There are many ways to avoid spending money on decorations or increasing one’s carbon footprint (even indirectly).
Use what you have and what Nature provides.
- When you buy your tree, ask for extra boughs and decorate your mantel and doors with them.
- Gather pine cones to display in your wooden, glass or silver bowls.
- String cranberries and popcorn for the tree
- Make a centerpiece of seasonal fruits or bake dough ornaments – all fun family activities.
- Potted plants and miniature fruit trees are beautiful when grouped in threes or fives.
I like to use hurricane candle holders as centerpieces or to decorate a mantel. The classic design of natural garland on stair railings and balusters will dress up your outside entry or hallway. In January, place garlands in your garden for natural decoration, then compost them after the season.
My family celebration
I always go out to get a small live tree when I visit my mom. My family has generations of ornaments to decorate with. I love the way ornaments become family heirlooms. Explore your family’s attics, use what’s there and enjoy the history. Ask friends or relatives to start or add to your or your children’s ornament collections, so you can create your own traditions.
When I’m at home in New York for the holidays, I place gifts under my Jonathan Adler metal shrub sculpture, shown above. It’s my take on a modern tradition. I also like to wrap lights around my window frames. In fact, I wrap tiny lights around the legs of furniture, to make it appear as if the piece is floating on white light.
A simple and festive table runner, for Christmas or any time, is a row of votives and small gifts down the center of the dining table. Open the gifts together, right at the table.
Oh, and be sure to watch your pets around the gifts! I use only white tissue because my dogs love to rip open their gifts, and I don’t want them chewing on toxic inks.
The great outdoors
Family activities and old-fashioned décor add spirit to a traditional celebration.
- Build a snowman and drape him in white lights.
- Celebrate outdoors: decorate an outdoor tree with ornaments and lights, open gifts outside… you can even decorate a palm tree!
- Start a new tradition by leaving lights and ornaments outside all through the winter months. How beautiful to look out a window and see the sparkle of lights at night.
- Buy a tree with the root ball attached, decorate it for the outdoors and plant it later as a family; start a row of trees over the years.
For a warm and welcoming holiday home, check out more of Eric’s tips for simply elegant entertaining.