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Some people take great satisfaction and comfort in deliberate attention to the sameness of their holiday decor year after year, others find it gratifying to introduce new decor each year, while many like to mix the old with the new.
Either way, few things bring more fond memories of “home” than of celebrating the holiday season with family and friends. It’s not about things looking and being perfect, but more about sharing the warmth and significance of the season. What a wonderful opportunity, through home decor and design, to express the uniqueness of your particular style and tradition, than at this memorable time of year. Case in point, I recently saw a CB2 catalog that showed a tall folding ladder being decorated with Christmas lights. (That would certainly make hanging the Christmas star much easier!)
Life can be such a blur of calendar pages, so why not take a little time to reflect upon your particular style, and think of ways to make your place a festive touchstone for experiences and memories? A good place to start is with a theme, which will assist in decorating without getting bogged-down by so many choices. Think of what generally appeals to you, whether it be sea-scapes, western motifs, urban metallics, shabby chic, organics, vintage or more traditionally influenced holiday style as a template for decor. Including loved ones in the decorating process can only enhance this holiday experience.
Still stumped by the dilemma of how to choose a theme? Inspiration can be gleaned from one item, whether it be a favorite old Christmas ornament, a walk in nature or the city, an antique store, or the vibrant colors, shapes and textures found in a produce aisle.
Containers help make holiday decorating easy. For example, clear vases are a beautiful way to display lights intertwined with pine cones and/or glass balls, which, by the way, is an excellent way of utilizing those wayward glass balls that are missing their hangers. Another use for large vases or urns is to feature large natural (or spray-painted) bare branches as a place to display Christmas cards held by wooden clothespins (left natural or spray-painted), or tied with ribbon, wire or string. An old trunk, box or basket brimming with wrapped gifts (real, or props) is a festive way to display the holiday. Add a box or basket filled with cinnamon-scented pinecones and you’ve paired your holiday look with a pleasant sensory holiday scene.
The scale of your decorating can be done simply, with little time, effort or expense, or undertaken as an elaborate grand event. When simple or fancy, a natural place to begin with holiday decor is at the beginning is your home’s entrance. The front door is the ideal place to introduce and establish the theme that will carry through the rest of your home. Doors of Shively Christmases past have included long evergreen boughs with antique ice skates, burlap ties and rusty bells, or driftwood and netting holding seashells and starfish. Wreaths made of old sheet music, lights and glass balls, or bundled sticks with realistic birds and nests are all fun and interesting ways of welcoming to your home and giving anticipation for what lies behind that door.
The area near your door, whether a front porch or foyer, can be an excellent backdrop to further embellish and expound upon your theme. For instance, the antique ice-skate theme was supported by an old radio-flyer sled wrapped in tiny white lights, propped by the door, with wide burlap ribbon and more rusty bells. Our fireplace mantle and staircase also held generous boughs with ice skates, burlap ribbon, bells and white lights. The Christmas tree that year had similar elements carrying the same theme, with wide burlap ribbon curling through the tree, and homemade ornaments made of twigs, pine cones and large round jingle bells. And speaking of trees, I always choose a fresh-cut tree that is a few feet bigger than actually needed for the living room. This will give extra boughs (cut from the bottom) for door, mantle, staircases and tablescapes.
The interior entrance is another good place to feature more of your holiday decor. There could be a small tree on a little table or buffet, or perhaps a nativity setting, Menorah or village scene of homemade gingerbread houses with cotton fluff and white lights. The entryway is a place where those large, clear vases can display large boughs, or groups of sticks wrapped with lights.
Whatever you chose to do with your home, I hope that the process is nearly as enjoyable as the result you create. Deck those halls, light those candles, and bask in the thankfulness of what is important in life.
(Editor’s note: This is a best-of column that appeared last year on anewscafe.com.)
Shelly Shively grew up in Redding and attended its public schools, from Pine Street School to Shasta College. She is formally trained in the art of Re-design, and is IRDN (Interior Re-design Network). Shelly is an artist, illustrator and muralist. She can be reached at P.O Box 991568, Redding, CA, 96099 or email@example.com
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