- view all thumbnails
Thanksgiving marks the start of what is traditionally a time of gathering for family and friends, so when better to display a collection of photographs that's often hiding in an album or on the computer hard drive? Label the ever-changing groupings in this low-cost display -- made with clothespins and twine -- with metal scrapbooking label corners, and mount the photos onto pieces of cardstock using photo corners.
Paint and glitter can be fantastic helpers to create miniature focal points around your house. For example, classic gray paint and a dusting of glitter add contrast and sparkle to ordinary decorations. Wrap a tiny box in neutral paper and add pinecones and greenery for color.
It's easier to ensure your decorating feels at home from holiday to holiday if you enhance rather than change what's around the rest of the year. For example, here a bit of greenery on the table and hung as a wreath offer a subtle nod to the time of year. A chain of jingle bells adds a sound effect to the decor.
If you want to start your display of holiday-theme trees a little early this year, try this space-saving, sculptural idea. Cut a short branch with many off-shoots; secure inside a container filled with florist's foam and cover the top with moss. Spray-paint small pinecones in three complementary hues -- here we used blue, white, and silver -- and accent with small items such as stars and a length of chiffon ribbon.
It's never too early to take out a pretty collection of ornaments, especially when you have a handsome way of displaying them. Take this silver bowl: It's a lovely receptacle for ornaments. A few striped balls add just a pop of color.
Editor's Tip: Try changing the color, finish, or shape for visual variety that blends seamlessly with your nonholiday decor.
Colors that are festive without being exclusive to one season are a great way to ensure your decorating accents remain transitional from month to month. For example, cheery silver and gold orbs add welcome textural contrast to end-of-season landscape items, such as pinecones, displayed under glass cloches.
Simple, handmade wreaths make charming, understated touches on doors and windows. Peppermint candies supply both color and shape in this piece; simply hot-glue flat candies (about 250 for a 10-inch wreath) in close, neat rows. Fill in any gaps with small cinnamon candies, then hang from a wide ribbon.
Transitional pieces that work year-round take center stage at holiday time when paired with in-season items. Evergreens offer a rich counterpoint to these glossy white containers, one accented with chalkboard paint. Berry picks covering the soil lend a welcome pop of color. When the holidays are over and the weather warms, plant the evergreens in your yard or in a larger container outside.
Tuck a small vase inside a larger glass urn and fill the space between the two with mixed nuts. Fill the small vase with water and add fresh flowers or greenery.
One of the easiest -- and cheapest -- ways to add timeless cheer at Thanksgiving and Christmas is to take what you already have, but draw attention to it in new and unusual ways. For example, group a few of your favorite holiday figures and ornaments under a glass garden cloche, for an instant, no-cost tabletop focal point. The best part? You can change the still life from year to year (or day to day).
Strategically placed greenery adds warmth and welcome texture to nearly any spot in the home from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Draw the eye up by draping greenery over a cabinet, or keep the focus on a tablescape or sideboard with a similar garland.
To make your mantel holiday-ready in minutes, pair a few red-hue glasses, votives, vases, and champagne flutes together and fill with mini white candles. Tuck a few real or faux berries around the containers for a lovely interior accent that will please no matter the season.
Candles and fruit are complementary materials that allow you to easily create artful decorating accents that last from autumn through year's end. Try miniature fruits -- kumquats, clementines -- tucked in a patterned glass bowl; tuck a large pillar candle at the center. Dot shimmery votives of varying heights and widths for pretty mantelpiece glow.
Picking up natural symbols -- leaves are a sure sign of autumn -- from one season and displaying them into the next also helps your decorating bridge the gap from holiday to holiday. Glued to a velvet ribbon, these pretty fabric leaves in unexpected (and mainly neutral) tones of white, silver, and icy blue make a lovely, draping accent on a tabletop, buffet, or mantel.
Displaying holiday cards is a beloved tradition. Here, a collection is paired with an evergreen garland to decorate an inside doorway that leads from the living room to the kitchen. Add a few small holiday balls or ribbon for additional color.
Paint presents transformative power, especially when it transforms castoffs, such as old frames, into seasonal display centerpieces. Choose a cheery color -- red, or even blue, orange, or green -- and a gloss finish. Use the same hue to redo inexpensive candle holders. Hang a distinctive wreath in as counterpoint to the bright color.
Pinecones evoke autumn, while silver and blue often call to mind winter. A deft combination of the two provides a dramatic yet easy decorating accent. Here, various shades of spray paint transform the textural beauty of pinecones.
Some decorations excel at evoking the festive nature of the season, making them perfect accents for entryways, countertops, and side tables. Here, several colorful pieces hang from a branch (still clinging to a few of its autumn leaves). Secure the branch in a pitcher filled with small rocks or marbles; cover the top with moss. The piece works well on its own, or surrounded with other jars filled with colorful candy. Tip: If desired, it's simple to swap the ornaments—Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas—and candy.
To get the most use from your indoor holiday decorating accents, choose materials and ideas that can transition from day to night or from quiet family evenings to larger festive gatherings. These mini trees, wrapped in plain kraft paper and adorned with a single felt star, work just as well on their own as they do when adding holiday cheer to a nighttime dessert party. Footed ceramic platters hold bite-size appetizers and sweets that can change with the occasion.
Tie bundles of bare tree and winterberry branches to the spindles on your staircase for an autumnal look. After Thanksgiving, tie pine boughs to the branches with pretty velvet ribbon, and wire Christmas ornaments around the velvet ribbon for extra color.
Planted inside transferware bowls, a series of baby Norfolk Island pines brighten up a mantel. The idea also works for shelves, bookcases, or tabletops. Choose bowls in complementary colors or plain white, whichever best suits your existing holiday decor color scheme. Cover the dirt with nuts and acorns or with a collection of mini ornaments.
Tiered compotes are easy to dress up for any holiday. Simply arrange an assortment of seasonal elements on the trays for an instant centerpiece. Here, evergreen sprigs, pinecones, winterberries, and miniature ornaments spread Christmas cheer. For Thanksgiving, use apples, nuts, small ears of Indian corn, and other harvest essentials.
Hung from a chandelier or the ceiling, a petite juniper appears to float in midair. Use a vintage birdcage or wire basket to hang the tree in a small container. Cover the bottom with small pinecones or nuts, glue a faux bird to the top, and use a wide ribbon to hang the tree decoration at an appropriate height.
For decorations that smoothly transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas, start with neutral basics. A beveled-edge mirror topped with simple white candles creates a classic foundation. For Thanksgiving add a simple fall garland and mini pumpkins. When Christmas draws near, replace the harvest elements with pine boughs, clementines, and pinecones (as shown).
Oversize ironstone containers are perfect for this clever stair-step arrangement, which can sit either inside your home or on your front porch. Plant any dwarf or sapling evergreen in the containers (we used a trio of lacy 'Goldcrest' cypress trees). Print your message on white scrapbook paper, then cut out circles and glue the letters to a color-paper backing. Tie the letters to the containers with a thin piece of contrasting ribbon and add lengths of wider satin ribbon for accents.
Take a second look at how you display houseplants, foliage, and flowers to create breathtaking indoor holiday focal points. Here, a spray of green cymbidium orchids fills an urn, while the single blooms from another spray float in glass teardrops (available at online home decor retailers or florist’s shops) that hang from sculptural branches. Smaller vases hold blooms that complement the orchid’s color scheme.
This fun holiday door decoration will welcome guests with the festive scent of evergreen and a friendly message. Fold over the top of a wide burlap ribbon and cut a slit through both layers to slide over a doorknob. Use adhesive letters to spell a message, and use wire to attach bits of evergreen and pinecones.
Editor's Tip: Create a handful of these door accents in just an hour or two -- just change the message on each one and use them on guest bedroom doors or the front door.
For a cheery holiday decoration, embellish a set of plain plates with a fun message. Adhere vinyl or paper letters to inexpensive white plates and mount with plate hangers or removable mounting strips. Add to the display with patterned plates of different sizes, play with horizontal and vertical arrangements, or keep it simple with just the lettered plates.
Oversize glass containers and vases offer a great see-through way to display holiday colors. Start with a large tray and a few jars and containers in various sizes. Plant evergreen saplings (we used Golden cypress) in several of the containers, and cover the soil with faux snow. For contrast, fill another jar or two with red fruits -- apples, pomegranates, or cherries -- or red ornaments. Place the collection in front of a window, at an entry, or as a centerpiece for your holiday table.
Trays filled with ornaments make a great holiday centerpiece. For warmth, temper the shine with small sprigs of greenery and miniature pinecones tucked between the ornaments or even inside small vases. Keep the vibe casual with a smattering of larger pinecones placed around or underneath the container.