Let color be your guide. Easily go from harvest to holiday with an eye-popping color combination. Cragg recommends burnt orange and deep green (think cloved oranges and magnolia) or a mellow yellow and rich brown (think yarrow and pinecones).
Make it pop! "Thanksgiving decorations should feel earthy and organic," Cragg says. "Add the Christmas 'wow' with a third punch of color." Metallic gold adds elegance and sparkle to an orange and green theme. Insert burgundy touches to a yellow and brown palette for instant holiday drama.
Roll out the grapevine. Inexpensive and easy to use, grapevine offers a great texture and wonderful base for Thanksgiving and Christmas decor. Create garlands, wreaths, and topiaries using your favorite seasonal items to design a unique look in your own style. "Be sure to wire your accents in clusters so that you can easily swap them out," Cragg says.
Let it evolve. Start with a Thanksgiving grapevine wreath decorated with bittersweet, rosemary, and yarrow. For Christmas, wire that wreath on top of an evergreen wreath and add oranges and a gold ribbon. The same idea works well on a mantel or sideboard or in the foyer. "Think of your Thanksgiving decorations as the foundation for the fabulous holiday decorations to come," Cragg says.
Mix fresh with faux. Save time by intertwining fresh with faux in your holiday displays. "I use a background of artificial and then embellish with fresh," Cragg says. "The artificial cuts down on maintenance. The fresh items add a crisp, clean, natural look."
Be selective. Instead of using all the ornaments on the tree, pull out just a selection that works with your theme. Garlands or sprays are great for filling out the tree if your theme-related ornaments aren't enough. "Use leftover ornaments to fill a bowl or a hurricane globe," Cragg says.
Decorating is more than meets the eye. Scents are a big part of the holidays. Cragg recommends incorporating herbs like fresh rosemary into Thanksgiving decorations and cloves or cinnamon for Christmas. "Just be careful not to use strong scents that compete with the food or dominate the aroma on the table," Cragg says.
Cindy Cragg is a home stylist and holiday decorator inspired by the truly timeless traditions of colonial Williamsburg. To find more of Cragg's tips, check out www.williamsburgmarketplace.com.