Take a fresh look at Christmas with these fun, casual approaches to holiday decorating.
Celebrate your large family or group of friends with a motley assortment of Christmas stockings hanging from the mantel. Identify the stockings with classic Christmas tags. No mantel? Hang the group from a bookshelf ledge or along a stairway banister.
Editor's Tip: These stockings are hanging from small inconspicuous nails rather than stocking hangers, which would dominate the display.
Fresh miniature evergreens spread Christmas cheer in an unexpected way. Pot a few of the fragrant plants in white pots and pitchers. Embellish the vessels with a short Christmas message, such as "Joy" or "Noel," by attaching one letter (printed on or glued to cardstock) to each container with ribbon, yarn, or twine.
Editor's Tip: Chipboard letters would add a fun 3-D effect to the display.
For an elegant, old-fashioned Christmas, layer elements in various textures and materials in a monochromatic color palette. Here, gold frames and antique tatted lace grace a concrete mantel. Nearby, a stark tree with a top hat tree topper boasts a wide variety of ornaments in ivory and gold -- as well as a garland made of pearls. Even the packages, wrapped in plain brown kraft paper, adhere to the color palette. Touches of black add a classic note of sophistication.
Create one stellar Christmas vignette for a variety of collectibles. This nook started with small vases of bright poinsettias. Once the vases were arranged, a collection of Santas, red ornaments, and miniature trees filled in the gaps for a seasonal display.
Editor's Tip: As a variation, use white poinsettias with a collection of snowmen or angels for a color-coordinated display.
Make ribbon trees by wrapping plastic foam cones with gingham and topping them with toile bows secured with T-pins.
Give your dining room chairs a holiday makeover with festive ribbons and ornaments. Wrap a wide ribbon around a chair and tie in a bow at the back. Wrap two narrow ribbons in coordinating colors around the chair and tie together in a knot (tucked behind the bow). Knot the ends of the narrow ribbons around ornaments in the same color scheme.
Note: The place settings feature napkin rings made from wide satin ribbon tied in a bow and embellished with additional ornaments.
Design a snowy still life for your Christmas buffet table. For the tabletop, combine white miniature trees (these are crafted from paper) with cloches and cake stands displaying sweet treats. Above the table, a framed mirror gets a seasonal update by wiring on bare branches that have been spritzed with spray-on snow.
Typically reserved for gardening, wire topiary forms (found at garden supply and florist shops) find their place in Christmas decor, too. Wrap the forms tightly with fine-gauge tinsel garland and secure with hot glue. Place a block of florist's foam inside silver flowerpots and stick the topiary tree into the foam. Cover the surface of the foam with chunks of frosted glass or faux snow.
Instead of relegating incoming Christmas cards to a basket, put the pretty seasonal ephemera on display. Cut green florist's foam to fit inside clear vases, and tie a ribbon around the vase. Poke forks into the foam and secure cards between the tines.
Editor's Tip: You may have to bend the tines to accommodate the cards.
Make a statement with a simple arrangement partnering stately amaryllis with sparkly Christmas ornaments. Place wet florist's foam into a circular vase with straight sides. Wrap together three or more amaryllis stems with a ribbon. Insert the arrangement into the foam and surround the base with white carnations or baby roses. Thread string through ornament hangers and tie the lines of ornaments, layer by layer, around the vase, hot-gluing in place to secure.
Get a head start on St. Nick and put out a cache of presents before Christmas Eve -- even if it is only for display. Wrap various shaped boxes in coordinating papers, ribbons, and trims, and arrange on a bench or side table. A handful of large branches, spray-painted white and tied with a ribbon, stands in for a tree.
Wall pockets make versatile containers for branches in any season. Create a natural arrangement of red berries like these, or fill it with a handful of evergreens decorated with holly, candy canes, or a velvet bow.