Fresh Ideas for Holiday Decorating

Decorating in December can be ho-hum or ho-ho-ho! Here are a few ideas to keep things fresh.

Visit retailers for ideas
Retailers are both the problem and solution. Large chain stores hire a cadre of visual merchandisers to make sure their displays grab eyeballs, so use them for ideas even if you don’t buy the merch.

West Elm offers a variety of interesting holiday accessories from contemporary black and white Nutcracker platters to a Mosaic mirror wreath that would look good at any time of year, and their Lincoln Park store is decorated with bowls full of large, vintage-style bulbs in primary colors—an interesting way to reinterpret a familiar look.

Ditch the kitsch
Why do some children scream when set upon Santa’s lap? I suspect the answer is part survival of the fittest and part aesthetic outrage at the bright red outfit and floppy hat. After all, kitsch is niche for a reason, but it’s hard to avoid it when dealing with elves, snow creatures and garishly colored light bulbs. Keep it simple for a more elegant look.

A sprig of berries nestled in evergreen trimmings on a white tablecloth says holiday just as effectively as a plastic reindeer set atop the house, with the added benefit that you’re less likely to fall off the roof when setting the table.

Amp up color
Incorporate your favorite holiday colors in non-traditional ways. If you’re tired of the tree and all the ornamentation, focus on creating a holiday feel with ordinary accessories in holiday hues. Throw some red and green velvet pillows on the sofa. After the holidays, they’re easy to store or to use in another room.

Expand your repertoire of decor
Who would have thought that by the year 2010, nothing would say Christmas quite like a lamp shaped like a woman’s stocking-covered leg? Yet, I see them popping up in windows with increasing regularity, and “A Christmas Story,” the 1983 movie that spawned them, is a bona fide classic, proving that the holidays are far from static. Similarly, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was created in the 30s, but who doesn’t know the nose-warming tale by heart?

Stick to your own timeline
When the world zigs, zag. If you celebrate Hanukkah, leave the blue and white lights up through the New Year and don’t put the Menorah away—use it as beautiful candelabra that reminds your family of the importance of light and hope.

How do you keep the holidays fresh? We’re interested in your ideas, so please leave a comment!