Holiday Decorating Made Easy

By Nancy Moffett

Another holiday season is upon us. I don’t know about you, but I’m really tired of decorating the banister with the same old lighted garland and hanging the same old tired wreath on the front door. So I asked the creative folks at area businesses for fresh holiday decorating ideas…ideas that don’t involve a lot of time or money.

Victoria Leister, owner of Pharo Garden Center in Bethlehem, has some great suggestions:

• If space for a tree is limited, use garlands over window areas. Hanging them from curtain bars is pretty easy. Add lights, strings of shiny beads or glass garlands.

• On chandeliers, hang ornaments – dangling in various lengths – with or without evergreens. The effect can look colorful and exciting. Do the same on stairway banisters. Add lights and birds and maybe a few hanging things. String ribbon through it all for more color.

• On a mantel, hang lights or glass garlands and clip on ornaments, especially birds, and give the birds some berries. Add translucent ornaments like fruit in front of the lights for a nice glow.

• Make a tree out of an upside-down tomato cage-the kind that gets wide at the top and has “legs” on the bottom to push into the ground. Tie the legs together and “garland” it with lights, garland or both. Then decorate it with whatever else appeals to you and use it inside or out.

• Think about combining natural and artificial things together, such as adding pine cones to an artificial garland. Glue guns are fast, but wiring still gives you the sturdiest, longest-lasting results.

The staff at Ethan Allen Design Center in Allentown (designers Ardith Huesz and Anna Mura, soft goods specialist Diane Peters and store manager Diane Bieri) gave us these fun ideas:

• Take pumpkins of different sizes and spray paint them gold, bronze, silver or any other color that goes with your scheme and decorate the mantle and foyer or dining tables with them.

• Hang your wreath on the front door from a wool plaid scarf.

• Use any container such as glass bowls, ceramic bowls, tall glass hurricanes, low, wide bowls of any material, even baskets and put your extra decorative balls in them. Then throw in some of those battery powered candle lights for pumpkins to light up the sparkly balls. Or, use them to hold pine cones or fruit of the season. Turn them over to hold your snow babies or other porcelain figurines. Be sure to add a garnish like a bow or a bauble.

• String white lights everywhere you can think of – one of the most cost-effective ways to add sparkle to any holiday. Put them above the kitchen soffit, on the mantle, across a buffet, in a china cabinet, etc. Intertwine them with greens, wide ribbons or tinsel garland in your favorite color.

• Throughout the year, check out the bargains at craft stores. You’ll find birds, roses, baby’s breath, etc. to use in arrangements or on your holiday tree.

• String cranberries on wooly yarn. Decorate your mantle, tree or stairway with them. Drape them over pictures. Let them completely dry out. Next year they will be lightweight, dried berries on the yarn and they’ll still look great.

• Fill vases with fresh-cut greens from your property…pine, spruce, ilex, holly or boxwood. Be sure to keep the water fresh, and when the holiday comes, add fresh-cut flowers for extra effect.

• Make braids from colorful yarns and string anything on them like pine cones or holiday treats. Use them like garlands to decorate smaller items.

• Wrap boxes with shiny paper in an assortment of shapes and sizes and place them on any surface like a mantle, piano or buffet.

• Put a little hat on your cat or give your pet a special collar.

Krista Achey, design intern at Phoebe Floral Shop in Allentown, shared these ideas:

• Hang a large outdoor ornament from your mailbox.

• Scatter scented cinnamon pine cones for aroma.

• Fill an urn or window box with pine boughs, a bow and glittery sticks or inexpensive silks to make an impression from the street. This will give a sparkly feel resembling snow.

• Prop a sled by your front door. Decorate it with a bow and some pine boughs.

• For those who don’t want a large Christmas tree, decorated boxwood trees can grace a small table. Decorated Norfolk pines, amaryllis or narcissus plants are nice alternatives.

• To spruce up your holiday feast, dot your table with pine cones, cinnamon sticks, nuts, apples and lady apples down the table runner for an instant DIY tablescape. Use gilded pears as place settings with name cards.

And, Ethan Allen store manager Diane Bieri says, “To make a big splash, use any of these ideas and do it BIG! Double or triple the size, and the impact is that much bigger.”

Now I’m inspired to do a bit of shopping, maybe some spray painting and shake my holiday decorating out of that “same old” rut.

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