Making our home merry and bright for Christmas

21 Dec 2023

Decorating our home for Christmas is an exciting and enjoyable activity, isn’t it? Of course, everyone has their own preferences in decoration, but we all want to create a festive mood for ourselves and our loved ones on this wonderful holiday.

Some of us want to move away from the traditional approach they have resorted to over the years and to add fresh notes into decorating. A wonderful wish!

Do you have a philosophy of what you would like to have as a result of these changes?

Elaine Griffin, a 20-year veteran in interior design and author of Design Rules: The Insider’s Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator, may give you good advice. She says “you get to make the rules” when it comes to making your home merry and bright for Christmas, Hanukkah and all your winter festivities.

But there are a few tried and true ways to create a look that feels pulled together and reflects your personal style.

You should begin your holiday decorating process with intention — and don’t be afraid to depart from tradition, says Griffin, who is based in Georgia and has an honorary PhD from the New York School of Interior Design.

Start with a feeling

Think about how you want to feel when you look around your decorated house. Cozy? Energized? Nostalgic?

Once you’ve settled on your mood, decorate for all five senses: sight, sound, scent, touch and taste, says Griffin. If your holidays are all about being cozy, you could have plates of sugar cookies on the kitchen table, vanilla-scented candles on the credenza and fuzzy blankets on the couch.

If you want a space that feels rich and opulent, Griffin suggests hanging white lights to create a soft golden glow and putting metallic-colored ornaments into a centerpiece to add a lavish flair. Play your favorite holiday music on a speaker to add to the grandeur.

Don’t forget to factor in your current emotional state, says Griffin. “That’s part of it. If you lost a family member this past year, you might decide, ‘I really don’t want to decorate.'”

In that case, you might cut back on the holiday cheer, she adds — and that’s OK. Set out a few poinsettias, put up a mini tree and call it a day.

Decide how big you wanna go

“Your holiday decorations are a continuation of the design statement that you are already making in your home,” says Griffin. “So you want to look at your decorating style in general. Are you a minimalist? Or are you a maximalist?”

Subtle and strategic

If you’re more of a minimalist and want to prioritize keeping your space functional, Griffin says that this one essential design rule will help you streamline your decor. In a room, the first area you see is the spot right across from the entrance. “Designers never leave that empty because the eye has to have somewhere to land,” says Griffin, “and it needs to land on something very pretty.”

So place a centerpiece in that spot, she says. It can create the same effect as filling a room up with holiday knickknacks. You can make one by thrifting a decorative glass vase and filling it with ornaments.

And don’t forget to consider color. If you’re going for minimal, you may want to choose decorations in soothing, neutral shades, like beige stockings and white garlands.

Big and bold

Griffin herself is a maximalist. “The bigger, the better, the bolder,” she says. If that sounds like you, then embrace the aesthetic of excess this holiday season. That might mean loading up a tree with ornaments, adding garlands and lights throughout your living space and filling your lawn with inflatable snowmen and reindeer.

Griffin likes to wrap up empty boxes to create the illusion of a mountain of gifts under her tree. And she says one of her fellow maximalist friends is notorious for putting up a tree in every room.

Don’t be afraid to depart from tradition

Reflect on your childhood. What were your holiday decorations like? Did your parents have a mini Christmas village that took over the living room that you weren’t allowed to touch? Did you grow up making DIY paper chains and snowflakes?

Feel free to recreate the traditions you loved — and scrap the ones you didn’t. Then “give yourself permission to do something different,” she says.

Let’s say you want to depart from the traditional red and green decor you grew up with. Try your hand at a Miami Beach-inspired look, suggests Griffin.

Instead of traditional holiday greenery, consider using palm fronds. Or get an artificial silver or white tree to replicate the whiteness of a sandy beach. Ornamental bulbs in tropical colors like pink and turquoise can add the finishing touch.

Find clever ways to save money on decor

Decking your halls can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be, says Griffin. Hit up thrift stores in your area for wreaths, ornaments, candle holders and other holiday decor. Or throw an ornament swap party with your friends to get new pieces to freshen up your collection.

You can also take a look at what you have in your home and see what can be used as decorations. “Be resourceful,” says Griffin. Your collection of seashells for example, can be strung up as ornaments for your tree.

Collect pinecones from your neighborhood and place them in a fun bowl on your coffee table.

Or ask people selling Christmas trees for any cut branches or tree trimmings. “Those are free,” says Griffin. Turn them into wreaths, a centerpiece for your dining room table or wrap them around your staircase banister.

Griffin shares a final word of decorating wisdom: Consider how much effort you want to put into cleaning up — taking down the tree, the ornaments, the lights. “What goes up must go down,” she says. So “think about your level of commitment to” putting away that decor.


By Gilbert Castro | ENC News


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