By Meredith Ehler
Christmas trees in hotels and department stores seem so magically decorated. I remember visiting Chicago 20 years ago and staying at the Drake hotel ago at Christmastime. I marveled at the stunning tree that donned the hotel’s entryway, beautifully adorned with ribbon garland and all things sparkling. As a newlywed, it was only a dream that I could ever have such a tree in my own home. But, each year I drew closer to my dream and two decades later it finally came true!
Being a self-proclaimed Christmas over-decorator, I get asked all of the time where I store everything. The truth is that the packing, unpacking, and storage of all of this sparkly goodness is not easy. If it weren’t for my two strong teenagers, and a husband with boundless patience and grace for me and my obsession, this tradition of over-the-top decorating would have ended as quickly as it had begun. Christmastime is such a special time for my family and me that we rally every year! I want to share some tips and tricks so you too can take your holiday décor to a whole new level!
To get started, you may need to remove and store some of your everyday décor to make room on your tabletops and counters for your holiday treasures. Pack away things that may not match-like spring and summer themes or colors. Open your mind to see every surface as an opportunity to decorate! For more information on prepping your home, see my article in last month’s edition of Posh Seven entitled “Easy Prep for Holiday Décor” at PoshSeven.com.
Break all the rules
If it is sitting still-decorate it! I love to see the look on people’s faces when they realize I have decorated my chandeliers. I love to make each chandelier match the atmosphere of the room. My dining room is done in icy silvers so I keep that theme for the holidays as well. That chandelier is dripping with silvery, crystal garland and adorned with complimentary ornaments. The chandelier in my kitchen is draped with the traditional reds and greens of Christmas, topped off with a large Santa. I attach yards of colorful, swirly, wired ribbon, battery operated lights, and hang ornaments all over with wire ornament hangers or craft wire cut to the size needed.
Don’t forget the tops of your kitchen cabinets. If you’ve got space up there, like I do, then why not decorate there, too? I fill the area with lights, garland and oversized ornaments. It is the room I spend the most time in, so why not make it pretty? I recommend using plastic ornaments to fill up the space, not glass, for safety reasons.
Decorate with the Unexpected
The trees in hotels and department stores look so appealing because they are filled to the brim with color and texture. You can have that look with just a few designer tricks. Instead of traditional garland, I use fabric, extra-wide ribbon, tulle, and even packing material that I spray paint to match my tree’s theme. These items make a wider garland, which fills up your tree and makes it look rich and festive! For my tree, I choose a non-traditional, brightly colored, pink satin fabric. I suggest cutting the fabric in half lengthwise and winding it around the tree. No sewing is necessary. Just tuck away any unfinished edges of the fabric as you wrap and bunch it up on the branches, just as you would traditional garland. This will give your tree a dramatic and designer look.
Another designer trick is to use large-scaled ornaments and repeat them all over the tree. So when you shop for ornaments, consider buying the largest size and buy as many as you can. Or, make your own. Wrap empty boxes as presents and tuck them in between branches. I even use a plaque that says “Merry Christmas” on one of my trees. The tree in my sunroom is candy themed because I love pink. I use pink tulle as the garland and the tree is loaded with candy-colored gingerbread houses and oversized lollipop ornaments.
Take a look around your house and see what you can re-purpose. I use large trays or punch bowls as the base of my centerpieces. Stuff the bottom of the bowl with plastic grocery bags and then fill the rest of the bowl with ornaments until it is overflowing. One of my favorite tree skirts is a repurposed silver drapery panel. I just love the lush look of rich fabrics under the tree!
Make this Christmas the best ever by decorating with things that bring you joy and don’t forget to make time to spend time with family and friends! Happy Decorating!
MEREDITH EHLER is a makeup artist, wardrobe stylist, and home decorator. She studied fashion at JMU and in Paris, France. A native to D.C. and former Redskins’ cheerleader, Meredith enjoys making her client’s lives more beautiful. Her website is MeredithEhler.com.