Christ­mas Count­down to

Country Sampler - - Thrifty Thinking -

Nancy Aber­crom­bie en­joys shop­ping and plan­ning for Christ­mas year-round, but the phys­i­cal process of ready­ing her At­lanta-area home ac­tu­ally starts af­ter Hal­loween. “I try to be com­pletely fin­ished the week be­fore Thanks­giv­ing; that way, I have quite a few weeks to en­joy the dec­o­ra­tions be­fore they all come down,” she ex­plains. This vet­eran dec­o­ra­tor of­fers sev­eral tried-and-true ideas to help you cre­ate your own hol­i­day magic.

1

Shop till you drop. Through­out the year, keep your eye out for items that might fit a cer­tain theme or that spark your imag­i­na­tion. “No mat­ter what the time of year or wher­ever we go, I am al­ways think­ing about dec­o­rat­ing ideas and look­ing for things I can use,” Nancy says.

2

Start early. Nancy be­gins plan­ning in the sum­mer and starts mak­ing some of her cen­ter­pieces, wreaths and gar­lands while oth­ers are still loung­ing pool­side. She stores her more than 300 boxes of dec­o­ra­tions in a Wil­liams­burg-style struc­ture Dan built next to their home.

3

Find mean­ing. Choose items that have some mean­ing to you. “In one of my kitchen vi­gnettes, you will see a plaid metal lunch box like the one I al­ways car­ried to school. In it are a vin­tage Santa and Mrs. Claus that be­longed to a fam­ily mem­ber,” Nancy notes.

4

Stick to a theme. Nancy puts up a to­tal of 29 trees in­side and out­side the house. Most of the trees fea­ture a theme, which al­lows her to seek out spe­cific or­na­ments and trims and ex­per­i­ment with a va­ri­ety of styles. For ex­am­ple, a din­ing room tree sparkles with child­hood or­na­ments, and the mas­ter bed­room tree is span­gled with coun­try baskets.

5

Work the room. Cre­ate vi­gnettes that re­flect a room’s pur­pose or the style of the ev­ery­day decor. For her kitchen, Nancy made a hol­i­day vi­gnette out of a rolling pin and two old cake pans filled with some cookie cut­ters and small hol­i­day and bak­ing-themed items.

6

Get lit. Add can­dles in the win­dows and strings of fairy lights to ev­ery tree and gar­land you can. “Light­ing has al­ways been a huge fac­tor for me,” Nancy en­thuses. “The am­bi­ence adds so much to any room.”

Far left: Bot­tle-brush trees and a vin­tage Mr. and Mrs. Claus are tucked into a tar­tan lunch tote that re­calls past school days. Left: A tiered stand made from cake pans and a rolling pin is the per­fect con­tainer for wee ginger­bread fel­lows, cookie cut­ters and other bak­ing-re­lated fare. Above: Rus­tic or­na­ments com­bine with stars and tiny houses on one of the five trees found through­out the kitchen.

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