“The holidays are about remembering, cherishing and being warm and festive,” says Sally Morse, Director of Creative Services for window fashions leader Hunter Douglas and the design expert on www.hunterdouglas.com. Tradition plays a part in Sally’s holiday decorating, as it does in homes across America, but it’s always fun to invent and come up with creative new ideas. There isn’t a room in her home, she says, that isn’t touched by the holidays during the season.
Morse’s design motto? “Less is less and more is more,” she emphasizes – and it may be yours as well after reading her tips:
- Themed Trees Morse is an aficionado of themed trees in unusual places. In the dining room, she recommends putting a small tree on a silver tray and hanging mismatched forks, knives and spoons on it with skinny ribbons or raffia. In the kitchen, she loves tying holiday cookie cutters with colored raffia ribbons onto the tree. The bedroom can have a tree with artful flowers, lace, tassels and trims. Always practical, guest bathroom’s trees have sample sizes of toothpaste, soap and hand lotion ready to be used. The family room is for the kids’ or “memory tree” decorated with ornaments the children have made over the years.
- The Outside In Starting at the front door, use your urns to put greens in and dress them up with a gazing ball or mercury glass balls, ribbons, shiny ornaments and even twigs painted silver, gold and white. It’s great if the urns can flank the doorway. The wreath can include similar holiday items and battery-powered tealights or candles to light the front door. A fun idea for the overhang or portico is to hang 12- to 16-inch gold or silver balls from apple green ribbon, or any complementary color, at varying lengths.
- Do-It-Yourself Gift Boxes and Wrapping Paper Under the smaller trees, try taking a cardboard jewelry box, hot-gluing moss onto it and tying it up with a nice ribbon. As to the gift wrapping, why not make your own with the help of the little ones in the household? You can take white or Kraft paper and stencil it using a sponge with silver and gold paint. You can also use more traditional colors, of course.
- Personalized Garlands Real or faux, a garland is never just a garland in Morse’s house. At the top of the swags she suggests adding small ornaments hung together and nestles pine cones throughout, as if put there by Mother Nature herself. Windows, too, can be dressed in garlands with silver balls, berries and pine cones.
- The Mantelpiece A garland, no matter how ornamented, is never enough to adorn the mantelpiece. Clear tchotchkes off the mantel and layer it with greenery, LED candles, cranberries, and pine cones. Buy different sized letters at crafts stores and spray-paint them to spell out Noel, Joy or whatever you wish.
- Holiday Light Light is crucial year-round, but even more so during the long, dark winter months. The right kind of window treatments can make us feel comfortable, relaxed and really in tune with one another. For warm, diffused holiday light, Morse favors Silhouette® window shadings. With its soft fabric vanes suspended between sheer panels, this treatment not only softens and diffuses the light, it offers the added benefit of allowing you to gently direct it by tilting the vanes, or close it out when privacy is desired. Luminette® Privacy Sheers is a similar design on the vertical.
- Window Dressing In addition to garlands, try hanging wreaths or pine cones in front of the window coverings with festive ribbons, as long as it doesn’t interfere with operation. One year she hole-punched a pattern of snowflakes out of paper and placed them in front of her shutters.
- Chandeliers and Mirrors Chandeliers and other lighting fixtures can add to the holiday sparkle if you hang glass and crystal ornaments from them with ribbons. You can also put holiday-themed candle rings on them. For extra shimmer, Morse suggests placing holiday wreaths and ornaments on mirrors using suction cups.
- Holiday Cards “Reuse, Recycle, Reclaim” is really the operative phrase here. Go through last year’s cards and showcase some of your favorites in inexpensive picture frames. “I still have a ‘Joy’ with a wreath card my mother gave me 30 years ago,” says Morse. You can even make a collage of them on the wall. Or, repurpose them as decorative gift tags.
- Festive Feasts Try wrapping ribbon around the dining chairs and adding a small spray of pine cones, ornaments and greenery at the back. For a centerpiece she recommends trying something different every year. You can use a silver tray with a fluted rim and fill it with Epsom salt, which looks like snow, and serves as a nice setting for salt and pepper shakers. In the center, you can place a crystal bowl filled with ornaments, fruits, greenery and even feathers. Or, use a cake stand.
- The Details Count In the powder room, take a bowl and fill it with cranberries to the top and white roses with the stems cut short. When the roses open, the red and the white are beautiful and there are no stems showing. The water should be changed every week, adding in the aspirins again. “It usually lasts until New Year’s,” says Morse.
If you would really like to go the extra mile, fill stemware, crystal bowls and pitchers in your china cabinets with pretty ornaments to add color. With a little effort and imagination, the holidays can be all you ever wanted them to be.