Dec­o­rat­ing Tips & Tricks

Anita, Kelly and Yvonne— the co-hosts of the Dec­o­rat­ing Tips and Tricks pod­cast—an­swer ques­tions from lis­ten­ers on how to cre­ate a daz­zling hol­i­day home.

Country Sampler - Christmas Decorating - - INSIDE -

Anita, Kelly and Yvonne—the co-hosts of the Dec­o­rat­ing Tips and Tricks pod­cast— an­swer ques­tions from lis­ten­ers on how to cre­ate a daz­zling hol­i­day home.

Q Each year, I or­der a flo­ral ar­range­ment for my Christ­mas Eve din­ner, and each year, I end up mov­ing it off the ta­ble at the very mo­ment ev­ery­one is seated for the meal. It is pretty, but just too big. I’d like to get ad­vice on cre­at­ing my own ar­range­ment that will look beau­ti­ful on the ta­ble when it is not meal­time but can also re­main on the ta­ble through­out the fes­tive din­ner.


—Marisa, Ore­gon

I have the an­swer for you! Cre­ate an ar­range­ment that is com­posed of three sep­a­rate con­tain­ers. Three con­tain­ers of vary­ing heights look fes­tive and fab­u­lous nes­tled to­gether on your ta­ble when not in use. When it is time to sit down for a meal, sim­ply sep­a­rate the con­tain­ers. Leave the smaller ar­range­ment on the ta­ble. Move the mid-size one to a cof­fee or side ta­ble, and set­tle the tallest one on a buf­fet or place it in the kitchen or en­try. Then, when the meal is over, bring all three to­gether again on your din­ing room ta­ble for max­i­mum im­pact. Once your ta­ble is set for din­ner, you can ex­tend the look of the smaller ar­range­ment by sprin­kling rose petals and lay­ing greens the length of the ta­ble. As for cre­at­ing the ar­range­ments, you can def­i­nitely do this your­self and save money on an ex­pen­sive flo­ral shop ar­range­ment. Start with a foun­da­tion of greens, add in your “wow” flow­ers, such as red roses, and then add in stems of ber­ries. Hope this helps!

QI love dec­o­rat­ing for Christ­mas. Ev­ery year, I start plan­ning my decor months in ad­vance. While I am al­ways happy with my man­tel and other touches, my tree al­ways dis­ap­points me. In my mind, it is full and sparkling. In re­al­ity, it looks sparse and kind of dull. We have a very nice ar­ti­fi­cial 9' tree. Can you give me some tips on how to dec­o­rate a tree like those I see in the mag­a­zines? I want to wow my fam­ily this year! —Bon­nie, Delaware


A beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated tree is of­ten the cen­ter­piece of Christ­mas dec­o­rat­ing. Just a few tips will make your tree mag­a­zine-wor­thy this year. First, make sure your tree is “fluffed” prop­erly! Ev­ery sin­gle ar­ti­fi­cial branch should be straight­ened and ar­ranged in a nat­u­ral po­si­tion on the tree. Fluff­ing cre­ates a tall, full, ma­jes­tic tree. Did you know most peo­ple don’t put enough lights on their tree? Even pre-lit trees could use a lit­tle bit more twin­kle. A good rule of thumb is that for ev­ery foot of tree, you should use 100 light bulbs. Also, the lights should be wo­ven from the in­side of the tree to the out­side as you string the lights from top to bot­tom. As for the or­na­ments, think about these three things: color, size and quan­tity. A Christ­mas tree’s color pal­ette should be lim­ited. Just like when dec­o­rat­ing a room, too many col­ors look con­fus­ing; I like a three-color tree. Also keep in mind that a va­ri­ety of or­na­ment sizes makes a tree more in­ter­est­ing. You can group small or­na­ments to­gether on one hook (be care­ful that it is sturdy), and they will have more vis­ual weight. One year, I used a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent-size white pa­per lanterns on my tree. They were a show­stop­per! When dec­o­rat­ing a tree, more is more. So use lots and lots of or­na­ments! Fin­ish your tree with a pretty gar­land, branches on long picks or even ex­tra real greens. Fi­nally, add a tree top­per and a swath of fab­ric for a tree skirt to fin­ish off your dis­play. Then, turn on those tree lights and en­joy a merry and beau­ti­ful Christ­mas!

QI am just re­mar­ried and we have com­bined house­holds. This leaves me eight din­ing chairs with only three match­ing. I am host­ing Christ­mas Eve din­ner for all our adult chil­dren. There will be nine of us. I can come up with an ex­tra seat but want a way to unify all the chairs so the din­ing room looks beau­ti­ful. Paint is not an op­tion, as I don’t want the cot­tage look. I want it to look el­e­gant un­til we can af­ford to get nice chairs that work to­gether. —Natalie, Ari­zona


I love the look of mis­matched chairs, so that is not a prob­lem to have chairs that are not all the same. We use mis­matched chairs in our break­fast room all year round, and I love the look! To give a fes­tive ap­pear­ance and a look of con­ti­nu­ity, I love to give my chairs a bit of hol­i­day cheer at Christ­mas­time. You can do that sev­eral ways. One idea is to find some small pil­lows that work with your din­ing room chairs and then wrap them with shim­mery hol­i­day rib­bon. I’ve used white furry pil­lows wrapped in beaded cop­per-col­ored rib­bon. You can use a safety pin (con­cealed be­hind the rib­bon) to keep the rib­bon in place. Use pil­lows and rib­bon that com­ple­ment your hol­i­day col­ors. The pil­lows and sparkly rib­bon draw your eye in, so the fo­cus is on the pil­lows and rib­bon rather than the dif­fer­ing chair styles.

An­other idea is to wrap rib­bon around the backs of the chairs. Some­times,

I use vin­tage rhine­stone brooches to keep the rib­bon in place. The other way I like to keep the rib­bon in place is to use rhine­stone buck­les. They have a de­light­ful sparkle and they shim­mer in can­dle­light. Be sure to match the size of your buck­les to the size of your rib­bon. I found my buck­les on Etsy. If I have any left­over rib­bon, it’s great to con­tinue the theme and use it other places in the din­ing room as well, such as bows for my an­tique bot­tles on the side­board.

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