Easy Traditional Christmas Decorations
Keep it simple; keep it traditional.
Buying gifts. Attending parties. Cleaning up for the inlaws. You have enough to do already! And a profound exhaustion is probably settling into your bones about now. You want your house to look beautiful and festive, but you can't afford to take a whole week to make it happen. What can you do in the course of an afternoon to decorate the exterior of your house? This lens offers a suggestion for how you can (quickly and easily) turn your home into a traditional Christmas showplace.
(photo from Microsoft)
Outline your plan.
While my neighbors tend to go glittery with strings of lights and nodding reindeer, I like to take a different approach. I like for my home to appear to the passerby just as a home would have appeared 150 years ago. I still use modern conveniences, though!
My house has a traditional style and a 2-story front with porches up and down. Even if you have a modern home or any other style, you can still use my method! The style of your home will not make this any less possible. I use a natural greenery wreath with festive bow, battery-operated candles in my windows, a lighted Christmas tree in one front window, and natural greenery garland and bows on the porch railings. If you don't have porches, you can also drape greenery garland around your front door. If possible and appropriate, you can add a little verve to your mailbox with greenery and a bow, too.
Decide what elements will have the greatest impact. Make your shopping list, and do your homework on where to find your items, so that you don't run yourself crazy in the holiday traffic going hither and yon. Some of it can be ordered or bought ahead of time, but I would recommend not buying your greenery any earlier than Thanksgiving weekend. Otherwise, you will be greeting carolers on Christmas Eve with a brown, dead wreath on your door.
For greenery, I find that Home Depot (and sometimes Lowe's) has great Black Friday specials, such as a plain pine wreath with a red bow for $5. Garland will usually run $5-10 per 5 feet, depending on what type of greenery it is. Home Depot and Lowe's are also great places to find your additional bows. So no, you DON'T have to get a length of red velvet ribbon from the fabric store and spend a day making your own bows! They come pre-made, and don't have to cost you more than $2-3 per bow.
The Christmas tree is a different story altogether . . . I bought an artificial one a few years back that I consider acceptable. It saves money, saves trees, and saves you the mess of needles to sweep up. If you miss the fragrance, burn a tree-scented candle! Set-up and break-down are pretty simple. But you can take it a step farther than I do, and use my mother's methodology: She leaves the tree intact and decorated. She simply pulls large black garbage bags over it to protect it from dust, and carries it to the attic! If I could do that, I would. If you have the storage space to do this, then congratulations. I do not, so putting up and taking down the tree are both afternoon-long events in themselves.
Last, you will need as many battery-operated candles as you have windows in the front of your house. I got mine at Walgreen's several years back, paying no more than a dollar per candle, but they are available and affordable in many places.
What's Your Preference?
Do you prefer traditional Christmas decor or modern?
Find your candles
I prefer the ones that will switch on automatically each day at the same time, then go out about 6-8 hours later. There is one more thing I don't have to worry about!
PUT IT ALL UP IN NO TIME FLAT!
And it gets quicker each year.
Now, you have all your materials. Put the plan into action, and I bet you will be amazed at how quickly you finish!
1. Hang the wreath on your front door. You may add bows or ornaments . . . or any other embellishment you choose, but I am always happy with the simple green wreath with a single read bow at the top. I use a gold wreath hanger, but you may have a nail on your door that you can use.
2. Drape the garland (swag-style) over your porch railings (or over your front door). Secure it (out of sight) with twine, nails, or even duct tape. Add a red bow at the top or bottom or each swag.
3. Place a battery-operated candle (the kind with automatic timer) in each window (even the one with the Christmas tree in it - this way, when you are not home to turn on your tree, you will not have a "blank" window). Make sure to turn them on as close to the same time as possible, so they will come on at the same time together each day.
4. Put up your tree in a front window of your home.
Voila. You are decorated!
Please read my book!
If you are looking for holiday decorating ideas, maybe you are looking for Christmas presents, too! If you know someone who likes to read, give them a copy of my collection of short stories with southern flavor. It's available in paperback, and for both Kindle and Nook.