February 28, 2024

Table of Contents

Add Greenery to Your Bedrooms

James Ransom


Indoor Christmas decorations aren’t just for the living room. In this guest room, a gorgeous swag of greenery was hung above the bed on the frame posts for an understated, elegant holiday look.

Match Your Ornaments and Gift Wrap

Alison Gootee


While ornaments are seen as the primary way to decorate a tree, the presents underneath make just as big of a statement. In this tree by designer Julie Neill, she added presents with hand-painted gift wrap to match the ornaments on the tree, creating a cohesive look to the space.

Make Dried Fruit Garlands

Brie Williams


If the red and green color palette isn’t your thing, dried fruit garlands are a great festive alternative. This guest room by designer Maggie Dillon features a garland of dried oranges hung around the headboard to match the colors of the room.

Use Square Wreaths

James Ransom


While most wreaths come in a circular shape, the ones in this kitchen by Amanda Simmons are a square shape to match the geometry of the windows.

Add Garlands Around Your Entry

Brie Williams


If your home has a small entry once you walk in, use that as a chance to get decked out for the holidays. This entryway by designer Maggie Dillon features garlands of greenery and red bows around the stairwell and mirror for an immediate Christmassy welcome.

Add Hints of Blue

Alison Gootee


Change up the traditional Christmas color palette of red and green by throwing in pops of blue. The bright blue in the wine glasses and little touches of blueberries in the centerpiece add visual interest and a personal touch to the overall setup.

Give Old Favorites New Life

Alison Gootee; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Look for ways to maximize what you already have. It isn’t necessary to buy all-new decor. You can reuse elements—like ribbons, ornaments, bells, or potted plants—year after year to mingle with your new seasonal finds.

Raise the Bar

Robbie Caponetto; Design: Kathleen Varner

Pinecones stand in for flowers as the volume makers in this bouquet. If you are lucky enough to find a few still on the branches, snag them from your yard. Otherwise, you can buy them at your local crafts store. Dusty miller greenery adds a touch of softness to this display, and the magnolia leaves, pine, and a sprig of holly berries round out the arrangement. Think beyond vases. Let pretty vessels, like julep cups, vintage glassware, or family heirloom goblets show off your arrangements.

Make Your Own Sparkly Topper

Laurey W. Glenn

Christmas is a time for fun and festivities– don’t let your tree get too caught up in serious tradition! For homemakers looking to try something a little more glamorous, this sparkly tree topper is the perfect way to add drama to your tree. To make your own by bundling together a group of curly silver sticks from your local craft store, and wire the creation to the top of your tree. Decorate the rest of your tree with bright, equally glitzy colors like hot pink and gold. This is a perfect Christmas tree for a younger home. Bonus? The sparkly topper is a great New Years Eve decoration, too!

Lean on What Lasts

Marta Pérez; Styling: Vero Designs

Let ribbons, not cut flowers, be your big Christmas splurge. They’re reusable, unfussy, and an easy way to add color to greenery in passthrough spaces like the entry.

Accent a Collection

Photo: Helen Norman

Bring Christmas to every corner of your home. Look for out-of-the-way display areas, such as the top of a chest, to add sparkle and shine. Whether your vignette stays up year-round—like this collection of mercury glass—or is seasonal, keep the fluffing simple so it doesn’t compete with the collection. Cut appropriate lengths of greenery, like fresh magnolia, boxwood, pine, fir, winterberry, and American cranberry bush berries to fit vessels. Add them to about half of the vases as to not overpower the beauty of your collection. Echo the elements of green and red by threading holly berries across your furniture or hanging a wreath from a strategically-located point on the wall.

Twice as Nice

Alison Gootee; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Drape greenery and berries on lights, but be wary to keep them away from bulbs for safety.

Make a Poinsettia Tree

Photo: Ralph Lee Anderson, Laurey W. Glenn

To create a poinsettia tree, follow these instructions: First, cut the larger blooms, leaving about 6 inches of stem. Using a flame, sear them quickly to stop sap from dripping out. Sap should bubble under the candle flame, and the ends of the stems will turn black. You may also need to sear the points where larger leaves were removed along the stems. Insert each seared stem into a water-filled florist tube. Stems are hollow and will absorb water after being seared. Place the stems into the base of the ivy topiary. Then repeat this process with the medium-size and smaller poinsettia blooms, cutting the stems so they’re about 4 inches long. Insert blossoms into the topiary, working your way toward the top. Once it’s complete, care is simple—just add water to the tubes every few days, as needed.

Pile On the Plaid

Helen Norman

Plaid is not just for school uniforms and collared shirts. For a classic, old-school take on holiday cheer, use plaid as a theme for your Christmas decor. To avoid overloading on one pattern, don’t be afraid to mix and match plaids of varying sizes and scales. Start with a transparent plaid garland, and decorate with metallic, solid-colored ornaments. The easiest and most budget-friendly way to incorporate plaid into your Christmas is by using the gifts under your tree as decorations themselves. Choose 2-3 plaid patterned rolls of gift wrap, and 1-2 solid patterns in complimentary colors. Mix and match ribbons on each gift for a layered presentation of presents.

Homemade Pomander Tree

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez Styling: Christina Brockman


Handmade pomanders fill your home with a fresh, citrusy fragrance that will make everyone feel welcome. These winter gems might look intimidating, but they are easier to make than you think. Use a toothpick to poke holes into each orange in the shape of your design (you can either draw it on or freehand it); then push in the whole cloves. Set them aside to dry, and then let your imagination go wild. Trim a mini tree by gluing the base of a plastic foam cone (you can find these at a local crafts store or on Amazon) to a cardboard circle that’s 2 inches wider than the cone. Slide each pomander halfway onto a toothpick; then insert the pick into the tree, starting at the bottom. Apply hot glue to reinforce the connection between each orange and the foam.

Set a Holiday Scene In Your Outdoor Room

Photo: Erica George Dines

Do not limit your decorations to the inside of your house or your front porch; take advantage of the South’s mild winters. Bring decorative Christmas cheer to your porch and backyard. This backyard retreat is beautifully decorated for the season, and serves as a perfect place to nestle up with a blanket on a brisk winter night. A beautiful tree takes center stage, spun in classic red garland and gold lights. The mantle is adorned with fresh, aromatic greenery and a simple evergreen wreath above the fireplace completes the stunning scene. Stock your outdoor bar, and light a blazing fire for a cozy outdoor gathering.

Elegant and Easy Embellishments

Alison Gootee; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Tie pinecones and berries with a velvet bow in a contrasting tone. This simple, handmade element will complement any stairwell or mantle.

Suspend the Tree Topper

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Add an unexpected detail to a monochromatic Christmas tree by hanging your tree topper from the ceiling. First, choose a shape that plays off your Christmas ornaments, as this round paper lantern mirrors the round ornaments on the tree. Attach a ceiling hook right above your tree’s tallest point then, float the lantern by hanging it from a bow attached to the hook. For added impact, attach cascading ribbon or garland from the bottom of your hanging tree topper. This modern Christmas tree makes a big impact without appearing over-decorated or tired, and will stand out among the rest in creativity and originality.

Make Your Mailbox A Classic Charmer

ROBBIE CAPONETTO; STYLING: BROOKE MCAFEE; MAILBOX: COURTESY BRANDINO BRASS CO.


If nostalgia is what you value at this time of year, then going the traditional route (aka how your grandma may have gussied up her mailbox) is a solid choice. This arrangement is anchored with cedar boughs and sprigs of cypress and holly. Sugar pinecones are the sweet, statement-making finisher. “They’re massive and gorgeous,” says Birmingham florist and stylist Brooke McAfee. “I love embellishing everything with them at Christmas.”

Draw Them In

LAUREY W. GLENN

Whether guests arrive through the front or back door, make every entry inviting. A perch for removing boots can be a place to gather packages. Mudroom cubbies can display small collections, favorite ornaments, and family heirlooms.

Cheer Up Your Entry Way

Photo: Ralph Lee Anderson

Pressed for time but want a big show to greet guests and carolers on your front porch? Fit a 7-gallon magnolia into a decorative planter, and fill in around the edges with spray-painted magnolia branches and sprigs of seeded eucalyptus – we chose red, but gold or silver stuns as well. After the holidays, plant the magnolia in the garden for a year-round token of holiday cheer. Designed to come together quickly and with limited hands-on prep, this Christmas look is easy to tailor for various preferences. Change the plants or colors to suit your taste – Poinsettias are always a good substitute.

Pull Up A Chair

LAUREY W. GLENN

No fireplace? No worries. Hang a stocking from every seat at the table. Use pretty ribbons and double-sided, industrial strength tape to keep the stockings hung behind dining chairs with care.

Wrap Artist

Alison Gootee; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Beautiful presents in festive gift wrap can double as festive decorations under the tree or on a table.

Start Outside

LAUREY W. GLENN

A white brick Colonial is a stately canvas for holiday decorating. The wreaths, swags, garlands, and gate decoration took a color cue from the home’s green-black shutters and bright copper lanterns.

Bring On The Brilliant Berries

Antonis Achilleos; Produced By Buffy Hargett Miller

For a mix of traditional and modern, use mercury glass teardrop vases to hold bright holly berries, available from florists and garden shops. Leaning on warm orange and red hues, we added some mandarins and pomegranates around the display for texture, color, and fragrance. Kept in fresh water, the berry branches should last up to three weeks.

Get Festive With Place Card Holders

Photo: Erica George Dines

Instead of displaying dining room name cards on simple card holders, make them festive! This holiday host enlisted her childhood collection of Steinbach nutcrackers to hold gold-scripted place cards that match the holiday dinner menu cards. Use a gold paint pen for metallic penmanship, and adorn the top with a gold foil holly sprig.

Add Another Layer

Robbie Caponetto; Design: Kathleen Varner

Give your stocking or sideboard a bit of extra sparkle with a tassel that’s subtly fragrant too. Start by gathering five magnolia leaves, two other kinds of evergreens (we used cypress and pine), spiral eucalyptus, and a cluster of berries. Position the grouping so the magnolia acts as the backdrop; this will give the arrangement structure. When you like the look, secure the base of the stems with florist tape. Wrap a piece of ribbon around the tape, knotting it off once the bottoms of the stems have been almost completely covered. Use the loose ends to create a loop large enough to fit over your stocking holder, drawer pull, or knob. Knot again to secure, and then let the tails hang down. Trim them so they hit just above the end of the greenery for a hint of movement and a soft touch.

Make an Entrance

LAUREY W. GLENN

Make your entrance inviting for all. Dress the staircase with a garland of pinecones, greenery, and ribbons of alpine blue.

Create an Evergreen Centerpiece

Photo: Helen Norman

Bring the Christmas forest inside your house with this rustic, homey arrangement. Use a footed silver serving tray to display a sumptuous centerpiece with vintage ornaments and clippings from the garden. Start with Southern classics: boxwood, pine, and magnolia. Next add large ball ornaments, followed by crocosmia pods, pinecones, and abelia whose flowers have dropped, leaving a showy flourish of pink sepals on the tips of branches. Finish with delicate sprigs of evergreens, dried shelf mushrooms attached to florist picks. Wire a few small, round ornaments of natural colors with metallic and glossy finishes in for a subtle touch of glamour.

Top Your Mantel with Winter Blooms

Photo: Helen Norman

Maintaining a quality collection of fluted vases, julep cups, and chalices makes it easy to display (and replace) choice blooms throughout the season. Update your mantel with fresh winter blooms. The foliage base will take you well past New Year’s; and the flowers will last five days. To create this look, begin with a base of artificial garland. Then tuck in layers of two kinds of fresh eucalyptus (silver dollar and seeded), as well as dusty miller placed in water tubes. Add silver brunia, white ranunculus, star of Bethlehem, ‘Sahara’ roses, eucalyptus pods, succulents, and snowberries to vases and along the mantel.

Make It Miniature

Robbie Caponetto; Design: Kathleen Varner

Petite wreaths come together in a snap to dress up empty tabletops. A few sprigs of pine, rosemary, or cypress are the essential elements.

For a horseshoe-shape, strip the needles from the bottom inch of two pieces of greenery; then overlap the stripped sections so the needles of each clipping point in opposite directions. Place that on a piece of florist wire that’s been trimmed to a length about ½ inch shorter than the stems. Using dark green florist tape, attach the stripped portions to the wire. Gently bend the wire to make a horseshoe shape, and then manipulate the greenery to follow suit, bending and securing it to the wire with florist tape as needed. Finish it with a bow tied around the wreath’s center to hide the construction.

For the Wreath, using florist wire, make a ring and then bend the wire back around itself to secure. Cover with greenery (with needles pointing in the same direction), and attach to the form with florist tape. Add a bow.

An Arrangement To Outlast the Holidays

ROBBIE CAPONETTO. STYLING: KATHLEEN VARNER


Let the celebratory spirit linger by pairing sunny, sturdy amaryllis with poinsettias. Place the display on an entry console or a sideboard as an alternative to a tiny tabletop tree. These potted pretties also make thoughtful gifts for friends and neighbors. Repot an amaryllis and a mini poinsettia in a shallow vessel, and then cover the soil with moss. Snugly nestle pomegranates at the base of the flowers, and add berry-covered branches for extra pops of red. Extend the impact by placing loose fruit on the table below.

Think of a Novel Idea

Robbie Caponetto

For a hint of holiday flair with a literary touch, put spare paperbacks to work by stacking them into a Christmas tree. It’s a wonderfully whimsical touch to a mantle or bookshelf.

Sneak in Surprises

Robbie Caponetto; Design: Kathleen Varner

Shift into neutral for a simple bouquet that incorporates natural colors and textures. You’ll need cedar, spiral eucalyptus, dusty miller, and a branch holding a trio of petite pinecones to create this look. It can add unexpected charm to a bookshelf, bedside table, or windowsill. This petite bouquet will make a lovely host gift, or put together multiples for giving away at your holiday luncheon.

Extend a Warm Welcome

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Our favorite way to light up any season is a brilliant array of paper luminaries. Line them up along your front walkway, along your driveway, or scatter them on your porch for a bright, twinkling Christmas display that’s so simple and affordable to pull off. You can buy premade luminaries in bulk online, or make your own using white paper bags, pebbles, and battery-powered LED candle lights. After gathering your supplies, place a handful of pebbles in the bottom of your paper bag so it is less likely to blow away or fall over. Using your fingers, clear a place for the LED light (turned on) to rest. Wait until its dark out, and you have a glowing luminary to light up your drive.

Choose a Gift Wrapping Style

Photo: Mary Britton Senseney

The bigger your Southern family, the harder it is for you to find and purchase personalized gifts for everyone. If you don’t have a spectacular gift – or even if you do! – the best way to make your gift more exciting is by spending a little more time on the packaging. These creative Christmas wrapping ideas are perfect for any gift. Choose a theme – traditional, natural, vintage, glitzy, coastal, or rustic – you can’t go wrong. Purchase small trinkets for decorative touch, like the wooden reindeer, glittery initial, cotton clipping, or bell and ornament pictured above. By layering paper, ribbon, and tags, you can create a picture-perfect package.

Consider Cool Jewel Tones

Antonis Achilleos; Produced By Buffy Hargett Miller

Stems of pussy willow adds some height to a simple arrangement of pine branches with cones, displayed in an antique blue pickle jar. (Find these online or at thrift stores.) A turquoise ribbon complements the colored jar and the decorative Christmas trees. The limes accentuate the green tones from the branches and connect them to the base, a large pewter tray that offers a bit of shimmer without the shine of silver.

Let the Tree Tell Your Story

Alison Gootee; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Adorn your tree with meaningful ornaments, like these which were collected during the family’s travels. Finish your design with cascading blue and red velvet ribbons.

Entertain with Bold Red Accents

Alison Gootee; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Muted colors with printed seasonal menus and gold ribbons pair wonderfully with pops of Christmas reds.

Match Gift Tags to Your Color Scheme

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

A true Southern decorator knows just how important a well-wrapped gift is, and you will never catch us wrapping our gifts in computer paper. For family gatherings, make the exterior of your gifts look just as good as the presents that lie inside. The bonus is that, until you give the gifts to their recipients, they will add class to your living room while they wait under your tree. Pair preprinted gift tags that reinforce your decor scheme with boxes wrapped in chocolate and metallic papers to add character under the tree.

Welcome with Wreaths

Marta Pérez; Styling: Vero Designs

Greenery can make a big impact, even outside. Add matching wreaths with ribbon to each window of your home, and don’t forget the doorway. Make an extra special entry by creating an evergreen border to your front door.

Decorate with Family Heirlooms

Photo by Erica George Dines

The next time you are handed down a beautiful piece of family furniture from an elder, don’t forsake it because you don’t have the room. Save these heirlooms for seasonal occasions, and use them in your Christmas decorating. Showcase them during the most wonderful time of the year by putting them on display. This mahogany buffet may not be useful all year round, but during the holiday season, it is a perfect place to serve Christmas brunch. It fits perfectly into a niche built just for it. Update the pieces with modern accessories, such as a pair of mod white lamps, which help a traditional piece of furniture blend seamlessly with more modern tastes.

Strike a Posy

Robbie Caponetto; Design: Kathleen Varner

Let the magnolia leaves dictate the size and shape of each arrangement, but keep them small in scale so they don’t overwhelm the place setting. From there, the equation is simple: two magnolia leaves, a sprig of cedar and/or pine for texture, and berries on top for a pop of color. A handful of foraged leaves (we opted for deep purple foliage to contrast with the bright green magnolia) can fill in any holes. Secure with florist tape at the base, and then wrap the bottom with a velvet ribbon—bonus points for selecting a shade that coordinates with your china. As you put these together, alternate showing off the fronts and backs of magnolia leaves for added interest.

Branch Out

Alison Gootee; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Nestle evergreen clippings in a bar cart for fresh accents.

Wow with Regional Touches

Photo: Robbie Caponetto; Styling: Lisa Powell Bailey

Hang pine garland, velvet bows, pinecones, and pheasant feathers along your banister for an entry guests won’t soon forget.

Welcome Guests in Memorable Southern Style

Photo: Melina Hammer

Upgrade your entryway by twirling topiaries with fruit. Start with two bonbon compotes. Hot-glue sheet moss to a plastic-foam cone. Stick florist clay adhesive to the bottom of the compote, and press the cone onto it. Attach a row of green plums (or Key limes) by skewering with a wooden pick and inserting into cone in an upward swirl. Glue scabiosa pods and dried hydrangea blossoms next. Repeat. Skewer a pineapple (spray-painted gold) with a wooden pick, and insert into top of topiary. Try spray-painting the dried hydrangeas white for an elegant touch.

Get Creative with Gift Tags

Photo by Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Save money and add a personal touch by making your own Christmas gift tags. Kids love getting to craft their own unique tags. Pictured above, the crafty holiday homemaker used a color copier to make copies of tartan fabric, and then cut the copies it into rectangles to create each patterned gift tags. You can also print background patterns from the Internet and make simple designs using your computer. Type or handwrite names in the center. Add ribbons and bells to dress up each gift. Choose wrapping paper and patterns that match your room’s decor, as these gifts will be waiting under the tree for the whole Christmas season.

Bring Comfort and Joy

Marta Pérez; Styling: Vero Designs

Bottle trees and a bit of greenery zip-tied to the bamboo headboard shift the guest room into festive mode without much upkeep.

Savor Travel Memories

LAUREY W. GLENN

Extend the festivities to empty corners. A framed collage of pages from expired passports sets an adventurous backdrop for a colorful tree decorated with garland and accents inspired by far-flung locales.

Cluster Ornaments

Photo by Monica Buck

This Christmas tree secret is ingenious, easy, and cheap. Cluster small ornaments together for an extravagant impact. Small ornaments can easily get lost on a busy tree amid the sparkling lights and merry garland. Using thread or fishing wire, simply thread a cluster of ornaments together and tie to make an eye-catching arrangement. Hang them on your tree sporadically for shiny upgrades – we love adding a bell or two for some jingle. Incorporate the same individual small ornaments throughout the tree to echo the larger displays. You can also hang these festive ornamental clusters around your house, such as on wreaths or from your mantel.

Bring In the Greens

Antonis Achilleos; Produced By Buffy Hargett Miller

Play up one color for extra impact. We paired clear glass containers with fruit, foliage, and ribbon in a fresh shade for an unexpected display. Arrange camellia branches in one water-filled vase and naked seeded eucalyptus in another. Place a mound of apples beneath a glass bowl. Accent with contrasting ornaments and tiny battery-powered fairy lights.

Set Out Small Seasonal Displays

Photo: Robbie Caponetto; Styling: Lisa Powell Bailey

Place ornaments and antlers in a versatile vessel, like an antique dough bowl, anywhere around the house for a small dose of cheer. It works wonders on an entry table or atop a mantel.

Make a Merry Mailbox Topper

Photo by Jim Bathie

This simple Christmas decoration is an easy way to spruce up your front yard for the holiday season, and comes together with only a few supplies that you may already have on hand. Top off a square brick mailbox with an abundance of bouquet winter plants. Fill a wide, shallow planter with an arrangements of bouquet winter plats like pansies, flowering cabbage, cedar, fir, lavender, and rosemary. We trimmed ours to resemble a Christmas tree. Tuck in spare ornaments in contrasting colors, like deep red and metallic gold. Add pinecones to fill gaps and add texture. Finish your mailbox with a satin bow.

Put Out the Good Stuff

Marta Pérez; Styling: Vero Designs

The winning table formula of family silver + a hit of color + inexpensive grocery store flowers is just as effective now as at any other time of year.

Try a Two-Piece Wreath

 Photo by Jim Bathie

If you want to get the look of a single warm, welcoming holiday wreath, but have a double-door entry, do not fret. Instead of forgoing the whole idea, consider using a two-piece wreath to adorn a double-door entry. Make your own by starting with a wreath that has a sturdy base so it will hold its shape. We used fresh evergreen here, but a grapevine wreath will work just as well. Cut the wreath in half, lengthwise, with sturdy wire clippers. Use florist wire to attach evergreen clippings, fruits, and ribbons. Securely hang half of the wreath on each door so the two meet in the center with the doors are closed.

Display Christmas Lanterns

Photo by Jim Bathie

In a pinch for a festive, company-worthy way to decorate your doorstep this holiday season? Greet guests in style by arranging a grouping of festive candleholders and lanterns at your entryway for quick and easy holiday style. Arrange large, sturdy candles for a warm glow in mismatched lanterns. Consider using flameless candles as a worry-free alternative to regular pillars.

Spread Cheer Outdoors

Marta Pérez; Styling: Vero Designs

Low-care (or no-care) plants set the scene while placing a wreath front and center crowns an outdoor area in complementary cheer. Add a garden-friendly centerpiece by dropping paperwhites into a pine needle basket.

Prep A Festive Scene

Alison Gootee; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Set your tablescape early in the season to give you a nice daily reminder to your countdown to Christmas dinner. Layer green and white linens, seasonal candles, red flowers, and small dishes filled with cranberries for a setting that will help your anticipation grow.

Wow With Winter Whites

Antonis Achilleos; Produced By Buffy Hargett Miller

Creamy white ceramics make great vessels for holiday blooms. We’ve mixed holly, cedar, and privet berries with white amaryllis and lime green mums. Start with foliage, placing the largest pieces first to establish the size of your display. Add flowers and berries one stem at a time to form a triangle of amaryllis, mums, and berries. Fill in with more greenery, and skirt your vase with colorful packages and ornaments.

Cheer Up Outdoor Spaces

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Don’t neglect outdoor patios and porches in your Christmas decorating. Because we live in the South, our winters are much more mild, and we can use our screen porches all the way through the Christmas season. Decorate your outdoor spaces with wreaths, candles, and large glowing orbs to draw guests outside to cozy up by the fire. This understated yet festive outdoor spaces is perfect for casual gatherings. We love the rustic candlesticks seen on the table of this back porch. And while these red chairs are functional year round, when taken among all the festive Christmas decorations displayed during the holiday season, they begin to resemble cheery sleighs.

String Lights And Greenery

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

When it comes to decorating the front of a house for the holidays, we absolutely love wrapping Christmas lights around all of the columns on a stately home’s front porch. However, the dark green wires often distract from the elegant twinkle that we desire. Disguise those unsightly wires from string lights by winding them around a column or post with Christmas greenery or garland. Personalize the garland by attaching spray-painted pinecones and metallic ornaments with fishing line. Finally, set out a pretty container of ornamental cabbage or kale at the base. To add an additional pop of color, a potted Poinsettia also looks great.

Shift Out Of Neutral

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Lovers of neutral, subtle decor will love this metallic take on holiday decorating. Elegant, yet far from overwhelming, this theme is perfectly understated but still fancy enough for even a formal holiday gathering. Create an opulent feel without taking over the space by decorating your Christmas tree with sophisticated metallic shades. The limited color scheme of silver, gold, and bronze is both classy and timeless. Minimal pops of green and red bring festive cheer, while the dominant colors of silver and gold make the tree sparkle with subtle yet eye-catching flair. Choose icicle-style lights to wrap the tree to emulate diamonds.

Make A Statement With Peacock Feathers

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

In lieu of the traditional reds and greens of holiday flowers, use bright peacock feathers on your mantel as a statement piece. First, select a neutral container for the feathers – we chose this concrete plant box as a solid foundation. Place a block of floral foam inside of the container, and then arrange peacock feathers in a whimsical pattern. Add a few curly willow branches to add dimension in the back. Arrange ornaments in the base of the container to hide the floral foam and compliment the room’s other decorations. We suggest using this edgy arrangement to compliment other nontraditional design elements.

Choose Colors That Match Your Décor

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Just because large department stores seem to explode in bright reds and greens during the holiday season does not mean that you have to completely hide your house’s existing décor when prepping for the holidays. Instead, plan your Christmas decorations so that they work with, rather than hides, your existing home decor. Even if it means using unexpected colors, like cream and beige, a room with well-incorporated decorations throughout looks classy and expensive. Accents in shades of gold and silver blend seamlessly with this room’s soft white-and-ivory color scheme and play off the tones of other metallic accessories, like the coffee table.

Hang A Blooming Basket

Photo by Jim Bathie

Who says you have to wait until spring to decorate your porch with flowers? Spread Christmas cheer by greeting guests with a bright arrangement of seasonal paperwhites. Paperwhites belong to the daffodil family, and will flower indoors at any time of year. They are incredibly easy to grow and maintain, as they don’t even need soil to grow. Just place the paperwhite bulb in enough water to cover the lower portion of the bulb. While growing the paperwhites, keep the bulbs in a warm indoor spot that sees lots of sun. If you water them regularly, they will flower in a month or so. After blooming, paperwhites last longer when placed in a cool spot out of direct sunlight. Arrange the blooms along with heather, juniper, and moss in a planter and hang it directly on your front door.

Wrap Your Coffee Table

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

No, we are not telling you to wrap your coffee table in wrapping paper. Rather, get creative and upgrade your living area by wrapping a coffee table in belts of festive Christmas ribbon. Transform your coffee table into a Christmas present by crisscrossing strands of ribbon over the top and sides of the table, like you would when wrapping a gift. To avoid over-decoration, choose a neutral ribbon color that is close to the color of the table, and wrap loosely. Add festive centerpieces, like spray painted pine cones, and metallic family heirlooms to add sparkle to the elegant decoration.

Fill Cylinders With Ornaments

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

For a tasteful, intricate, and slightly minimalist display, fill transparent glass cylinders with painted holiday objects. Use spray paint to add a shimmery touch to pinecones, acorns, or round glass ornaments. A metallic color scheme is displayed above; however, we also love this idea using rich red and deep green, or ice blue and white – it just depends on your home’s existing color scheme. Display these tall decorations en mass, on a dining table, coffee table, or even a demilune. Large glass vases look fabulous when arranged on a windowsill. This do-it-yourself Christmas decoration is easy to make, yet results in a classy, elegant final product.

Use All Glittering Ornaments

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn 

Create a unified and sophisticated alternative to mismatched Christmas ornaments with glittering balls and stars in various finishes. Try this glittering ornament idea in a little girl’s room – you can have so much fun with bright and glitter pinks, greens, and light blues. While you can collect glittery Christmas ornaments from seasonal shops, you can also execute this idea yourself. Buy a variety of unfinished ornaments from your local craft store, and select a few festive shades of fine glitter. Adhere the glitter to the ornaments using adhesive spray, Mod Podge, or color-coordinated paint. Experiment with patterns for more intricate and handmade details.

Drape The Bannister

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Take advantage of your beautiful banister. Drape festive green winter garland up the handrail of a staircase, and anchor it with metallic gold or rich red bows for a Christmas welcome in your foyer. When anchoring the garland to your banister, make sure that you select a ribbon with wire trim. The wire trim will ensure that the ribbon maintains a stiff bow shape that lasts throughout the season. For added sparkle, string white icicle lights up the banister. Wind the spiral tightly around the base of your stairs as a festive finishing touch. Add aromatic clippings from your Christmas tree for a cheery bonus!

Put Out Pretty Pillows

Photo by Roger Davies

Quickly take your everyday living area to Christmas village by swapping out your basic throw pillows for festive, holiday-themed pillows. This quick fix is an inexpensive and easy way to redecorate a room and change the entire room’s look for the Christmas season. Find pillows at a local interior design shop, or whip up your own from festive holiday fabric. Although pillows are small, they shape a room’s atmosphere. By adding Christmas pillows to a room, you can forgo other holiday decorations and save time.

Hang Vintage Ornaments

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Sometimes, the best way to decorate a Christmas tree is with memories collected by your family. There is no need to reinvent and repurchase your Christmas tree decorations every year. Instead, stick with the familiar and beloved ornaments that your family has collected and made over the year. Decorating with a variety of themed ornaments will add a personalized touch that standard, matching ornaments cannot compete with; so we are declaring that it is perfectly okay to use the same ornaments every year. Each unique ornament will tell a story, and your Christmas tree will act as a great conversation piece during holiday gatherings.

Add Swag To Your Mantel

Photo by Roger Davies

Swags are not only for doorways and porches. Craft a classic, decorative swag for your mantel out of surprisingly nontraditional materials. Birch bark is one of a decorator’s favorite natural materials – its flexibility and light, beautiful pattern are perfect for many occasions. In this Christmas swag, thin tree branches and birch bark shavings make up the rustic display for a minimalist living room. Red berries and frosted Christmas trees in varying heights lend holiday touches to the natural arrangement, which could be used throughout the fall and winter seasons.

Accesorize Your Tree

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

As much as we love the traditional Christmas tree-topping gold star, sometimes, the classic tree topper doesn’t fit the room. Here, the metallic pastel color scheme need a tree topper that is a little more delicate and feminine. Instead of the traditional five-pointed star, try a soft, color-coordinating wire ribbon. Tie an oversize apricot bow with the ends cascading down the tree for extra drama. The ribbon ends should be cut so that they just skim the floor. No bow-tying skills? Have a local florist make one for minimal cost.

Drape Your Mailbox

Photo by Jim Bathie

Readers with traditionally shaped mailboxes can try this festive way to spruce up a driveway for the holidays. Turn your mailbox into a red and green Christmas tree. Wrap sheer ribbon loosely around a pine garland and drape the garland around the mailbox, securing with a flexible, thin wire or fishing line where necessary. To top off the display, wire clusters of bright Nandina berries to top off the post. Arrange the sheer ribbon in a voluminous bow for the finishing touch.

Note: Nandina berries are toxic to birds and grazing animals, so be sure that you keep them out of the reach of any household pets.

Make Your Own Magnolia Wreath

Photo by Roger Davies

Magnolia garland is one of the most traditional elements in all Southern Christmas decorating. If you have access to magnolia leaves, you can turn your Christmas displays into a modern, holiday fairyland by making your own wreath. We’ve given the traditional wreath an upgrade by with a square shape. Using magnolia clippings and florist foam wreaths, you can make your own Christmas magnolia wreath – no need for wire or glue! Wide white ribbon secures the wreaths to the ceiling, and keeps the embellishment to a minimum. Square wreaths look particularly sophisticated in a room with square windows, as they compliment the room’s geometric angles.

Pull Out Extra Ornaments

Photo by Monica Buck

As the popular saying goes, “waste not, want not.” Stretch your holiday décor to its maximum limit by using every last decoration to bring Christmas merriment into your home. Arrange any extra ornaments into leftover vases or wicker baskets. This cheap decoration idea means that none of your beautiful ornaments will go unused. We even added a few strands of leftover ribbons to our ornament collection to bring color to the display. Stack the vases on coffee tables and side tables to spread the color scheme across your entire living space. Arrange gifts around the base of your ornaments to incorporate them into their surroundings.

Choose Simplicity

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

When it comes to Christmas decor, the value of your holiday display is never measured by how many lights you can string or how many inflatable snowmen you can prop up in your front yard – as much as we love the movie, this is not National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Instead of blowing a fuse, opt for simple, classic, and rustic holiday décor. Beautiful evergreen wreaths secured using simple ribbons tied into bows lend an elegant and festive appearance to this white farmhouse. Achieve the same classic look at your own home by hanging simple matching evergreen wreaths on your doors and windows.

Create an Arrangement with Fruit and Greenery

Photo by Robbie Caponetto

One of the oldest, most traditional Southern decorating techniques has got to be the old fruit-in-glass-vase technique. From real lemons and limes to fake peaches and apples, you’ll find a fruit bowl in nearly every family home across the South. It is so easy to twist this classic decoration to fit the Christmas holidays. Simply use a glass hurricane or vase to create a festive, fruity arrangement by filling the jar with layers of limes, red holly berries, and lemons or oranges. The traditional Christmas colors of red, green, and gold will last all season. Top off your arrangement with steams of seasonal greenery.

Make Your Own Stockings

Southern Living

This rustic Christmas mantel décor is an easy Pinterest craft that even your 3-year-old couldn’t mess up. For a cheap holiday stocking display, skip the extravagant stockings and instead, make your own. Use simple and inexpensive burlap fabric from the fabric store to fashion handmade Christmas stockings. Hand-stitch the edges of each stocking foot with light-colored twine – the messier, the better. With these stockings, a loopy, uneven stitch actually compliments the rustic burlap. Label each stocking with mismatched block letters, found at a flea market or on sale at a craft store, for a personal touch. Secure to your mantel using the same twine used to stitch the stocking.

Wrap With A Natural Look

Photo by Monica Buck

Make a department store worthy Christmas present display with this natural present wrapping technique. The contrasting light and rich browns add cozy, coordinated warmth under the Christmas tree, and the crisp whites add sharp clean lines to the earth-toned theme. Burlap and solid brown and white papers on the presents are in keeping with the room’s color palette. Natural elements, like wood tags, adorn the gifts. To achieve this beautiful natural look, first, choose a color scheme. Buy two different wrapping materials in different colors and textures. Then, find five to six selections of diverse ribbons, making sure to choose spools of various widths.

Celebrate with Magnificent Magnolia

Antonis Achilleos; Produced By Buffy Hargett Miller

A wooden vessel creates a more relaxed, natural look while also hiding the florist foam, which holds the magnolias in place. To make this asymmetrical foliage arrangement, choose the longest branch first, one that reaches far enough to one side to give it a horizontal shape. Place your second-longest branch on the other side and the shortest in the center. Then accent with ornaments and fairy lights placed nearby.

Put Your Tree in a Basket

Photo by Monica Buck

Christmas tree skirts can be costly, and once you commit to a pattern, you’re stuck with it. Save your wallet by displaying your tree in something that you already have lying around your house – a simple, natural woven basket. While you will likely still need to support the trunk using a tree stand inside of your basket, the results are much more beautiful than displaying your tree in a stand alone, and much cheaper than purchasing that tree skirt you only use once a year. A basket’s neutral color and versatility allow it to coordinate with virtually any Christmas décor you choose.

Add Shine With Mercury Glass

Photo by Monica Buck

Look into Christmases past, present, and future with these crystal ball decorations. You can add these mercury glass balls to a shiny display for even more sparkle and glitz, or incorporate them into a rustic display for an element of elegance. Mercury is such a versatile finish. Because it is made from natural elements, it works in a natural display, as above. But its high-shine and mirrored finish also works for luxe, high-end decor themes. Use these mercury glass balls to adorn your Christmas tree, or pile them up in a basket by the fireplace. Their large size is unique and makes a big impression.

Add “Wow” With A Disco Ball

Photo by Monica Buck

Rejoice, rejoice. Disco is not dead. This unique Christmas idea is reminiscent of glory days gone but not forgotten. Pay tribute to Donna Summer, Abba, and The Bee Gees by making sure that your Christmas decor keeps the Disco stayin’ alive. Hang a disco ball from the ceiling to float it above your Christmas tree. This tip works best with flocked Christmas trees; the mod silver sparkle of a disco ball blends best with nontraditional decor. A flocked tree needs a festive punch, so a run-of-the-mill start doesn’t suit it. A disco ball is much more appropriate. Top it with a bow, and you’ve got a tree worthy of the Disco Queen herself.

Use A Consistent Color Scheme

Photo by Monica Buck

As long as you keep your color scheme consistent, you don’t have to decorate in traditional reds, greens, and golds. This rule is especially true when using a flocked Christmas tree. The white tree branches mean that you get a blank canvas. Turn your house into a winter wonderland by choosing an icy, sparkly theme that is sure leave a lasting impression on guests. Keep the color scheme consistent by introducing only shades of three different colors. Above, we chose bright white, cool aqua, and turquoise. The bright, colorful beaded garland is a dramatic contrast against a Christmas tree’s stark white branches.

Decorate With Magnolia And Eucalyptus

Photo by Charles Walton IV

This Christmas, remember that even your outdoor furniture deserves a few festive decorations. Celebrate the holidays on your patio, too. Dress up the backs of your outdoor chairs by tying graceful swags of magnolia leaves and aromatic eucalyptus sprigs to each chair arm with a red, festive ribbon. While magnolia is a plant often used in Southern Christmas decorating, the eucalyptus sprigs are a less common – and a more creative – way to incorporate unique elements into your traditional holiday decor. Eucalyptus leaves are fragrant, calming, and long lasting. Just be sure to attach the trimmings in a manner that won’t crowd someone when seated.

Adorn Your Gifts

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Because those Christmas presents are already hanging out under your tree for the entire length of the holiday season, why not make them part of your house’s festive decorations? Make your wrapped Christmas packages Pinterest-level-pretty by attaching small tokens to each gift. Some suggested adornments include bells, small ornaments, sprigs of evergreen, glittery snowflakes and holly. The possibilities are endless, and gifts can be customized dependent upon their recipient. Pick a variety of patterns and colors of wrapping paper, and unify the scheme with the same color ribbon.

Wrap Gifts To Match Your Décor

Photo by Monica Buck

In the time leading up to Christmas morning, the gifts under your tree act will as functional decorations. You might as well make them part of your Christmas decoration theme. They are going to be there, anyway. Purchase wrapping paper that coordinates with your decorating color scheme. We suggest selecting at least two different wrapping paper rolls, and three to four different ribbon spools. The varied wrapping will bring layers of intricate detail to the space under your tree. Tie leftover ornaments into the ribbons for creative gift tags.

Make A Custom Tree Skirt

Photo by Monica Buck

Christmas tree skirt shopping can be either a happy hit or a major miss; you may find a skirt made out of fabric so beautiful that you completely redesign your entire decor theme based upon the festive upholstery fabric. Or, you may end up spending money on a plain red tree skirt that you bought out of desperation. Instead of fretting over store-bought tree skirts, make your own using fabrics from other upholstered pieces, like chairs, pillows, or even the sofa, in the room. Save scraps from your past projects to piece together alternating rings that will always match your room.

Make Your Own Gift Tags

Photo by Monica Buck

Pretty gift tags add an irreplaceable finishing touch to any Christmas gift. Make your own for an easy, personalized touch. Hand making gift tags is a great holiday crafting project for kids – they will experience the selfless joy of giving by being involved in the gift-giving process. A deck of cards is the perfect medium for quick gift-tag making. Using a cookie cutter and a pencil, trace the shape of your choice onto a deck of cards. Cut out and punch a hole in the tops, and string the gingerbread man onto Christmas gifts and ribbons. Use any type of paper and any shape cookie cutter to personalize these hand-made holiday tokens.

Give Your Entry A Theme

Photo by Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Take your front door to next-level festivity. Instead of just hanging up a wreath and calling it quits, go all-out and create an entry with a theme. Stage a royal welcome by hanging lanterns from shepherd hooks anchored in galvanized washtubs planted with ivy. Topped with a faux cardinal, this seasonal lighting solution helps introduce your Christmas decorating theme right at the front door. For a red-carpet look, create a clever runner with tartan fabric and green burlap that spans from the door to the steps. Hold the runner in place with heavy-duty double-sided tape from the hardware store.

Punctuate Your Table With White Tulips

Photo by Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Magnolias and paperwhites are not the only flower that we suggest for Christmas decorating. Punctuate classic reds, greens, and golds with a bright burst of white tulips. Tulips are available year-round from your local florist or grocery store, and they are a fresh alternative to other holiday flowers. Group them in thick clusters for maximum impact. Before you arranging the tulips in your vase, cut the tips and add a scoop of sugar for longevity. This decoration tip works with both casual and elegant décor themes.

Give Goodie Bags

Photo by Beth Dreiling Hontzas

When hosting a holiday party, let your festive decorations double as fun goodie bags. Arrange them in your home’s main entry and exit so that upon their arrival, guests are greeted with merry goodies. Pictured above, the holiday host displays faux cardinal ornaments on top of a rustic holiday basket of treats. The baskets will then be given as parting gifts to departing guests. You can customize your own goodie bags with containers and treats that compliment your holiday decor. Try metallic boxes filled with chocolate truffles to match elegant decor, or cellophane bags with colorful candies for a children’s Christmas party.

Dress Your Chairs

Photo by Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Outfit your everyday dining room chairs in their Christmas best. Wrap your chairs in a merry cummerbund fashion, using a band of burlap as the base, and tartan on top. Tie with wide red grosgrain ribbon, and secure all cloth with an oversize laundry pin. Add a few jaunty pheasant feathers, and use scissors to make inch-wide cuts along the bottom of the burlap for a frilled, fringe look. Customize the fabric choices and color schemes to fit your desires. We suggest staying away from fabric with glitter – when guests lean back on their chairs, the glitter tends to rub off.

Get Festive With Floating Candles

Photo by Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Instead of a traditional table runner, try placing boot trays, or shallow trays, end to end down the full lengthwise center of your dining room table. To prevent accidental leakage, seal the trays with silicon caulk before filling them with water. Buy festive float candles, like the snow-flake shapes we have pictured above, to illuminate your dining room in holiday cheer. We love this unique Christmas decoration idea so much that we want to put a float candle tray in every room.

Hang Decorations In Windows

Photo by Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Your house will turn heads with this original way to add extra Christmas cheer to your windows. Adorn bare windows with a quaint winter scene. We’ve pictured a pair of cardinals perched on a birch log. Surround the scene with fresh evergreen branches and printed patterned ribbon to add Christmas color to a plain window. Personalize the scene you choose to display – for an elegant, modern arrangement, hang glittery ornaments from the ceiling. For a fun and festive Christmas arrangement, try displaying Santa’s hat and sleigh bells.

Make Your Own Tree Topper

Photo by Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Tree toppers are a lot like the icing on the cake – they pull everything together, and a Christmas tree isn’t complete without one. But, just like topping lemon cake with cream cheese icing ruins the entire dessert, so to can choosing the wrong tree topper ruin your entire room. If you can’t find the perfect tree topper in a store, try making your own. Cut your desired shape from ½-inch-thick foam core board. Here, this star topper is covered with tartan fabric and edged with ½-inch-thick ribbon. Decorated with jingle bells and studded with plaid buttons, it provides the perfect topping for a plaid-loving family.

Extend Your Party Theme To The Tree

Photo by Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Create a memorable Christmas tree that coordinates with your decorating theme by using only a few types of ornaments. This tree has plaid everywhere – can you guess the theme of the rest of the house? Silver tassels are finished with double knots of plaid ribbon. Red birds hunker down in cozy nests, and shiny bells lure kids of all ages to give a little jingle. Wooden craft-store disks, covered with plaid paper, take the place of traditional glass balls. You’d never guess that the plaid disks were actually made by photocopying fabric on a color copier, and then tracing and cutting out large circles! This tree is a true DIY masterpiece.

Hang Three Wreaths

Photo by Charles Walton IV

Whoever said “three’s a crowd” obviously never saw how wonderful and festive three wreaths look when displayed on a front door during the holiday season. Forgo the traditional single wreath on your porch, and stack three small evergreen wreaths for a long and loopy design that adds impact and originality to your home’s traditional front door. Keep them spaced apart or tie together with wire so they appear to be connected. Weave natural or painted pinecones into each wreath, secure with wire, and tie a matching ornamental bow on the top to make it holiday-worthy. Border your doorframe with matching evergreen garland, and cluster pinecones at the top of the frame to echo the wreaths’ elements.

Make Arrangements Out of Greenery

Photo by Robbie Caponetto

Save those Christmas-tree clippings! Recycle the simple, fragrant sprigs of greenery by placing them in colorful glass vases or jars for quick and easy coffee table arrangements. For a pop of natural, add sprigs of Holly or Nandina berries to the arrangements. You can even add sparkle by lightly coating the branches in metallic spray paint. Tie ribbon or fabric scraps around the necks of the vases for added cheer. Have each of your children pick their favorite ornaments, and attach using the ties – they will love their mini Christmas trees. Rumor has it, Santa’s elves love leaving chocolate squares under these trees in the days leading up to Christmas night.

Hang Twinkling Lights

Photo by Roger Davies

This gala-worthy technique is a quick way to upgrade your outdoor patio with glitz and sparkle. Everyone has a few strands of lights left over after decorating their front porches, so try using them to spruce up your patio with holiday cheer. Hang the twinkling white lights on a fountain or stone wall in your garden to create a striking winter focal point on your patio or porch. You can also hang lights from an outdoor shed, pool house, or tall fence. Even if it’s too cold to entertain outside, you’re guests will enjoy the soft, cozy glow through the windows.

Embellish With Ribbon

Photo by Robbie Caponetto

This year, instead of wrapping ribbon around your Christmas tree, let it cascade down. Decorate your tree with long, cascading tendrils of colorful ribbon, rickrack, and pom-pom fringe for a whimsical, colorful, and modern Christmas tree. Search the remnants section of your local fabric-and-trim store for clearance deals on pieces that are at the end of a roll or oddly-sized, and collect them throughout the entire year. Attach the ribbons and trims directly to an embroidery hoop and simply slide over the top of your tree. Stick to one color scheme, or make it bright. This nontraditional, fun design works best in a casual room, or a child’s bedroom.

Encourage Conversation Flow

Photo by Erica George Dines

This year, forgo formality. Why designate a guest of honor to sit at the head of the table when you love all of your guests equally? Place a round table in a square-shaped room for more natural, relaxed Christmas entertaining. The circular shape encourages conversation flow between all guests, so you’re not stuck talking to the people sitting on either side of you. With this arrangement, when Pawpaw makes a joke, everyone gets to laugh along with him. An oversized lantern hanging above the table casts a romantic glow, and is a fresh alternative to a traditional chandelier. Mismatched chairs add to the casual, relaxed atmosphere in this comfortable Christmas dining room.

Add Symmetry With Perfect Pairs

Photo by Erica George Dines

This photo only shows the half of it – literally. Across this room’s open-air archway is nestled another plush stool and mirror, identical to the arrangement pictured above. The matching pairs of items add symmetry to a room, and help expand a smaller space. A set of old stools, re-covered in lush brown mohair, flank the arched entry between the living space and the dining room, along with two identical framed mirrors and Christmas wreaths. These stools are functional, as they can also act as extra seating for Christmas entertaining. The mirrors help visually enlarge the small space to open it for plenty of holiday entertaining.

Remember The Outdoor Furniture

 Photo by Charles Walton IV

Planning to entertain guests outdoors during this holiday season? For those deep-south citizens whose weather allows for outdoor entertaining, make sure that you take advantage of your patio space. Pull elements from your home’s decor right into the center of the action by dressing up your outdoor furniture in holiday drapery. Wrap greenery around the backs of patio chairs, and secure the garland with large red ribbon. You can even attach red ribbon to your light fixtures to brighten things up. Replace your year-round cushions with bright red, weatherproof pillows. Toss a few throws across your furniture in case the weather gets too cold, light a fire, and enjoy your outdoor winter wonderland.

Wrap Gifts In Burlap

Photo by Charles Walton IV

Send your holiday guests away with a creatively packaged gift to mark the festive occasion. Wrap a simple gift in burlap, securing the gift with a silky ribbon to offset the burlap’s rough texture. Tuck in some holly and a Star of Bethlehem then, display them by the door or gate for guests to pick up as they depart. Some great holiday gift ideas include simple vases (pictured), ornaments, potpourri, or nativity figurines. This budget-friendly gift idea is an easy way to let guests know that you are thinking of them even after they leave your house.

Fill Lanterns With Berries And Eucalyptus

Photo by Charles Walton IV

Create your own snow globes using elements of nature. Suspend lanterns from the underside of a patio covering or umbrella with red ribbon or fishing wire. We chose a glass lantern with a brass finish; but any lanterns will do. Choose natural elements such as holly berries and eucalyptus sprigs, instead of candles, to fill the lanterns with scenes of a Christmas forest. Try to vary the lengths of each ribbon, and space them far enough apart so that a passing breeze won’t knock them together.

Tie Wreaths On Napkin Rings

Photo by Charles Walton IV

Not all napkin rings are created the same, and traditional table settings may not suit your natural holiday decor. For more casual holiday gatherings, forgo the stuffy, silver napkin rings. Instead, create your own using natural materials. Small grapevine napkin rings, available at craft stores and florists, are perfect substitutes. Tie each onto a cloth napkin using a soft, satin ribbon in a color that matches your napkins. These vine-like wreaths are a subtle nod to both traditional table settings, and traditional wreaths. Little touches like this will help you complete your natural Christmas decorating theme without going over the top.

Set Up A Breakfast Buffet

Photo by Charles Walton IV

Flowers and centerpieces do not only belong in your home’s formal dining room. Spread holiday cheer throughout your entire house by setting up a casual Christmas breakfast buffet on a kitchen island accented with displays of fresh greenery and bright blooms. Draw attention to a hanging light fixture by attaching a standard wreath to the bottom of it, and embellishing it with themed greenery. Here, we used a grapevine wreath and eucalyptus sprigs to echo the home’s decorative theme.

Decorate Your Own Cupcake Station

Photo by Beth Dreiling Hontzas

When planning a holiday gathering, its important to remember that every Christmas gathering needs a hands-on activity for the kids. A cupcake decorating station is the perfect way to keep kids occupied, entertained, and excited – and it does the same for adults! Bring out the kid in everyone with a decorate-your-own cupcake station. Serve vanilla and chocolate cupcakes on the table, with an assortment of buttercream icings and Christmas toppings. And most importantly, put out plenty of festive napkins – things tend to get a little messy when you mix kids and cupcakes.

Create A Topiary That Belies Its Ease

Photo: Melina Hammer

Fast can be fabulous. If you can hold a bunch of lilies in your hand and wrap the stems with rubber bands, you can whip up a knockout arrangement that’s ideal for your buffet. Start with a silver casserole dish. Gather 8 to 12 stems of ‘Casablanca’ lilies in one hand, and cut stems so they’re about 15 inches long. Wrap a rubber band around the stems at the top and another about 5 inches from the bottom. Insert the bundle into the center of a piece of water-soaked florist foam fitted into a casserole dish. Wrap stems with crisscrossed ribbon to hide the rubber bands. Add evergreens to the florist foam, and tie on ornaments with wire. Try mixing gold and silver. We layered two kinds of gold ribbon and then added large and small shiny and matte silver balls.

Give A Twist On Tradition

Erica George Dines

Don’t get us wrong: we love tradition. From cutting down our own evergreen Christmas trees to leaving homemade cookies out for Santa Clause, there are some things that our families do every year that signify Christmas is coming. However, there is nothing wrong with changing up your holiday decor every now and then; sometimes, traditional just doesn’t fit your home. Instead of traditional evergreen wreaths, try this sophisticated, minimalist twist. Switch out evergreen wreaths for ones made of branches, like these willow versions lightly sprayed with flat white paint. Arrange these wreaths in groups of two or more for a modern take on a classic Christmas wreath.

Make A Mason Jar Snow Globe

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Canners and crafters rejoice! We have found the craft of the season that both kids and adults will love. These rustic snow globes are the perfect way to incorporate some handmade holiday decor without downgrading an elegant room. All you need to create your own are jars in assorted sizes (here, 8, 16, and 32 ounces), waterproof superglue, trinkets (we used mini Christmas trees, but anything from ornaments to small toys will work), glycerin (available at crafts stores), and glitter. Simply glue your trinkets to the mason jar lid, let dry, and fill with water, glitter, and a few drops of glycerin. Just don’t forget to glue on the lid!

Merry Crimson Centerpiece

BRIAN WOODCOCK CONTAINERS: ACCENT DECOR FLOWERS: MAYESH WHOLESALE FLORIST


Mixing blooms and berries gives this mainly red bouquet more dimension. First, place a block of florist foam into your vase. Next, make a grid over the mouth of the vessel with florist tape. Atlanta Floral Artist Canaan Marshall chose amaryllis as the hero flower. “I started with this one because I wanted to stage everything else around it,” he says. Fill in with roses of varying heights (he reflexed the outer petals by flipping them outward), variegated holly leaves and berries, clippings of cedar and Douglas fir, and twiggy branches cut from the yard. Using florist wire, attach two pinecones to the florist tape.

Make Your Own Coasters

Photo by Beth Dreiling Hontzas

These versatile, handcrafted coasters will add the perfect personal touch to your holiday entertaining. Coasters are an absolute must for any Southern gathering, where drinks are flowing in the nearby vicinity of antique wooden tables. In order to protect your favorite furniture from watermarks, make sure you equip your guests with the proper defense, like these DIY coasters. Choose a pattern of fabric that best fits your theme, such as a festive tartan print. Cut the fabric into small coaster-sized squares using fabric shears, and then slide the squares into photo coasters.

Make Homemade Wreaths

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

In search of the perfect holiday wreath? Get off Pinterest, and go outside into your own backyard. Search your own property for inspiring supplies to create one of these one-of-a-kind wreaths. They’re also great conversation pieces – when a guest asks where you found your lush wreath, you can tell them that you made it from your own back yard!

Dress Your Home In Red

Photo: Robbie Caponetto

If you are looking for a way to decorate for Christmas that doesn’t involve a wreath, try this colorful way to bring nature inside. Red is perfect for the season, but poinsettias are not the only red plants you can incorporate into your holiday floral arrangements. For fresh and modern holiday decorations, try this creative floral touch. Accessorize your home with fresh holiday blooms in bud vases that add bold, seasonal style. To create this instagram-ready look, cut a few branches of yaupon holly (loaded with berries) and red cedar to mix with the scarlet blooms of “Red Lion” amaryllis.

Hang a Poinsettia Basket

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Poinsettias are one of our favorite go-to ways to decorate for the Christmas season. They are the perfect way to add classy, elegant, and traditional color to any room. To add a creative touch to your display this year. Instead of containing your plants inside of standard plastic pots, swap the pots for a basket lined with earthy green moss. You can hang it inside or outside for a unique and colorful display. We love poinsettias for their range of color and sizes. They’ll offer nonstop color well into the New Year if you place them in a cool, well-lit room and keep the soil moist but not wet. A big no-no is letting plants sit in a water-filled sleeve – they’ll rot.

Freshen Up Your Palette

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

There are a lot of ways to make a house exude Christmas vibes without covering every inch of your home in bright red and green plaid. For a fresh take on Christmas décor, choose variations of the color. We love the pastel pinks and light greens used in this modern Christmas giftwrap theme. Patterned paper, wide satin ribbons, and clear tie-ons make this understated color scheme holiday-ready. Choose patterns of paper with coordinated colors that are not perfect matches for a casual yet crafty and creative giftwrap, and focus more on matching your ribbon shades. These understated gift packages look anything but boring when arranged under your tree.

Get Crafty

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

This creative DIY Christmas hack is an easy way to freshen up a tired decorations. Simplify over-decorated, outdated, and busy ornaments by going monochromatic. We love how modern a Christmas tree that is decorated in all white ornaments looks, and you can DIY this elegant look on the cheap. Simply choose a shade of spray paint and coat your ornaments and other fixtures. Bring a pop of color into the theme with silky ribbons or colorful lights. You can even add a little festive glitter to create an instant collection that feels familiar, loved, and personalized.

Customize Presents

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Extend your tree’s color palette to the presents underneath it. For a fresh and modern color palette that still echoes traditional elements of Christmas, try cheery green, bright yellow, and crisp white. Layer ribbon for department-store-worthy wrapping that your gift’s recipients will love. Then, customize your presents by hand making each gift tag. Pick out a few stamps from your local craft store, or use a thin marker to doodle customized drawings onto the fronts of each tag. This creative packaging idea consists of layers of bright paper, ribbon, customized gift tags, and delicate pinecone tie-ons.

Trim the Fireplace

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Get inspired by winter nature, and layer lush holiday greenery across your mantelpiece. This luxurious decoration will make your living room magazine-worthy. Across the top of your mantel, arrange a thick length of garland, wire a thick green bow in the middle, and then artfully weave the ribbon tails throughout the greenery. Work in pinecones, berry branches, berries, and various greenery sprigs for layers of holiday color and texture. Take your mantel from average to amazing by adding a wreath above for the perfect finishing touch.

Load on the Trimmings

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

For a glamorous, eye-catching tree, load up the evergreen with sparkling ornaments. This fun, glitzy combo of turquoise blue, warm cranberry, and radiant silver uses several different-shaped ornaments in coordinating shades for layers of charm. Find the glitziest beads you can – we used silver mica foam balls – and string them together with a needle and monofilament, or fishing line. Wrap white Christmas lights around your tree, and allow your sparkling ornaments to reflect the radiant holiday light. This stunning holiday tree design idea will make you smile every time you come home.

Top the Tree with Bells

Photo by Monica Buck

Can you hear the bells? Incorporate some good ole jingle bell rock by decorating your tree with festive, rustic, and oh-so-merry Christmas bells. Keep an eye out for temple bells at year-round flea markets, or order them online from a specialty store. We love brass bells for their rustic charm. Attach them to one another using wire and adds sprigs of fresh holly where they meet. Experiment with different toppers using various seasonal greenery and flowers. Bells are a classic decorating alternative to the typical star.

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