A procrastinator's guide to easy holiday decor.

Maybe you’ve been really busy, or suddenly discover your missing holiday spirit in a child’s heart-felt card. In any event, it’s never to late to bring a bit of the holidays into you home. Here's our guide to simple holiday decorating:

A small, simple Christmas tree makes a big statement.

Don’t bother stressing over a full-size tree. Garden centers and even some super-markets have small potted evergreens you can put on a table and decorate as much or as little as you like. After new years, you can transplant to your yard or patio. (In a pinch, many quality markets sell fir-shaped rosemary topiaries; they smell wonderful.)

Pretty holiday packages under a tabletop Christmas Tree.
Hand-wrapped gifts of the small and whimsical variety are a marvelous compliment to a table top tree. And don't forget the festive string lights, your choice of color or classic white. 

A colorful paper garland makes a lovely holiday decoration.

Your holiday garlands need not be drooping boughs. Colorful party lights and ornaments will do and a bowl of colorful glass balls from Christmases past are a perfect accent.

Pine cones and cut wood add interested to a holiday fireplace.

Raid your treasure boxes and make do with what you find. Holiday mementos from over the years go from kitsch to endearing when arranged along a mantle and enhanced with complementary candles and swags of beads and artificial blossoms—you knew you’d find a use for those. A string of pine cones, the smaller the better, creates an instant seasonal aura.

Natural elements, pinecones and forced flowering bulbs add simple beauty to a holiday decor.

Think nature and blend the treats of the season—orange mandarins and nuts in their shell—with bits of nature culled from a forest stroll. Candles pull them all together into a holiday vignette.

Warming lighting turns a holiday home into an inviting retreat.

A plate of gingerbread cookies—homemade or grabbed from the market’s bakery counter—casually arranged on vintage table, perhaps alongside those interesting baking implements you almost never use. Candles and a plate of full-flavored, ripe cheese—stilton or gorgonzola are seasonal favorites—create a sweet and savory welcome. Don’t forget to set a welcoming light in the window; it’s a delightful European custom too often neglected here.

A strand of lights and a bowl of apples turn a kitchen table into a festive nook

Drape a string of lights across a window or mirror in any way that pleases you and is easily done. Set a bowl or platter of colorful winter fruits in front of it and you have the essence of casually elegant décor with no fuss and your sanity intact.   

Photo credits:  #1 -- Liivia S.;  #2, 3, 4 & 6 -- Yvonne Eijkendujin;  #5 --  Paula Mills;  #7 -- Amy Merrick;  #8 Liivia S.; #9 -- Unknown;  #10 -- A Commonplace Life.