Decorating Ideas for the Holidays

When times get bad, people take comfort in the familiar. This year Americans are returning to traditional holiday decorations. According to a recent survey, people expect to shop for lights, candles, and other traditional items. They reported their colors of choice were traditional reds and greens.
The holidays bring out our creative urges. It’s hard to go wrong when you make your own decorations.

The entire family can have fun creating holiday-inspired origami. Kodansha/Japan Publications has just the thing. “Quick and Easy Origami Christmas” by Toshie Takahama features sixty sheets of holiday-themed papers and a full-color book with easy, no-fail instructions. In no time, children can learn how to make snowflakes, Christmas trees, snowmen, and various Christmas ornaments to hang on the tree. The author is one of the world’s foremost origami experts.

Those with sewing skills can whip up holiday décor in no time. For seasonal inspiration, you can’t beat “Creative Serging for the Home and Other Quick Decorating Ideas” by Lynette Ranney Black et al from Palmer/Pletsch. This wonderful guide was winner of the PCM Award of Excellence. For the winter holidays, the various projects include a draped mantle with stockings, angels, pillows, and tree skirts as well as table linens for those inviting holiday dinners. In addition to indoor projects, this title has ones for the patio and veranda. This comprehensive book has delightful ideas and step-by-step instructions on everything from the projects to serger basics.

For decorating patios, porches, and other outdoor areas, we need durable decorations. Make your own tasteful, gorgeous items under the guidance of Maureen Hart. She is author of “Porch Pals & Yard Critters” and “Porch Pals & Yard Critters 2.” These are from Grace Publications. These lovely designs are made with standard patio pavers, available from most garden and home improvement stores. These are arranged, painted, and decorated as seasonal motifs. For the winter holidays, the second volume features patterns and instructions for several seasonal figures, including Santa, reindeer, and a gingerbread man. You’re sure to have fun creating and using these whimsical porch folks.

It’s likely that fruit lovers have an interest in decorating with fruit motifs. This can be done in various ways. A simple, easy method is to use fruit-decorated pots for poinsettia, and other holiday plants. I use my fruit containers as cache pots, leaving the plants in their original ones.

When it comes to traditional decorations, Colonial Williamsburg comes out as the winner. This area is noted for its fruit-decorated doors during the holidays. Harry N. Abrams in association with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation published “Williamsburg Christmas-the Story of Christmas Decoration in the Colonial Capital” by Libbey Hodges Oliver et al. This delightful book begins with the fascinating history of Christmas during the colonial period. The authors explain how the event was observed in Williamsburg, and provide lists of suitable plant materials. They devote entire chapters to two main areas of the home—doors and dining rooms. There are complete instructions for a number of projects, including a mixed fruit wreath and a fruit cone.

Faux fruits are often used in holiday décor, especially in hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities where fire safety codes prohibit the use of live plant materials. “Wall Flowers For all Seasons” by Ed Smith, also from Grace Publications, is overflowing with projects and ideas. For the winter season, the author selected five different wreaths and swags, three of which feature fruits. Smith is a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers and the Society of Craft Designers. In the introduction, he provides all the basics one needs to know in creating floral designs. Each color-illustrated project features a list of materials along with step-by-step instructions. Both novice and experienced crafters will find this is a useful title.

For seasonal interest, quilts are just the thing. Whether they’re used for wall hangings, table toppers, or in the dining room, these can provide holiday color throughout the house. People tend to be short of time, so miniature quilts are a good choice. These are often used for wall hangings. Busy crafters will love the quick projects in “Easy Paper-Pieced Miniatures.” Written by Carol Doak, this was published by Martingale/That Patchwork Place. This title provides easy to follow, illustrated directions for a number of quilts, including. a Christmas Bells Medallion. This project is made of solid reds and holiday prints, and features a tree motif.

Little quilts all through the house. What a nice idea, but do save room for some of the other holiday decorations as well.

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