Christmas Decorating Ideas

As published in “Oakville Today
December 11, 2002

Looking for Christmas decorating ideas? It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas, but is your home decorated yet? If not, don’t fret – you still have lots of time – although now is a good time to work on your collection of Christmas items that will eventually form part of your decor. You might even find some of these in your own back garden!

If you’re like some people, you may stroll the stores to see what the newest theme in holiday decorating is… and perhaps add to your decor from years past. If you’re really creative, you can transform some of your older decor into newer treasures by using a bit of imagination – a can of spray paint here, a new ribbon there. Whatever the case may be, know that your decorating theme should suit your lifestyle – not what the designers are telling you is “in vogue” this year.

This article is devoted to imaginative and creative ideas for your home, no matter what your taste – Traditional, French or Early American Country, Contemporary, Modern or downright Eclectic – there’s a little bit of something for every style of decorating!

Don’t be afraid to tie in your Christmas decorating with your home’s everyday decor, i.e., pick up the colours in your patterned drapery or upholstered furniture – don’t just follow trends. For example, if your decor is based on white or ivory tones, you may want to compliment it with tiny white lights, flowers, cream coloured candles and natural greenery. Perhaps you may want to add crystal or glass ornaments to give your decor extra sparkle. If your decor is in the earth tones, you may want to accent with copper and bronze ornaments. If your tendency is toward jewel toned fabrics – emerald green, ruby red, gold, dark purple and sapphire blue ornaments will all compliment your theme. And remember, it’s nice to have a colour scheme, but don’t be afraid to add a piece or two that are a little different from your theme – either in colour or style – this will promise to add a touch of whimsy to your decor.

For those of you with a fireplace, your mantels will become the centre of your decor – and although they’re only one level deep, there are many factors to keep in mind – texture, colour, balance and style of the mantel.

For a contemporary look – use repetition and symmetry (odd numbers of objects work best). Use simple objects and repeat them several times. For example, you may want to place 3 ivory votive candles in between 5 topiary trees tied with simple silver, red or green ribbon.

For a country look to your mantel – gather some branches – pussy willow, apple tree, curly willow, or cedar twigs – stand branches up in narrow vases or lay them on the mantel, layering them so that the cut ends show as little as possible. Hang ornaments on them and complete with natural greenery such as Scots pine and moss, pinecones, grapevine balls and intertwine with tartan ribbon.

Traditional mantelpieces look beautiful either swagged or layered with natural greenery, traditional ribbons and bows in satin, velvet or taffeta, mini white lights or ivory votives and artificial, sugared fruit picks.

Tip: Don’t try to put everything on your mantel. Pick a theme and stick to it!

Here are a few simple holiday dinner table ideas you may want to try:

Fill a glass bowl with water, add cranberries and floating candles or tea lights and voila, you have a festive and elegant, yet easy-to-make centerpiece that will not get in the way of your guest’s view of each other while enjoying their dinner.

Tie nametags with festive ribbon or raffia to gold or silver spray-painted pinecones or Christmas ornaments and use as place cards at your dinner table.

Adorn a simple chandelier with ropes of gold, silver or red beads and attach drop crystals (available at your local lighting stores). Scatter the same bead strands or crystals on your dining table.

Fill a clear vase with oasis and add some pine or cedar boughs, seeded eucalyptus, boxwood or holly. Add some specimen flowers – tiger striped amaryllis, paper white narcissus, red or white roses will all look beautiful with the greenery. Finish off the look with beaded jewel ornaments hanging from the greenery tucked in and outside of the clear vase. The flowers will need to be replaced but the rest of your centerpiece will last until the end of the season.

Tip: You can keep the greenery looking fresh all throughout the season by ensuring you cut and soften the stems in warm water before using them. Also, water your arrangement every couple of days.

Christmas Decorating Idea: Take some inexpensive dollar store candles and give them an ornate look by puncturing them several times in a random fashion with inexpensive pierced earrings or wrapping them with an inexpensive pearl headband or ribbon. Place the candles in the middle and surround with twigs and natural greenery.

Tip: avoid using scented candles in your centerpiece. Their scents may interfere with the aromas from your holiday kitchen.

Theme trees are still popular – the following exquisite colour combinations are guaranteed to showcase your tree throughout Christmas: white and silver, copper and bronze, burgundy and gold, ivory and gold, jewel tones (emerald green, sapphire blue, gold, red, purple) or all pastels. Mini white lights will look best with all colour combinations with the exception of the jewel tones and pastels, where the traditional multi-coloured lights will work better.

Create a garland using balsam, white pine needles and seeded eucalyptus tied together with thin wire. Gold wire mesh wrapped around the greenery will create a contemporary look. Magnolia leaves and fresh or dried flowers (dried hydrangeas are a great choice) will add a country flare. For a French Country touch, dried orange slices and glass ornaments will do the trick.

Wondering what to do in your kitchen besides displaying your usual Christmas oven mitts and tea towels? Sugar oranges or grapefruits and display in a glass decanter or vase. Replace your soap dispenser with something more elegant – either in silver or gold. Place one or two mini evergreen trees in clay pots (spray painted silver or gold, if you wish) near a doorway and add mini white lights. Tie a ribbon to your pantry door and pin your Christmas cards to it.

For a simple coffee or side table display, colourful glass ornaments in a glass bowl or crystal cake plate with the addition of roped beads or greenery are another great look.

Tip: You needn’t use everything in your Christmas box – your holiday decor doesn’t need to look cluttered. Your objective is to achieve harmony – a look in which everything in the room fits together, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle – to form a single, pleasing picture.

Tip: For those of you who don’t have a lot of time to spend on your holiday decorating this year, pre-lit trees, wreathes and garlands are all available at your local stores – as we all know, getting the lights on the tree (and ensuring they work) can be the most frustrating part of our holiday decorating!

So as you’re decorating your home for the holidays this year and looking for Christmas decorating Ideas, simply be creative, have fun and enjoy every moment! Remember; decorate for your lifestyle – not someone else’s… Happy Holidays!

Felicia Gimza is the owner of “The Expert Touch” in Oakville and offers a complete array of decorating services. Her clients would tout her as providing unique, yet affordable decorating advice for your home or office. She invites you to view some of her latest projects on her gallery page at www.theexperttouch.com. You may reach Felicia at 905-847-5331 to set up a consultation. Exquisite Interiors take an “Expert Touch”.