Simple Ways to Decorate for Christmas

Christmas Past
Try these quick and easy ideas to make your home sparkle for the holiday season.

Old Is New

These worn skates have been given a new purpose as a Christmas decoration. Knot the laces of the pair together and fill the skates with miniature wrapped presents. Embellish with an ornament or two and hang from a hook.

Editor's Tip: Make sure the skate blades are dull to prevent damage to woodwork or scraped fingers.

Tradition Update

Expand your holiday style this year with a fresh combination of accessories. Small white feather trees contrast beautifully with sleek glass vessels, while vibrant green blossoms and ribbon add a splash of color.

December Sunshine

Warm up holiday decor with a touch of citrus. Arrange bright lemons, limes, oranges, and kumquats in a shallow dish. Fill empty spaces between the fruit with miniature ornaments and pine boughs.

Holiday in the Hills

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

Easy Ornament Flowerpot

Here's a fresh use for large tree ornaments: Turn them into delightful mini vases.

Bowlful of Bulbs

Tuck a candle into a bowl of Christmas lights for an easy, festive look. Mix and match candle and bulb colors to work with your holiday decor.

Picture Perfect

Layer pieces to create a seasonal display. Hang a large empty frame on the wall, then use a wide ribbon to suspend a smaller one in the center. Tuck a swag of greenery under the ribbon along the edge of the top frame, and tie an ornament to the bow that holds the small frame.

Simply Christmas

Bare branches are ideal for showcasing a collection of intricate, detailed ornaments. Stick branches in a pitcher filled with small rocks or marbles and add moss to the top. Hang ornaments from the branches and surround the arrangement with jars filled with colorful Christmas candy.

Decorating Fusion

Meld two Christmas classics -- trees and wreaths -- into one decoration. This pine bough hangs on the wall like a wreath, but its noncircular shape and ornamentation give it a treelike appearance.

Winter Wonderland

Set a snowy tablescape with a montage of vintage white planters. Instead of plants, fill the planters with red, green, and white ornaments. Additional accents, such as Santa and white Christmas trees (shown here), look best if they're sized appropriately for the ceramics.

Starry, Starry Sight

For maximum star power, fill a decorative sleigh, bowl, or other holiday container with ornaments of a similar color and shape. Here, crystal, gold, and silver stars sparkle in a little sleigh -- more than they would if spread out over the tree branches.

Score with Scrabble

Welcome your guests with artfully arranged Scrabble game tiles. A pretty silver tray accented with matching ornaments and a bit of greenery completes the composition.

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 mitten bags. Grouped in a container, these also make a nice table display for your party.

Throughout the House

Decorate a bedside table for Christmas with a simple arrangement. Fill a tall glass hurricane with colorful ornaments and bare branches. Coordinate the ornament colors with the room's palette or stick with classic red and green.

Light, Dressed Up

For instant ambience, nestle some soft-color candles in a bed of mixed nuts and tiny red ornaments on a tray.

Christmas Reflections

Versatile ornaments can be hung just about anywhere to add holiday spirit in unexpected places. Drape a garland of fresh greenery around a mirror and hang ornaments from it, bending the hooks around the vine to secure.

Ornament Mobile

For the holidays, replace your everyday lampshade with this festive version. Purchase an inexpensive drum shade and punch small holes around the bottom edge. Tie lengths of thin twine to ornament hooks and thread the other end through the holes on the shade; secure with knots. On this shade, graduated lengths of string were used to produce a stair-step look.

Editor's Tip: To avoid another purchase during the holidays, use a shade you already have and attach the ends of the twine to the inside of the shade using tape.

Tag, You're It

Turn simple Christmas tags into a decorative garland. Knot the tags onto a length of ribbon and tack to the wall above a doorway or window.

Holiday Glow

Use flea market costume jewelry to dress up plain votive cups. Coat juice glasses with clear crafts glue, then roll the glasses in clear glitter. Attach silver trim around the rims and finish with faux jewels. Light the candles and watch the ensembles sparkle.

Take It Outside

Instead of storing your planters for the winter months, use them to create a Christmas landscape. These winter-worthy composite planters serve as a base for an ensemble of small cypress plantings in birch-bark tubes. Fill in your display with moss, grapevine spheres, and oversize glass ornaments.

Dressed in White

Add a holiday touch to an everyday display of china in a kitchen or dining room by spelling out a seasonal greeting with cookie cutters or wooden letters. Then fill some of the dishes with Christmas ornaments.

Ornamental Dining

Glam up a chandelier by hanging pretty ornaments from the arms. Red-satin ribbons and clear decorations have a rich, traditional feel. Try raffia and country ornaments for a casual setting. Or for a contemporary look, go for metallic cording with silver or gold stars.

Stocking Options

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

Unbreakably Vintage

Vintage-ornament reproductions are usually brighter and bigger than their originals. Plus, there's no fear of losing an heirloom to mischievous little hands. So group a festive vase or pillar candle, some greenery, and a vintage-look ornament or two for an eye-catching display.

Candy in Silver

What could be easier than setting colorful candy canes in one of your elegant silver containers? Use traditional red-and-white candy canes, or try any of the brightly colored varieties available at Christmastime.

Pour Yourself an Ornament

Show off your special glassware or highlight your holiday color scheme by putting individual ornaments in glass containers. Crystal glassware, bowls, creamers, or candlesticks make perfect holders.

Silver Beads Sparkle in Candlelight

Glistening silver balls and beads reflect the golden glow of candlelight in this sophisticated centerpiece. Place white and ivory candles in various sizes in a large bowl. Fill in with shiny ornaments and beads, allowing them to spill over the edges.

Easy Candle Display

Pressed for time? This arrangement takes just a few minutes to assemble. Insert taper candles in crystal candlesticks, arrange them on a platter, and add a few ornaments around the bases.

Simplicity from Your Kitchen

For a simple holiday accent, put white candles into clear-glass containers, such as pitchers and mugs, pulled from your kitchen cabinets. Then surround them with greenery, preserved leaves, and nuts.

Gathering Moss

To make this moss ball, wrap a small plastic-foam ball with lights, using tape to hold them in place. Cover the ball with moss (available at crafts stores), but leave the lights exposed. Get extra sparkle by putting the moss-covered ball near reflective pieces, such as a mirror or glass garden globe.

Christmas Past

Get a little nostalgic and display favorite holiday photos from years gone by inside simple frames. Adhere pictures to Christmas-theme scrapbook papers and insert into frames, trimming the paper to fit.

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