The holidays are here whether we’re ready or not! They are also expensive, and every year there are tons of “hot” new products and decorating ideas popping up to tempt us and our wallets. Cape Cod interior designer Linda Merrill has some fun ideas for reusing your old holiday decorations in new ways that I would like to share with you…
When I was growing up, folks weren’t quite as zealous about decking their halls as we are now. At least, my folks weren’t. Aside from fresh greens, we had a couple of boxes and bags of decorations that came out of storage, and most everything went up in the same old place year in and year out. Some of it I loved – and I do believe that there is something special about bringing out old favorites. But sometimes we want to shake things up, and while most of us aren’t about to buy all-new decorations each year, we can certainly breathe new life into the ones we already own.
The first thing to do is to take an inventory of what you’ve got and see if you can come up with themes:
Color schemes are a fun way to go. This orangey-red wreath paired with orange and purple ornaments would be a festive fun way to kick off the holiday season.
One year, I decorated my living and dining room in all pink and gold and didn’t use any decorations that weren’t in the color scheme. I did purchase pink candles and coordinating wrapping paper to complete the look. It was soft and feminine and such a welcome change from the usual red and green. I loved it.
Another year I used only my collection of Nutcrackers and toy-themed ornaments. The simple act of limiting your decorations to a single theme can bring out a lot of creativity!
Several years ago during a particularly rainy holiday season, I never managed to buy a tree. I had a convertible at the time and the only way to get a tree home was to put the top down and let the tree ride in the back seat. It rained every weekend and I eventually gave up. So, I purchased several large wreaths and decorated them with every ornament and bow in my collection. It was a fun way to use everything I had in a new and fresh way. It’s not something you’d likely do if you had kids, but it worked for me!
Old-timey colorful light bulbs (remove the strings) can be used as decorations on their own. Using a Styrofoam wreath form, push the bulbs in (base down) and glue them into place. Cover the entire form and fill in any holes with sprigs of greenery. For a little sparkle, give them a quick coat of glitter spray.
These colorful bulbs, which hold such nostalgia for simpler days, can also be decorated individually and hung as ornaments on the tree or used as an embellishment on a napkin ring. Wrap the lamp base with a sturdy brass wire or use a pretty ribbon and create a loop for hanging.
Last year, a store in my town filled a large hanging lantern outside the building with strings of white twinkle lights that sparkled brightly in the dark night.
Update your basic ornament balls with a little spray paint, glitter and other fun crafty items. These gold and leopard ornaments are right on trend this year, and all they took was a little decorative wrapping tape on basic gold balls. Leopard not your thing? These tapes come in traditional plaids and checks too!
Reuse and recycle isn’t just for old holiday decorations. How about turning an old tomato cage into a tiny tree for the front porch? It’s the perfect shape and can be spray-painted or wrapped in a pretty seasonal fabric or twinkly lights. Place in a planter filled with sand or rocks so it won’t blow away!
I don’t know about you, but by the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, I am looking to simplify. One of my favorite tricks is to take away all the colorful Christmas decorations, leaving only the white, silver or gold. I also take all the ornaments off the tree and leave only the white mini-lights. One year when I was having a party, I moved the tree out to the deck and used it to light up the drinks bar, which I place right outside the slider. When someone wanted a cold drink, they just needed to open the door and help themselves. It’s quite the space saver in a tight area.
Linda Merrill is an interior designer from Cape Cod, who likes to write about projects for The Home Depot. Linda offers advice on a multitude of topics ranging from Holiday decorating to fun DIY projects using art and craft supplies.