Speedy Christmas Decorating

No time for Christmas decorating? Last-minute party prep? Check out these speedy ideas for decking your halls in style.


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Ornaments on candlesticks
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Double Duty

    Create a splashy showcase for your favorite Christmas ornaments by perching them atop assorted candlesticks. Unify the display by using ornaments with a similar color palette and candlesticks that are similar in color or shape.

    Editor's Tip: Keep fragile ornaments stable by using museum wax or Tacky Wax (check crafts stores or online) to anchor them to the candlesticks.

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Seasonal Fashion

    Give an ordinary pillow a touch of Christmas style with holiday-theme silk scarves. Wrap scarves around a pillow to resemble a package, and tie the ends together in a pretty bow. Hand-stitch the bow to the pillow to secure if desired. Use red satin ribbon to tie large red jingle bells to the center of the bow. Knot the ribbon ends and trim with scissors.

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Christmas Ephemera

    Dress up a tabletop in a snap by arranging vintage Christmas ephemera, such as cards and gift tags, in a tray along with a few Christmas accessories. Throughout the season, add this year's holiday greetings to the display as they arrive in the mail.

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Poinsettia Tree

    Transform bare branches into a cheery Christmas display. Arrange branches in a large urn or other container, anchoring them in a block of florist's foam or pebbles. Hot-glue a silk poinsettia to the top of a glass ornament. Thread ribbon through the ornament hanger and hang from a branch. Make several poinsettia-adorned ornaments to add pops of color to the arrangement. Add icicle ornaments for extra sparkle.

    Editor's Tip: To use real poinsettias, remove the hanger top from the ornament. Set ornament atop a drinking glass to hold it steady. Cut a length of ribbon and glue the ends to each side on the opening (allowing an opening for water), using fast-drying waterproof adhesive. Fill the ornament with a little bit of water, insert poinsettia branch, and use the ribbon to hang from a branch.

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Dressed for the Holidays

    Add Christmas sparkle to a room by suspending glass or silver ornaments from a chandelier.

    Editor's Tip: We used a variety of pretty ribbon for this project, but a single type of ribbon to unify the display would work, too.

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Instant Glamour

    Add some bling to a plain Christmas stocking by pinning an antique brooch to the cuff.

    Editor's Tip: Create a similar look by adding a small ornament or jingle bell.

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Rung by Rung

    An old ladder mimics the function of a Christmas tree when festooned with ribbon, bows, and pretty ornaments. Decked out in blue and white, this display can last all winter. Simply remove the Christmas-theme ornaments and leave the snowflakes and crystal baubles in place.

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Curtain Call

    For a seasonal window treatment, drape strands of beaded garland over a curtain rod, securing them with tape on the back. Wire elegant glass ornaments to the garland, and hot-glue sprigs of greenery to the ornament tops.

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Take a Message

    Write a holiday greeting on a mirror with temporary window paint (available at crafts stores). Follow the manufacturer's instructions to ensure the paint can be removed after the season.

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Silver Beads Sparkling in Candlelight

    Glistening silver balls and beads reflect the golden glow of candlelight in this sophisticated centerpiece. Fill a bowl with shiny ornaments, then pack in white and ivory candles of various sizes. Drizzle the arrangement with silver beads, allowing some to flow over the edges of the bowl.

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Let Your Spirit Bloom

    This easy-to-make ornament uses a florist's foam ball and carnations to add a touch of elegance and fresh fragrance.

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Holiday in the Hills

    Skip the flammable cotton snow and use inverted bowls to lend a little alpine elevation to your Christmas village. A swag of greenery creates a perfect border to showcase the scene.

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Fresh Family Tree

    Show off your special family photos by entwining them between the branches and berries of some holiday sprigs and greenery.

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Dewy Decorations

    Tiny crystal prisms and balls look almost like morning dew on this blend of rustic pinecones and silver balls.

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Spiral Sparkles

    This mix of old and new chandelier crystals sparkle beautifully on a wire tree. Originally created to show off traditional ornaments, this free-flowing form lets the crystals catch and reflect the light. Add crystal garlands to fill in any empty spaces.

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Barrowed Space

    Fill a miniature wheelbarrow with ornaments to give a holiday touch to a sideboard or buffet table. Accent the display with some small candles and a fresh swag of greenery.

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Planting Some Holiday Spirit

    Houseplants look more festive with a layer of moss over the dirt and a sprinkling of holiday ornaments. Hot-glue the ornaments to the moss to ensure they don't roll away.

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Natural Light

    Nestle soft-color candles in a bed of mixed nuts and tiny red ornaments set on a tray for easy ambience.

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Simple Stripes

    Stuff iconic candy canes into a decorative bowl or flowerpot, and add red-and-white stripe ribbon for a coordinating touch.

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Dressed Up Doorknob

    Tie a bit of velvet and a sprig of holly onto a doorknob for a fun holiday touch. Satin ribbon streamers tipped with little sleigh bells from a crafts store would look great, too.

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Fast & Simple Centerpiece

    Tie a large festive ribbon around a punch bowl and surround it with a fresh pine wreath to create a quick, easy, and elegant centerpiece.

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Surprising Spaces

    Use ribbon to tie decorations in unexpected places, such as on the backs of chairs, on doorknobs, around vases, or on candlesticks.

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A Snowy Side Table

    This 36-inch white tree found at a crafts store is simply decorated with tiny red ornaments. The pot is wrapped with a folded dinner napkin secured with a belt of ribbon. A new dishtowel or wrapping paper would work just as well. Mini pearl-like baubles fill in around the base of the tree.

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Powder-Room Panache

    Don't neglect your bathroom when decorating for the holidays. Twin candles, vintage ornaments, and a beaded garland dress up a shelf and warmly welcome guests.

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Stocking Options

    No fireplace? Hang stockings from stair railings, doorknobs, bookshelves, or the backs of chairs. Until the big day arrives, stuff the bottom with a roll of tissue or bubble wrap, then nestle a tiny gift, candy cane, and greenery into the top.

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Tiny Trees

    Miniature trees -- vintage or new -- add magic to a room. Create arrangements around ordinary objects (like these books) on tables and bookshelves. Give the trees added interest by putting them in bowls or by gluing on small crafts-store ornaments.

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Pinecone Vase

    Pinecones have natural appeal, so show them off in clear vases or decorative bowls. We added a handful of ornaments for a bit of color, and tied a sheer ribbon around the center of the container.

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Holiday on Ice

    A gathering of friends is cause for celebration. Chill sparkling wine on a bed of frozen cranberries. Star-shape ice cubes add extra twinkle.

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Mitten Bags

    If you want to send party guests home with a few goodies, skip the conventional paper gift bag for something more creative, such as these fuzzy mittens, which also will make a nice table display for your party.

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Bright Blooms

    Spotlight snowy white flowers with tall tapers. A drop of wax at the bottom of a cylindrical vase secures the candle before adding water. For safety, cut flowers several inches taller than candles.

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Pretty Panes

    Swaddled in cheesecloth, white tree lights give off a diffused glow. Swag the cloth over a window frame, then festoon the corners with satin ribbon and silver foliage.

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