Decorating your home for Christmas.
I should preface this Hub with the fact that in the last ten years we have lived in 6 houses. These photos are from various houses. Every year it takes me three weeks to complete my Christmas decorations. Few rooms in the house are left untouched and I am usually still finding stray ornaments well into March. However, No one ever forgets a visit to my house during the Christmas season. No matter what the weather, the house is cheery and bright. Hopefully this hub will inspire you to do something new.
Where to decorate?
Decorating your home for the holidays should not interrupt your daily routine. Place decorations in the negative space in your rooms (See Zones in picture 1). The Christmas tree should be placed so that it is enjoyable yet, not in the way of your daily life. Looking at the diagram we see an average Livingroom with several entrance and exit points. You still have to get from the front door to the kitchen, you still have to be able to get down your hall. The green arrows show the traffic pattern that should not be disrupted by decorations. Take a minute and draw out your room.
Ideally the tree should be placed in front of the window, however considering the furniture placement the best place for the tree is in the corner next to the fireplace. Pondering these two option you may find that you are willing to move the couch to accommodate the tree, just remember that when you start moving the furniture you are disrupting how your family lives in the space.
Notice the zones. These zones are your areas to decorate, areas where you currently do not have furniture or other items. These spaces may include a buffet, sofa table, or sideboard that you can claim for holiday décor. Use common sense; avoid putting large decorations in the way. You would be shocked at how many people put the tree near the front door causing ornaments to get broken. Now that you are thinking about your space let’s get some ideas!
Declaring a theme for your holiday allows you to be creative in different ways. The theme also helps you stick with a specific style. It’s easy to go off the rails with Christmas and have a Charlie Brown, tinsel filled, fiesta. However, if you want a pulled together look you have to be able to edit your look. Last year our tree theme was "let it snow" which we interpreted as light blue, white, and red with lots of snowmen and snowflakes. I usually try to stick to three colors and one metallic per theme. This cuts down on visual noise.
List of themes:
Northwest woods (red, green and tan with rust copper or silver . featuring: plaid, deer, moose, bear, lodge, rustic ect.)
Nutcracker suite (this is a great theme for those of you who like to use pastels, pink, white and (add other pastel such as blue with gold or silver. Featuring: nutcrackers, ballet shoes, tulle, candy ornaments)
Country (Red, Green, tan with rust, copper or silver. Features burlap, wood ornaments, metal stars, bells)
Old toy shop (colors bright red, green and blue. Toys, Toy soldiers, antique toys, dolls, ect)
Candy shop (any three colors and either a silver or gold. Candy, candy ornaments and more candy
Winter white (white and silver. Featuring anything white with more white highlighted with white.
Victorian (pink, white, and burgundy. Featuring Victorian paper ornaments, elaborately decorated delicate ornaments)
Steampunk Yes we did a steampunk themed Christmas. I actually put a train in the middle of the tree. I made clock ornaments, and used various metallic ornaments on the tree.
There are many other themes and obviously you can create your own as well. Something to keep in mind is that your theme shouldn’t travel outside of your usual style, if you pick a Victorian Christmas for your modern house it may not meld well, also are you going to want to do variations of the theme every year? You don’t want to have to store Christmas decorations you are not going to use ever again.
Going back to the diagram the two green stars represent the best places to put the tree in this room. Have you identifies the two best places to put your tree yet? Now that you know where you are putting your tree, consider what type of tree you need. Measure your tree space before you go get a tree. A tree that is too small will seem out of place and tree that is too big will feel like it is eating your room. You should have a foot of space around your tree without it touching anything else. By the diagram if we went with the tree in front of the window it could be tall and skinny or if the tree goes in the corner it would need to be wider and tall. Choose your tree wisely.
Now you have a tree, you know where you are putting it, let’s do a quick refresher on the order decorations are placed on the tree:
- Lights (unless you have pre-lit tree) start at the bottom weaving lights in and out of the branches all the way to the trunk, this takes more lights but the effect is amazing.
- Garland, ribbon, or beads. There are so many patterns you can use when hanging these items. When using ribbon I tend to start at the top of the tree and go down. With beads I drape it.
- Ornaments tip- do one color at a time to avoid putting two like ornaments close together.
- Tree topper
- Flock or tinsel (I’m not big on either of these)
In a perfect world you and your family decorate the house together while singing Christmas carols or in our home we put on the movie “ELF”. Young children love to help. Make sure you have non-breakable ornaments that they can hang, this eliminates the stress of heirloom ornaments ending up shattered on the floor. Let the kids help you pick out incidentals like candy canes for the tree. One Christmas we actually strung popcorn, made paper chains, and let the kids paint plaster ornaments. One of our traditions is to make snowflakes out of paper and hang them from our ceiling. Keep the kids involved!
The holidays are exciting. Pets tend to get into trouble when they feel a lot of excitement in the air. I am always careful not to leave packages on the ground where my Dogs can get them. We have a tradition of giving Whitman’s chocolates and believe me it would never survive under the tree. Our solution is to either put the tree on a table or pack the top of our hutch with gifts. Cats are a special issue. It might be a good idea to anchor your tree to a hook in the roof if you have cats. Also, ball ornaments are like …. Well Christmas for cats. Shatterproof ornaments keep cats from making a huge mess and possibly hurting themselves.
SWITCHING THINGS AROUND
A lot of my holiday decorating comes from switching out everyday items with Christmas items. The antique wash stand in my bathroom is a good example. Normally the pitcher in the bathroom has yellow roses in it, at Christmas I simply switch the roses out for white poinsettias. This is a quick change that makes the entire wash stand look festive. Many of the candlesticks on my sideboard are used in my holiday décor as well.
Being festive doesn’t have to cost money. Pine cones or ornaments in a bowl are an easy decorating option. The great thing about second hand Christmas a decorations is that they are timeless. In my mind, the older the decorations the better. Santa is always Santa. Use items you already have to decorate the tree. Some things I have used on the tree are large nutcrackers (tie a string around their waist), large snowman that are supposed to go on tables, and paper cut outs.
Your fireplace is the focal point of your room. If you use your fireplace then you want to be careful not to hang anything from it that will be close to the fire. If your TV is above your mantel then your decorations will be minimal such as lighted pine garland. If you don’t have garland simple candle scapes can make a mantel elegant.
People will probably find it strange that I decorate my bathrooms for Christmas. Guests during the holidays will need to use your bathroom. In the first picture we see the curtain over the shower with a gold ribbon, a bow and a giant ornament in the center. This was pretty subtle. The second picture was the same bathroom with the mirror decorated and you can see ornaments placed in the cubbies as well as in the mini tub on the sink ledge. Putting pine boughs decorated with ornaments in a bathroom changes the feel of the space. The third picture is our master bath with pine boughs as well. You will notice the colors coordinated with my husband’s Seattle Seahawks stuff (I had to let him have a room in the house). I almost always decorate around the bathroom mirrors.
Who doesn’t appreciate a little Christmas tree in the bedroom? Putting a small tree in bedrooms gives kids a chance to decorate their own tree. In an adult room the tree is a place for antique glass ornaments that you don’t want kids playing with, or the dog terrorizing.
I am a suit case junkie. Whenever I find old suit cases I buy them, they don’t have to be old. The trunks stacked in my dining area usually hold linens. At Christmas I open the top trunk and create a winter scene. One year I used a yard angel to anchor the trunk. The white stuff is metallic garland (I should mention that this is the only metallic garland I own). For the most part I am against metallic garland and tinsel. Last I put candle holders in the trunk. When they were lit it was an amazing effect. Make sure you use glass holders that are taller than your garland to prevent a fire.
Suit cases are great places to stuff miscellaneous ornaments and odds and ends(even broken decorations). One year I filled this suitcase with all types of Christmas decorations. I called it “The spirit of Christmas”. Sort of like a Pandora’s Box of Christmas stuff. The trick to making this work was spacing the color out around the box to make it look random.
The first impression of your home is your front porch/front door. My go to front porch décor item is a chair. I actually call them porch chairs. These are chairs that are not safe to sit in but work great for placing a small pine tree or wreath. Even if you live in an apartment you can hand a wreath on your door. As we get closer to Christmas I will show you some front porch tricks.
Until then happy decorating!