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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:
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.)
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.
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 pinecones, the smaller the better, creates an instant seasonal aura.
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.
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.
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.