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Live in a warmer climate but dream of a white Christmas? Decorating around a palette of white and green creates a wonderful wintry feel. A flocked tree, bulbs like paper whites and white amaryllis showcased on silver trays, and pale poinsettias in galvanized pots are just a few ideas for keeping it cool.

To help ward off the chill in colder climes, choose a decorating scheme rich in reds or warm metallics like gold, bronze, and copper. Try wrapping a bow around your dining room chairs for an even more elegant effect or turn living room throw pillows into presents with festive holiday ribbons that make them look like gifts.

Whichever palette you choose, don’t forget the candlelight! White candles brighten a cool color scheme while maintaining the snowy feel while red, white or gold candles add further radiance to warmer tones. And don’t forget your exterior! Make the first steps up to your home more welcoming and arrange a group of festive lanterns at your entryway. Use flameless candles for a worry-free display that can be enjoyed all night long.

Decking the Halls

Making your own wreath is one of the simplest ways to personalize your decorating. Start with living or artificial greens, a twisted grapevine or Styrofoam ring as your base; all are easy to find in craft and holiday stores (or from your back yard). The options for adornment are almost endless: toys, ribbons, feathers, fruits, shells, silk flowers, small wrapped boxes, you name it. Consider tying your wreath ornamentation into your Christmas tree decorating theme or color scheme to create a cohesive look.

Garlands are another holiday décor staple that you can enjoy as-is or enhance with your own add-ons. Hang them above windows and door frames with the ends of the garland draping down on either side. Or place along the edge of the mantle, over mirrors, even encircling a room just below ceiling level. Keep in mind that you need not stick with green - artificial varieties also come in merry colors such as gold and silver. Feathers are an exceptionally good alternative to lush needles when it comes to adding texture to your mantel or bannister. Peacock feathers and curly willow branches lend just the right amount of color and rustic detail to your Christmas decor.

Christmas Wreath
Branch Out

Why not add some natural winter appeal with bare branches: secured in a vase or colored pot and hung with ornaments, a single branch is a striking tabletop arrangement. And first spray-painting the branch silver, gold or white makes for a beautifully bold display.

Want to branch out in another way? Try using traditional elements in non-traditional settings. Ornaments need not be kept to the tree: serving bowls, glass vases, even jam or other kitchen storage jars can make great receptacles. Bring a splash of color to a bare windowsill with whimsical trinkets or glass vessels filled with leftover balls and other ornaments.

Add fun and color to bare bedroom doors by attaching personalized stockings for each family member. Wreaths can be hung from the ceiling, vertically or horizontally, over a dining table for a fantastic floating centerpiece. You could also create some overhead opulence with sparkly snowflakes or glass bobbles accenting an existing chandelier, wall sconce, or other lighting fixture. Hang some mistletoe or make your own with felt, a fabric pencil, a couple pearl embellishments, red ribbon, and a hot glue gun. Small wreaths also look delightful tucked into bookshelves or open cupboards. You could also mix and match wreaths to create sculptures like a simple snowman with only a small, medium, and large wreath – and maybe a top hat and corncob pipe.

Fun and Functional

Christmas isn’t just about the enchanting atmosphere, it’s about the memories we share. Want to place a vibrant centerpiece on your coffee table? Fill a hurricane with candy canes or other candies and you’ll dazzle the eye of your guests and satisfy their sweet tooth as well. Need something for the wall, but you’re all out of wreaths? Invent your own advent calendar by painting an old frame and stringing individual numbered baggies packed with treats. And don’t think for a second that games have to wait until presents are opened! Embellish bare tabletops with interactive accessories that speak to the fun of the holiday like themed puzzles and easy-to-play board games.

A Sense-ational Holiday

Now you’ve got the sights taken care of, don’t neglect the sounds and smells of the season. Bells around the front door handle announce visitors merrily while the Nutcracker Suite or Nat King Cole playing in the background can instantly kindle fond memories of holidays past. Old-fashioned pomanders of cloves and oranges, cinnamon brooms, or pine-scented candles will add cheer to the atmosphere, too.