Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Time Is Here!

It's time once again, folks! The house smells like a forest of pines, our belts are getting tighter by the minute, and there's not a parking spot to be found within a 2 mile radius of any mall in town. Christmas time is here, my friends!

Before you can transform your house into a winter wonderland, there are a few rules I like to follow to keep myself cool, calm, and festively collected while decorating for the holidays.

Rule 1- Give your accessories the ol' switcheroo. For every Christmas decoration you set out (like tabletop decor) be sure to store something else away. Piling Christmas decor on top of your already existing accessories can clutter up your space very quickly. You are going for Christmas Wonderland, not Hoarders Paradise. I don't know about you, but when my house is messy and cluttered, I feel overwhelmed and definitely not relaxed. In this case, less is more. Showcase your beautiful Christmas decor by giving it the spotlight. Before you even THINK about pulling down that attic ladder to retrieve your coveted snow village collection, you better be creating a "stash away" pile of knick knacks that get the holiday boot. Yes, your dusty bowl of potpourri goes in the "stash" pile to make room for your nativity scene...I think a tablescape depicting the birth of Baby Jesus deserves a designated space free of dusty potpourri, don't you? But Laura, I don't have room in my closets to store all of that stuff! I call your bluff! You just dumped out 23 rubbermaid tubs of tinsel and garland onto your living room floor! Fill up those empty tubs and "stash away, stash away, stash away all!" Utilize your now empty totes to store your decor that is not in use. When you get the tubs back out of the attic to pack away your Christmas cheer (sniffle...its a little hard for me to think about) you have your every day knick knacks ready to put back out.

Rule 2- Label your tubs! Don't just put "Christmas" on the tote, be specific! I don't want 3 tubs of outdoor lights and animated reindeer lying in my foyer for 2 weeks because I had to open 6 tubs before I found my ornaments. Easy, Trigger...tackle one project at a time! When you are putting your dusty potpouri in a vacant Christmas tub, be sure to put it in the tub that held the decor used to replace the dusty potpouri. Make sense? Detailed labels are especially handy if you have multiple Christmas trees in your house. Clean up after Christmas will be swift and painless if you are methodical each year.

Rule 3- Break free from the Red and Green! Pick Christmas decor that coordinates with your permanent design elements. Example: If you have room with pale blue walls and yellow accents, pick Christmas decor that coordinates with those colors. Afraid your room will be lacking that traditional Christmasy feel without the red and green? Take a look at these pics for some soft encouragement!
Definitely not green and red. However, definitely Christmas! For high impact, pick one predominant color and stick with it.
The traditional red and green scheme would clash big time in this room. Sticking with colors that are already present, will make your Christmas decor look like it was meant to be there and not like you reached into a Christmas grab bag with a blind fold on. 
If this yellow lady can make her den feel festive, then there is hope for all of us! Who would have thought yellow could be such a nice Christmas color scheme! 
Like green but aren't a huge fan of red? No worries! They aren't joined at the hip, you know. Again, one primary accent color (green) has been paired with a neutral (silver) for a cohesive, relaxing theme.
Rule 4- Don't underestimate the power of neutrals. Whether its on your walls, or on your Christmas tree, a little dose of neutral is always a good thing. Neutrals are like the breaks on a sportscar. The car is flashy and fun, but I sure wouldn't wanna take a joy ride without the brakes! There's nothing wrong with color. Color is good. But you also need neutrals in a room to keep it grounded. Think about how you want to feel in the room you are in. Do you want to feel energized, calm, playful, serene? If its a room with alot of activity and energy, go for the bold statements. If you want the room to feel peaceful stick with a more muted palette.
Calming, yet chic, this room layers neutrals upon neutrals but still has loads of interest by incorporating sparkle and textures.
This all neutral tree of silvers is sophisticated without being stuffy. Soft shades of green and yellow don't scream "Jingle All the Way" until they are paired with this Silver Tannenbaum. Now suddenly, it all makes sense! If you don't feel like changing out your pillows and colorful accessories to accommodate a stereotypical Christmas palette, go with neutral Christmas decor, like silvers, golds, whites, creams, linens and burlaps. Your whole space will instantly feel connected and festive.
Wow wee! Chances are, if you have pink walls in your living room, you have a bold energetic personality. Naturally, you would want a white tree with hot pink sock monkeys, right? Hey, to each his own, and this tree definitely stayed true to the character of the room. And that's why it works!
White tree make all of your treasured ornaments POP! If you want bright, cheery, explosions of color, go with a solid white tree.
Rule 5- Keep it consistent! I currently have 3 tress in my house, and I would love to add more. As with your decorative staples, keep your "style" consistent throughout the whole house if achieving a sense of flow is important to you. Make sure your Christmas decor fits the overall style of your home. Here's where I have to practice a great deal of restraint! I love every single Christmas scheme that I have featured on this post. However, I constantly have to remind myself that a white tree with modern, yellow decor does not fit the style of my home. Kinda like clothes, ladies; how many of us have ever said "it looks good on you, but I just feel silly in it." Now that's not to say you can't mix up your theme's and colors from room to room. Here's an example: Let's say you have a living room with neutral walls and your Christmas decor is fairly rustic with burlap ribbons, wood ornaments, and red berry accents. Your adjoining dining room is painted red and you want to add some Christmas cheer there as well. Carry over a common element like the burlap perhaps, but now pair it with mercury glass in the dining room. You will have a new look but it will still make sense with the rest of your decor.
Come on...even Buddy the Elf gets it! Note how Buddy kept his overall look consistent by sticking with one, neutral theme. You make me proud, Buddy.

Christmas decor is my Kryptonite. Ornaments are like orphaned puppies- I think every single one needs to come home with me. Practicing restraint has been hard for me, but it has also kept my family from conducting a Christmas Intervention on my behalf. If you commit to a certain look/style with your Christmas decorating, it will keep you from bringing home gobs of Christmas flair that you have no use for. If you love mercury glass, commit to it! When you find an ornament or trinket that fits your style, it becomes an instant treasure, not just another thoughtless purchase. If you set a few guidelines for yourself when decorating and stick with them, your collection will maintain a sense of purpose no matter how large it grows! Now get crackin'! Just be sure to implement the "buddy system" when retrieving storage tubs from the attic.

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