Holiday Projects for Instant Cheer

Turn your house from ho-hum to holiday-ready with these easy Christmas decorating ideas.

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Ornaments and Ribbon Headboard Accent
Ornaments-and-Ribbon Headboard Accent

    A wall, a headboard, and a door are all great spots for this simple-as-can-be idea. Sew a single ornament to the end of a length of ribbon, then loop around a hook or headboard and hold in place with strong tape. To create a diminutive bedside tree, wire together full branches and prop in florist's foam.

Wrapped Gift Boxes Display

    Pretty wrapped boxes -- even if they're empty -- can play up a distinctive holiday color scheme. Here, an unexpected combination of gold, cream, and chartreuse provides a vivid pop of color both on and under a bench. In place of bows, wrap a few loops of ribbon around the boxes and stick in a cedar sprig or two.

Holiday Flowers Table Centerpiece

    Sometimes the simplest flower arrangements can add the perfect amount of holiday cheer to a table. Arrange bright red roses in a tall vase and complement the centerpiece with leftover glittery ornaments in various sizes.

Christmas Card Holiday Garland

    Add festive greenery to the kitchen entryway with a large, leafy garland. Make it unique by adorning it with last year's (or this year's) Christmas cards, gold and green orbs, and sprigs of fir or spruce.

Guest Room with Holiday Cheer

    To pamper visiting family and friends, consider adding a few extra touches to the guest bedroom. Add a bright pop of color with a throw pillow and an extra quilt. To brighten the side of the bed, include a few red blooms in tin containers, and carry through the same color with a ribbon accent for a bottom-of-the-bed fir wreath. Spray-paint paper letters with a welcoming holiday message and set them atop a fir garland on a nearby shelf or table.

Mini Christmas Tree Tabletop Accent

    This potted dwarf Alberta spruce tree makes a great tabletop accent when combined with other holiday elements. Put the tree container into a basket such as a picnic tin and surround it with apples, oranges, or other fruits, adding pinecones or nuts for accent. Attach a vintage holiday card to the open lid to make the decoration even more festive.

Cheery Christmas Container

    You don't need to go out and buy a special container or vase for the holidays -- instead, get crafty and adorn what you already own. Cut felt to fit around a container, adding an inch to the length. Wrap the felt around and glue at the overlap, then center a ribbon and glue it in place. Using a cookie cutter as a pattern, cut seasonal shapes, such as trees, wreaths, or ornaments, from a complementary color of felt and glue in place. For the final touch, fill the container with ornaments and bits of greenery.

Juniper Sprig Place Setting

    Tiny juniper sprigs become make-believe trees, thanks to a cleverly disguised egg cup base filled with nuts and pinecones. For an added pop of color, tie the container (small vases or glasses would work, too) with a slender ribbon.

Falling Snowflakes Decoration

    A waterfall of wooden snowflakes, hung from thumbtacks and ribbon, cascades behind the headboard of a bed. Depending on the color scheme of the room where you put the decoration, change up the color of the hanging ribbon or use more than one color to add more festive cheer.

Red-and-White Chair Back Accents

    Dressing up the chairs around your dinner table is super easy with candy canes and holiday ribbon. Tie one end of some wire-edge ribbon in a pretty pattern around an oversize candy cane and the rest in a big bow on the back of each chair. For solid chairs, use T-pins or cut longer ribbon lengths for a sash.

Embellished Fruit Decoration

    Cloves are the go-to adornment for decorating fruit, but crafts materials can also add dimension and visual interest. Arrange inexpensive brads (found at crafts and office supply stores) in various patterns around apples or oranges. Pile the arrangement in a bowl and place on a coffee table or in an entryway.

Holiday Cheer Bedside Lamp

    Transform a clear glass lamp base or a large vase into a festive still life with a few accents. Fill the bottom with sea salt (a stand-in for snow) and arrange a scene with small ornaments, pine branches, and old photographs or cards.

Greenery Gift Garnish

    Surprising accents make present wrapping -- and giving -- that much more enjoyable. Instead of ribbon, tie bits of twine around each wrapped gift and add miniature sprigs or ornaments.

Beautiful Buffet Table

    Adorn this buffet table with several traditional and unique holiday decorations. Filled with apples and cherries, these lanterns light up the table without a candlestick in sight. Cut from inexpensive burlap that's fringed at the edges, a table scarf adds a colorful pop underneath, while a trio of trees are actually branches set in wet florist's foam in clay pots. A sliver-size window displays a holiday message spelled using adhesive letters.

Votive Candle Accents

    Votive candles with the right touches are the perfect holiday accent to any room, so consider polishing off your candle presentation with this smart idea. Fill a larger vase part way with fresh cranberries or small beads and insert a smaller glass votive holder. Mix and match sizes of vases or keep them all the same for a more consistent pattern.

Favorite Christmas Cards Display

    A new crop of holiday cards is a great way to display lots of color and pattern throughout your house. Use an old window shutter and tie lengths of ribbon from top to bottom, and attach a cards with double-stick tape.

Fresh Herbs Chair Back Decoration

    The produce aisle often has more decorating possibilities than you might think. Bundle fresh herbs together with twine and tie them together with a length of ribbon to make festive bouquets. For fragrance and color, try an arrangement of thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and a bay leaf.

    Editor's Tip: The bouquets can be made several days in advance -- refrigerate them until you're ready to use them.

Holiday Accent Pillow

    The best holiday decorations make use of what you already own, allowing you to transform them with the changing seasons. Add festive touches to a neutral pillow in no time at all. Cut a holiday shape -- a tree, a star, an ornament -- from felt or burlap, and use thick yarn or twine to secure the shape to the pillow.

Colorful Glass Candy Jar

    What would the holidays be without a few sweet treats? Luckily, bright ribbonlike varieties are pretty enough to display on their own. Fill a few lidded glass containers with various colors and sizes and loop a bright green cord through a pretty paper label.

Pretty Paper Accents

    Twisted into a cone, a square of decorative paper bedecks everything from a chair back to a doorknob. Secure the cone with glue and trim the top, then punch holes to insert a ribbon hanger and line with a pretty handkerchief or towel. Fill the easy-to-make decoration with a little gift or a sachet for a pretty take-home present.

Leftover Ornaments Bowl Decoration

    If you have leftover ornaments after decorating your Christmas tree, put past favorites or vintage finds to work in a simple tabletop decoration. Group similar styles in a large wide-mouthed bowl to make a sparkly and colorful addition to your table. If you don't have enough to fill the entire container, crumple up newspaper to fill the bottom, and cover with ornaments.

Holiday Headboard

    With a neutral base, it's easy to add a bit of temporary holiday flair to a bedroom. Drape hand towels or tea towels over a headboard, and pin together covers for throw pillows using striped napkins and place mats. Drape an unfinished length of burlap over a side table and add a potted dwarf evergreen. For the final touch, hang a few pine branches on the wall over the bed to accent the headboard.

Natural Holiday Basket

    Some of the most elegant focal pieces are crafted from simple materials and can be assembled without a fuss. Fill a wicker basket with repeating rows of moss, smooth stones, pinecones, and a cheery row of green apples, or use items from around the house and yard, such as acorns, nuts, sticks, herbs, flowers, and oranges.

Wool Mitten Door Decoration

    A little clutch of greens tucked into natural wool mittens makes the perfect simple door decoration for the holidays. Sew two off-white wool mittens to a wide dark green ribbon and fill one of the mittens with different kinds of Christmas greenery, such as holly leaves and spruce sprigs.

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