WORDS BY BRIE HAYES
For the past few years I have really embraced the “less is more” mantra for holiday decorating. Keeping everything natural can be quite elegant and because almost everything can be found in your own yard, it’s also cost effective! Bring the rich, dark green hues from outside in with swags of evergreens and holly. Evergreens like fir, spruce and cypress keep their needles longer than pine, but really, all of these should last at least two weeks and can easily be replaced if you have obliging trees in your yard. Cleaning up a few dropped needles every couple of days is worth it to me to have the real deal, but if you have allergies or the thought of all those pine needles makes you stress, there are gorgeous faux garlands that will last for years and require virtually no clean up. It doesn’t take much work to thread greenery throughout a chandelier — just be sure to keep all branches away from the light bulbs so you aren’t creating a fire hazard! Find some pretty ribbon in a color that already exists in your room’s palette and weave it through the garland to create a true “designer touch”. Just add a strand of battery powered LED lights and you have instant ambience perfect for any holiday gathering. Weave the same ribbon through your Christmas tree to coordinate the look across different rooms. You can also try some fresh cut boughs in a festive container or vase to achieve the same feel. If you have a staff of eager “little helpers” available, have them cut out paper snowflakes to thread through a matching ribbon to hang across a window, mirror or doorway. Another fun activity for the “elves” is to create pomander balls by pushing cloves into oranges in fun creative patterns. They’ll smell amazing long after the holidays have passed! With this look, simplicity is key!
PICK AN UNEXPECTED COLOR THEME
Red and green might be the traditional colors of Christmas, but if they fight with your home’s color palette or you just feel like mixing it up, pick something unexpected. Blues, especially rich ones like navy, are hot right now; expect to see them in a lot in retail holiday décor. Silver and gold can work with almost any color scheme and a tree decked out in metallics can be stunning, or if you are in love with blue and white, make those the dominant colors in your decor. When you narrow down your theme, it simplifies the decision making and the result is more curated. Coordinate your ornaments, garland ribbon, table linens, and even your wrapping paper to match your scheme. If you want to incorporate fun patterns, herringbone and polka dots are very popular and will be big in holiday décor. Don’t be afraid to try something a bit outside of the traditional holiday palette this year, just remember you can never go wrong by picking a color scheme that appeals to you or works with what is already in your home!
NEW (OLD) TRADITIONS
Somewhere along the way I inherited a lot my family’s old holidays decorations, and every couple of years I feel nostalgic and decide to pull those boxes out of the attic. Retro is always in and what’s best about these old heirlooms is the people and memories they evoke. It might be the collection of nutcrackers from a great aunt that’s been packed away for a decade or the antique glass ornaments from your grandmother’s tree. Anything displayed in multiples can make a big impact. Take a chance and display those older decorations in a new way. Antique ornaments could be tucked into a centerpiece or used to hold place cards. If you have saved Christmas cards from years past, put them in a bowl or tray and you might find yourself flipping through them and smiling while watching Christmas Hallmark movies.
No matter how you decide to decorate this holiday season, don’t let the temptation to make everything look and feel picture perfect add any more stress. In the end, what might work for you could be a mixture of all three of these design ideas. It is, after all, your holiday, so make sure it works for you and your family. Keep those family traditions going and create some new ones!
Brie Hays is a certified Interior Designer and True Color Expert. She is available for design work and paint consultations through Harlow Hays Design Co. Follow her on Facebook or Instagram for decorating tips, or check out www.harlowhaysdesign.com