Christmas Decorating Shortcuts
Flip through our favorite Christmas decorations, party favors, centerpieces and craft projects.
Tie small ornaments with ribbon and hang them from magnetic clips to hold holiday photos, cards or shopping lists on your fridge.
SHORT + SWEET
Save the fake snow for your tree: Rach's design buddy Evette Rios takes wreaths from tired to inspired with only two supplies: lollipops (in different sizes) and a knife. Starting at the top, poke the largest suckers into the needles stick-first. Switch to medium and then tiny lollipops as you work your way down the wreath. Trim the sticks with a knife.
Poinsettias are holiday staples, but a bit Captain Obvious. For a fresher take, trim those leafy stems and cast away that flimsy foil container, says floral designer and author Jane Packer. Jane's Idea: Stack two or three cake stands, cover the tiers with red votives and snipped poinsettia leaves, and top with a red pillar candle. We love the goth look of black stands, but you can lighten it up by using white or cream-colored ones.
Make your gift more personal by threading a velvet ribbon through a mini photo frame to make an ornament.
You have to love a man who can make a toilet brush look chic. Architect Michael Graves -- designer of the iconic Alessi "Whistling Bird" teakettle and some equally stylish kitchen and bathroom wares for Target -- answered our call for a simple holiday centerpiece with this bright idea. Graves uses nothing more than a few martini glasses, silver taper candles, Hershey's Kisses and some greens plucked from the tree. You don't need a fancy fabric runner. Just use wrapping paper.
BOUQUET OF BULBS
Stick multicolored ornaments onto trimmed wooden skewers and arrange them like a bouquet in an opaque vase. Use tree or wreath clippings to fill in any gaps.
TIP: Before skewering, stuff the ornaments with floral foam (available at garden shops and florists) to keep them from wobbling.
THAT'S A WRAP
Place cookies you're going to give as gifts in green pint containers (from cherry tomatoes or other produce) and tie a handle onto each basket with holiday ribbon.
Get creative with your gift wrapping: Tie a box with cooking twine and attach measuring spoons and a sea-salt sachet.
PICK THE RIGHT RIBBON
Pair with solid-colored gift wraps so its texture really stands out.
This light, glossy ribbon has just enough stiffness to tie easily, making it the gold standard for bows.
Wire-lined ribbon is moldable and holds its shape. Use it to make big bows for large packages or kids' presents.
Make a gingerbread house out of cereal with Rice Krispie treats, marshmallows, icing and candy.
Add festive lights to your party table: Tape twinkle lights under a glass table and cover with sheer fabric to diffuse the light.
Tie on some seasonal ingredients: String cinnamon sticks, fresh herbs or cranberries on kitchen twine or ribbon and wrap them around napkins.
PACK IT UP
Cookies make a great gift: Fill a tumbler or clean jelly jar with bonbons. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and tie a ribbon around the top.
For invitations to a holiday potluck, send each guest a card with a different fresh herb attached: Punch small holes in the top of plain note cards and thread a sprig of fresh rosemary, thyme or tarragon through the holes. Ask guests to bring a dish made with whichever herb is on their invitation.
We know someone sent you a holly plant this year—put it to new and creative use with this twist on our original centerpiece from Annie Selke, owner of the home furnishings company Pine Cone Hill. Just snip a few branches and place them under overturned stemware. Top with festive red votives for a seasonal showstopper.
PICK THE RIGHT PAPER
Use the lines on geometric gift wrap to accurately "measure" the amount of paper you'll need. The edges of the wrap should only overlap by about 2 inches. Place the present upside down on the paper -- especially on printed ones -- so the seam ends up on the bottom of the box. Solid-colored papers are perfect blank slates for bold and graphic ribbons.