Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Spruced Up: 5 Easy Christmas Decorating Ideas

We celebrated Hanukkah in our house, but I always loved decorating for Christmas.  I was thankful for our gift-a-night tradition, but for a girl with a penchant for decorating, picking out the colorful candles for the menorah couldn't compete with picking out ornaments and tinsel for the tree. I was lucky to have friends with trees though, so I got invited to "do Christmas" at their homes. Thank you Linda and Hope.

Fast forward 20 years...

I work at Country Living Magazine; I live and breathe holiday at least 4 months a year. I plan photo shoots in season and pray for snow. I shoot holiday in June and it just feels wrong. Whatever the timing, year after year I come up with new ways to decorate trees, mantles, and any other part of the house, and also hope that the homeowner has done it for me.

Here are 5 easy Christmas decorating ideas -- all taken from the pages of Country Living Magazine, from shoots that I produced. Hopefully, one or more will work for you!

Mary Jane's Porch. Photo: John Blais
1. Paint popsicle stick or twig stars in an unexpected bright color. Buy made or use a glue gun to make yourself.  I chose yellow because it had no traditional holiday connection. It just seemed to go really well with all the red.

Kathryn's feather tree. Phoho: Keith Scott Morton
2. Cut out paper shapes and punch a hole and hang. Use a stencil, or a Fiskar's shape punch. Keep it simple or personalize with words, drawing, etc. Other paper goods that work well as ornaments are photos and postcards.

Christine's pear place cards. Photo: Steven Randazzo
 3. Decorate with fruits of the season. Pears are lovely to look at and to taste. Tie a card or tag onto the stem and you've got an instant placecard.

Diane's bounty; photo: Steven Randazzo
 4. I never tire of the look of glass jars brimming with colorful ornaments. Each arrangement turns out differently and there are good views from every angle.

Mary Jane's bed; Photo: John Blais
5.Some beds naturally call for sprucing up, and an open canopy is the perfect spot for some garland swag. A strand of lights makes for a merry mood.

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