Holiday Projects for Instant Cheer

Natural holiday basket
Turn your house from ho-hum to holiday-ready with these easy Christmas decorating ideas. From garlands and centerpieces to place settings and pretty displays, we give you fun and easy ways to refresh your home for the holidays.

Easy Cranberry Candle

Got a canning jar leftover from summer? Stuff it with greens snipped from your yard, a handful of cranberries, and a floating votive. The result is a Christmasworthy flicker in seconds.

Ribbon-and-Ornament Chair Decoration

Add some cheer to the back of a chair with a simple swag. Tie a wide ribbon around the chair and add sprigs of greenery and a hanging ornament as a colorful bauble.

Doll Up a Door

No wreath? No problem! A pretty purse with some greenery, a ribbon bow, and two ornaments adds charm to a door in seconds. If you're worried about weather, hang it from the inside of a clear glass front door or another protected door, or choose an entryway wall spot.

Christmas Mirror Makeover

Instantly add Christmas cheer to your bathroom mirror with this simple decoration. Measure across your mirror, and cut a length of ribbon double that measurement; tie the two ends together. Hot-glue painted wooden letters and center them on the ribbon; slip the decoration over your mirror. Use small pieces of double-stick tape to hold the ribbon in place.

Pinecones-and-Ribbon Decoration

Add wintry flair to any room with these pinecone-and-ribbon hanging decorations. Hot-glue blue velvet ribbon to frosted pinecones, gather a bunch and tie together, then hang from doors, chairs, or mantels.

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 the cards with double-stick tape.

Make Votives Christmas-Ready

A dab of hot glue and some costume jewelry offers a quick fix for plain votives. Bracelets and pins (with their backs removed) add sparkle and sophistication the cheap supplies.

Holiday Dining Table with Lanterns and Greenery

Make your holiday table cheery in a pinch with this easy decoration. Place white pillar candles in clear glass lanterns with metal frames. Place them on the table amidst a fresh evergreen garland and pinecones.

Christmas Present Ornament Display

Perfect for a dining table centerpiece or side table decoration, this ornament-filled vase mimics a wrapped present. Fill a clear square container with blue, silver, and green ornaments in various sizes, and then tie the decoration together with a light blue bow. Place the container on a silver tray topped with faux snow, and arrange other ornaments around it for a pretty decoration.

Mini Potted Holiday Decorations

Spell a cheery holiday greeting with mini trees potted in mismatched containers. Here, lacy Goldcrest cypress trees are planted in white ironstone pitchers and pots. Cut scalloped circles from colored cardstock and adhere smaller circles cut from white cardstock. Add colored scrapbook letters to the layered circles. Punch two holes through the top of each circle, thread ribbon through, and tie around each pot.

Hang Some Skates

Winter ice skates can serve a decorating purpose, too! Stuff them with little wrapped gifts or candies, then string them up high and away from any curious little hands.

Sparkling Ornament Display

Create a simple Christmas decoration from leftover ornaments by displaying them in a footed bowl or pedestal. Add larger ornaments first, then tuck in smaller ornaments and sprigs of greenery for a fresh look.

Christmas Tree Door Accent

A tiny tree wrapped in a towel is a great door decoration you can easily make in multiples. Fold a dish towel in half and sew the sides to make a pouch, then add a pine sapling in a plastic bag (with damp cheesecloth wrapped around the roots). Tie holiday-color ribbon around the decoration and add a few jingle bells to make it merry.

Fun and Simple Holiday Place Setting

Dress up your holiday table with fun and colorful place settings. Fill a glass champagne flute with an evergreen sprig and top with a felted ornament. Attach a handwritten place card to the ornament with a loose twine bow.

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.

Ornaments-and-Ribbon Headboard Accent

A wall, a headboard, and a door are all great spots for this simple-as-can-be idea. Hang a single ornament to a length of ribbon, then loop around a hook or headboard and hold in place with strong tape. Hange multiples for a colorful decoration. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, change the color of the hanging ribbon or use more than one color to add more festive cheer.

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.

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