My second installment of Tobi’s Tips for AY Magazine is on Newsstands now. You can check out the article about Christmas Traditions on the AY website.
And here are my Ten Tips for Holiday Decorating to help make your Traditions most memorable.
1. Trees and Garland…Go Live or Go Faux. I like both but whichever you go, go quality! Say no to skimpy greenery . If you can’t afford good quality artificial, purchase fresh. Though you will have to buy from year to year, it is not as big of an initial investment as a great artificial can be. Especially during this time of year when you need all your pennies for buying gifts. But remember fresh greenery dries out and can be a fire hazard, so wait a little later to decorate if you are going fresh.
2. Decorations, Bigger is not necessarily better. Pay close attention to the scale of your decorations if you want them to stay in style from year to year. The giant items are typically best reserved for really large homes with soaring ceilings. But tiny is not great either. It can look busy and it requires many more items to fill your tree. One great suggestion is layering. Place the larger items deep inside the tree and layer on medium and smaller ornaments as your move outward toward the tips of the branches. The same rule applies from the base to top of the tree. Bigger items on the bottom of the tree near the floor and get gradually smaller as you move towards the ceiling.
3. Oh Christmas Tree, how tall should I be? The rule of thumb I use is 6”-12” less than your ceiling height. So for old fashioned 8-foot ceilings like mine, a 7.5’ tree is perfect. If you have 10 foot ceilings go for a 9’ tall tree. But there can be a limit. I think a 10’ to 12’ tree is large enough for most any room no matter the ceiling height. Pay special attention to the diameter of the tree as well. The taller the tree, often the bigger around the tree. So make sure you have enough room in your home for the tree you select in both width and height. The good news is that there are slimmer styles that still give you the height you are looking for.
4. Displaying a collection…tree, table, or shelves? Where ever you display your collection, I suggest keeping it all in one place. By displaying your collections as a group, they have more impact and are more impressive.
5. It’s a wrap…fabulous gift wrapping that compliments your tree is a great idea. I love to make my gift wrap do double duty by complimenting my décor but also appealing to the person the gift is meant for. By adding special ribbons or tying on small ornaments or other adornments to the outside of the package, you can easily personalize the gift for the recipient.
6. Wreaths, to light or not to light? I love lighted wreaths on the exterior of my home. I put one on each window on the front of my house. To conceal the cords, bring them in the windows and plug into an interior outlet. If you have storm windows as I do, I suggest painting your extension cords the color of your home so they are inconspicuous as they drop down to your exterior receptacles.
7. Decorator or Heirloom, which tree is for me? I love all kinds of decorations for Christmas trees. Whether you love displaying the adorable ornaments your children made in elementary school or you prefer an all-out decorator tree purchased from a local boutique, I say go with what makes you happy and comfortable. Being consistent is what makes any tree successful. If you want the heirloom collectibles and childhood crafts on your tree, pair them with strings of popcorn and colored lights for a charming look. If high-style is more important to you, then reserve your children’s crafts or your grandmothers quilted angel ornaments for a quaint display on a garland or tree in your kitchen or in the kid’s playroom. It is hard to mix both styles on the same tree or even in the same room.
8. Ribbon… Help, I love it but I don’t know what to do with it?? Ribbon can be difficult to use. I prefer wired ribbon in most cases because it is easier to mold and shape. My personal preference is to reserve ribbon for wreaths and garlands instead of the tree. I don’t like to add the bulk to my tree that ribbon can bring. It often covers the lights and ornaments and can alter the overall silhouette of your tree, which is not necessarily a good thing. I use gorgeous ribbons to make bows for my outdoor wreaths and to cascade through my stair garlands for an added touch of color.
9. Flocked Trees…Totally chic or Totally 80’s? A good quality flocked tree can be both interesting and stylish and fortunately there are many varieties to choose from these days. I have seen stunning flocked versions that give a chic retro vibe for a modern abode and also gorgeous rustic styles that are great for creating a country feel or paying homage to a your favorite ski resort.
10. When all else fails, hire a professional. There is something so personal and charming about do-it-yourself holiday decorating, besides the fact that it can be a great project for the entire family. But if holiday decorating is just too much for you and your busy schedule, don’t hesitate to hire a professional. There are many wonderful companies that do a great job of transforming your home into a gorgeous winter wonderland. But book early. With the limited holiday season, these professionals book up fast. The typical season for professional holiday décor runs from November 1 through just before Christmas. But keep in mind, it is an investment to hire professionals so I recommend having them decorate early so you can get your money’s worth
Photos courtesy of Traditional Home, Country Living, Southern Accents, Southern Living and Veranda Magazines.