Temperatures have dropped, snow is starting to fall, festive lights have gone up, and Holiday cheer is beginning to appear! It’s the most wonderful time of year! But there’s so much to do, where to begin? In my opinion, nothing gets you in the spirit of the Holidays like decorating! Here are some tips to help make your home a stunning winter wonderland for all to enjoy.

Go Green

(With Wreaths, Garland, and Trees, Oh My!)

Wreaths and garland add a natural, welcoming, and cozy touch to your holiday decor. The wreath is often the centerpiece of the front door, and a great first step to creating your Holiday scene. I favor fresh wreaths over faux, but either way you can’t go wrong with this classic, symbolic detail. If you want to go the fresh wreath route… sure you can find them at home improvement stores, Christmas tree lots, etc. Or you can get creative and DIY your own unique wreath!

  • This time of year, local florists and home décor stores are hosting wreath making workshops; they will provide you with all the goods needed while teaching you the skills necessary to create your very own wreath. My personal favorite workshops have been held by Pottery Barn, Alice Lane, and Jolly’s and were hosted by talented local florists.
  • Don’t have the time to attend a workshop but still want something special? No worries! Take a trip to Trader Joes. They have beautiful, fresh, premade boxwood wreaths at a great price. These wreaths look stunning on their own, but their simplicity allows you to add to them in any way you can imagine. I suggest tying on a bow made of fabric ribbon and adding a cluster of gold or silver bells suspended from jute, velvet, or anything that strikes your fancy. You can even wrap the wreath with a strand of battery- operated LED string lights to add a warm glow.

Garlands look stunning around doorways, windows, and window sills. In particular, I love them when used on fireplace mantels, staircase handrails, and dining table centerpieces.

  • Cedar garlands are readily accessible these days from home improvement stores and plant nurseries. You can keep them as-is or add embellishments; either way they look beautiful and smell amazing!
  • Use adhesive mounting hooks instead of nails. These let you attach the garland without making holes in the walls or doorframe.

The festive feeling of a Christmas tree doesn’t have to stay indoors; create a cheerful front door for the holiday season by putting a potted tree (or two) on your front porch and decking it out with lights.

  • Options to consider for smaller, porch-sized evergreens include dwarf Alberta spruce and dwarf blue Swiss pine. Boxwood can also be a good choice, especially if you’d like to do some pruning to shape the tree. Dwarf evergreens ordinarily grow taller which means that you can take your mini tree from the porch to the yard to plant it permanently when the holiday season is over!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are thy….ornaments! If you haven’t learned the trick to putting ornaments on your tree, allow me to shed some light on the situation.

  • Begin adding lights from the top of the tree and work your way down. Bury the connectors deep within the tree. Turn the lights on every so often to make sure they are evenly distributed. And don’t skimp on the backside of the tree! These lights add extra depth and sparkle.
  • Ornaments are arguably the most fun element of the tree. They are special because they are collected over time and tell stories. Lay them out to assess what you have (and take some time to enjoy the memory of past holidays).
  • Start with the largest ornaments, placing them as far into the center of the tree as your branches allow. This will keep them sturdy and fill uneven spaces. Hang them as high up on the tree as is comfortable, but plan to use more medium and small ornaments farther up.
  • Next, place medium ornaments farther out on the branches. Use your garland to create “sections,” and try to place certain types and colors in each section. Be sure to fill the back as well; those glimpses of color and shape create depth.
  • Special or sentimental ornaments are next. You want these to have pride of place for viewing, as well as for conversation starters. If you have pets, consider “wag height” and place these ornaments above that.
  • Lastly, place smaller ornaments on the outermost part of the branch, where their scale won’t get lost and their weight won’t shift the branch.

 

The Hearth of the Matter

The fireplace is synonymous with warmth and togetherness during the holiday season, so make this area a focal point for your seasonal decor.

  • Evergreen garland, lanterns, candles/candleholders, seasonal curiosities and objects, and of course stockings are all excellent choices for an impactful mantel display.
  • Include a diversity of texture. I’m a big fan of foraging for natural objects such as branches or pinecones which provide an organic feel. Contrast these natural elements with man-produced items made of metal, glass, or ceramics (follow the rule of threes here and mix 3 different textures which adds interest without looking overworked).
  • Determine a focal point and then create variations of height and depth in your arrangement. An odd number of objects works best.
  • Light it up! Light from candles or artfully arranged string lights adds the perfect finishing touch to highlight all the items on your mantel.

That’s a Wrap

Do you love wrapping presents as much as your friends and family love UNwrapping them? I sure do and here’s why… I found a way to make my giftwrap cost-effective, eco- friendly, and beautiful (under anyone’s tree)!

  • Here’s what you’ll need to create a beautifully wrapped gift that you’ll be proud to give and anyone would be happy to receive:
    • A spool of brown craft paper (it’s a small investment that can be used for a variety of crafty endeavors). This creates a neutral base that is easy to add colored accessories to and is easily recycled.
    • Fabric ribbon (quality ribbon is a gift in itself and can be re-used by the recipient), baker’s twine (especially in a candy cane stripe motif), or even yarn (for a nostalgic or vintage feel).
    • And the most important of all…the tie-on. A gift tie-on is a decorative detail that elevates the gift and gives it visual interest and impact. My favorite tie-on is a sprig of evergreen (usually from the branches I cut off from the base of my Christmas tree, remnants of cedar garland, or found pinecones). Or consider making the gift tie-on a merry hint to what’s inside; for example, if you are giving a cookbook make your tie-on a wooden spoon. An ornament makes for an excellent tie-on and bonus gift too!

 

Happy Holidays, and happy decorating from all of us, at Henry Walker Homes!