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Easy, Last-Minute Holiday Decorating Ideas

Updated on December 17, 2009

Whether you are having a large open house or just a small gathering of friends or family, you want your house to look festive.  Here are some quick, inexpensive, easy, last minute ideas to make your house look holiday perfect!

  • Use the cookies you spent so much time baking (or buying) to pretty up the place. You can arrange a few pretty plates filled with them around the areas that you will be entertaining in and your guests will love you for having the treats out in the open for snacking!
  • Pop a Christmas classic in the DVD player and push play. Turn down the volume so that it is not heard. The video playing will add as a backdrop to the festivities and spark conversation about the classic tale.
  • You can inexpensively make your table look beautiful by using wrapping paper as a table runner. The best part also is that clean up is a snap! When the party is over, you simply throw it away.
  • Put Christmas lights everywhere you can think of. String them around windows, down banisters, fill glass bowls with them, wherever you can imagine. The lights are beautiful holiday decor and create a pleasant mood lighting for a party atmosphere!
  • Bowls of pine cones, with or without greenery nestled under them, are always decorative. The cinnamon scented ones are delicious smelling. You can scent your own from your back yard by using cinnamon oil for candy making. Just drop some on the cones and it will make your home smell yummy.
  • Serving Soda? If you serve Coke, Mountain Dew or Canada Dry Gingerale, the cans are green and red! Use them to help decorate by filling a tub with ice and put them on display. This also takes some of the serving responsibility off your hands as you are making drinks "self-serve."
  • Jingle Bells are the easiest way to create a festive party mood. You can find them in all sizes now a days, but if all you have handy are the small ones, that's fine as well. You can tie them together in bunches and hang them around door handles, hang them in entry ways with a few sprigs of greenery or set out small bowls full of them.
  • You can use photos from Christmas past to decorate. Gather piles of the old photos and lay them out so people can look through them or if they are in an album, leave the album open on a table for guests to thumb through.  Not only will they serve as decorations they will surely be great conversation starters!
  • Beautify a plain punch bowl by placing a holiday wreath flat on a table and setting the punch bowl in the center.
  • Candy canes placed in pencil holders or something similar such as clear glasses) are very festive and make a yummy treat for guests.
  • Cinnamon sticks wrapped in bunches alone, with greenery, candy canes or tossed in with potpourri will add to the scent as well as the beauty of your holiday decor.
  • Group colored glass Christmas decorations in clear bowls around the house. You can also add lights to the bowl to make it more festive. Another festive idea is to hang a bunch of them from ribbons and hang them overhead in a doorway or from the ceiling or chandelier.
  • Take square red cloth napkins and lay it face down on the table with corners at top and bottom and sides instead of straight edges at sides (so it looks more like a diamond instead of a square when looking down at it). Fold the bottom and two corners in to all meet in the center, leaving the top up. This forms an open "envelope". Secure the napkin envelope with a pretty ribbon and stick a sprig of Christmas greenery inside for a beautiful way to "spruce" up your table. You could also place a chocolate Santa in the envelope or use green napkins and stick a candy cane in them instead of your greenery.
  • Tie big red ribbons to the backs of kitchen or dining room chairs. For an extra festive touch, you could add some evergreen sprigs, pine cones, candy canes or a glass ornament. Make it extra special and using glue and glitter write the guests name on the glass ornament so they can take it home.
  • Display your Christmas cards in a pretty basket on the table.
  • Make your mantle look beautiful by using greenery, real or artificial, covering the length and the width of it then strategically place colored glass Christmas decorations (the plain, solid colored balls look fantastic!) You can also attach several of the ornaments to ribbon in varying lengths and hang them from the center of the greenery on the mantle to cascade down the front of your fireplace.
  • Use Christmas ribbon or pieces of lace trim to decorate the metal holder around ordinary tea lights.  Hot glue is quick and strong enough to hold. Group a few of them together on a pretty plate. Alone is pretty, but you can also place greenery or candy or pine cones on the plate as well.  The nice thing is, the tea light candles won't drip all over!
  • Red and Green apples in baskets or bowls make excellent, edible Christmas decorations. You can also use the apples to dress up your dinner table. Strategically place the red and green apples down the table runner in between votive candles. You could also use icing to write the guests name on a red apple for each place setting, or place a green apple in a red paper baking cup and stick in a 1 1/2" x 3" slip of paper with the guests name written on it in the baking cup. The apple will hold it securely in place.

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    • MsFran profile image

      MsFran 

      7 years ago from Here and There, Everywhere

      Great tips you got here.

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