Have Yourself a Homespun Holiday

winter decor

by Lauren Johnson

For this year’s decorations, are you ready to make it? You will be with these DIY decorating tips for every level of crafty.

The last forkful of Thanksgiving turkey has been gobbled up, the cranberry sauce has been cleared and the green flag now drops to signal the start of the holiday decorating flurry. While interiors dripping with festive frills may warm the heart to see, installing all that frippery can leave one feeling icy.

So, we’re here with a reminder that the Christmas season need not be about over-the-top ornamentation, mounds of bright baubles or complicated lighting schemes twinkling in time to the tunes of Mannheim Steamroller. Leave the plethora of blinking bulbs to Rockefeller Center and the cornucopia of lavish trimmings to The Plaza. In the following pages, you’ll find a bounty of simple do-it-yourself decorating ideas that’ll have you cheerily trilling “Fa la la” all season long.

Trim the Tree

For many, the Christmas tree stands at the center of home holiday decorating, festooned in tinsel, lights, beads and balls and then swaddled in a pretty skirt. Whether your Tannenbaum stretches four feet or 14, creating a festive fir shouldn’t be stressful, it should be fun. Our recommendation: Take your cues from Charlie Brown and don’t get hung up on perfection. When it’s time to gussy up the tree, tune into Bing Crosby, pour mugs of hot chocolate and let the little ones loose to adorn your festive fir. Sure, most of the ornaments will be concentrated on the lower half of the tree, but it’s hard to top the sight of children proudly embellishing its branches. Not to mention that these easy and fun craft projects are a great way to involve the kids. Want to spruce up your tree trimmings this year? Here are some ideas to get you started:

Hawthorn Berries and a handcrafted ornament

Go Natural

Make keepsake Christmas balls with the kiddos using clear glass or plastic craft ornaments. Bring the outdoors in by using natural finds such as acorns, berries, ferns and dried flowers.

Make It Sea-Worthy

With their poinsettia-shaped centers and preexisting holes, sand dollars are ideal for simple ornaments. Or glue together a flat stack of five or more starfish, arranged from largest to smallest with the legs turned this way and that to mimic a Christmas tree. And a bit of gold paint elegantly highlights the beauty of bivalves. We just ask that you please gather only lifeless sea creatures, and be sure to clean them with a bleach or alcohol soak before crafting.

Pin It on a Pinecone

Pinecones are also a prize material for DIY decorators. Ask the kids to gather as many as they can from the yard, then dip the ends in gold paint for a color-blocked look or spray-paint white to mimic snow.

Design Your Tablescape

Most of our time during the holidays is spent around the table, so taking time to adorn the table can be just as joyous as the tree. These tips can help.

Christmas Family Dinner Table Concept. Candles, vintage dishes, fir branches with clear copy space on wall

Magnificent Magnolias

Rustic Table Setting

Whether it’s a fistful of magnolia leaves, snips of fragrant rosemary, clippings from your tree or holly bundles, backyard greenery makes gold-star holiday décor.

Secure loose sprigs or branches into a garland with a rubber band and then cover the band with ribbon, burlap or twine. Smaller bunches make festive additions to candlesticks and inside napkin rings.

Festive Fruits

The partridges had the right idea — pears offer scrumptious style for your nest. Pomegranates, apples, cranberries and limes (really, any red or green fruit) also make for delicious décor.

Festive Fruits

And oranges shouldn’t be overlooked, either. Invite your children to decorate the citrus balls with whole cloves to create classic pomanders, and then pile them high in a pretty bowl for an easy side table addition that warms the room with a sweet and spicy scent.

Organize Condiments

A shiny muffin tin paired with cocktail spoons works nicely as a serving station for condiments or toppings.

Dress for Success

Folded, a plaid wool blanket becomes an instant winter table runner.

Make a Magical Blizzard

crafty snowflakesArm the kids with white coffee filters and scissors to cut flurries of paper snowflakes. Hang them with dental floss from the dining room chandelier to construct your very own winter wonderland.

Make Your Mantle Merry

Spread the holiday cheer by the warmth of the fire.

Hosting Hanukkah revelers? Organize nine candlesticks into a neat shortest-to-tallest-to-shortest row to symbolize a Menorah. No fireplace? Do some channel surfing and find a televised yule log (channels will vary based on your provider). The broadcast showcases a traditional wood-burning fire — the perfect backdrop for tree trimming and cookie decorating.

Hanukkah celebration with menorah

Make It Twinkle

Sprinkle Epsom salt into mason jars and tuck in tea lights to form a snowy luminary centerpiece. Holly, rosemary, sage or bay leaves nestled around the edges add a special touch.

jars handmade lanterns

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