is decorated in browns and rust) and a bunch of glittery rusty brown sprigs/picks I got on clearance at Z-gallerie this summer for $1 each. Any craft store will also have a nice selection of glittery stuff in just about any color. Hobby Lobby has a very nice selection and they're usually %50 off.

    Mimi-Actually that gold stuff isn't ribbon at all! It's fabric I got for next to nothing at a discount store. I cut it into 6" X 60" (that was the width of the fabric) strips and just shoved them in the tree. I added them after all of the other decorations in places that looked a little bare. I do love ribbon too. The wire helps it stay in place easily. It's easiest to cut into 2or 3 foot long segments and place spontaneously throughout the tree in a criss-cross pattern.

    Happy decorating!
    posted by Anonymous Krista at 12/03/2007 03:40:00 PM  

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