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December 10, 2010

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Simple steps for holiday decorating {a house tour}

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Madigan made... simple seasonal changes & a tour.

Remember my philosophy for holiday decor? Keep it simple.

     A. I like simple.
     B. I'm a little lazy. (Setting things out to only put them away in a month or so is kinda frustrating. Pretty, but frustrating.)

Back in September, I reviewed my five simple steps for fall decorating.

Those steps can really be applied to any season. I want to go over those steps again (plus a few more) as it pertains to Christmas.

Plus, this post will also be a way for me to give you a little holiday home tour.

Let me show you around..... you may have seen a few of these vignettes already. If you missed them and want more details, click on the text in that section to go to that post for more details. (Or check out the seasonal section of my sidebar! All of the holiday posts are listed there.)

My simple seasonal steps include:

1. Hang a wreath. (and, of course, some outside lights)

As I mentioned in the fall, the door is the first impression for guests. A wreath makes it festive.

Mr. Madigan's goddaughter gives us a decorated fresh wreath every year for his Christmas gift. It arrives about December 1st. We love it. A wreath is really a fantastic idea for someone who is hard to buy for. And it smells sooo good!

2. Make an entryway with impact. (a.k.a. Bring on the sparkle and shine!)

When I decorate, I normally try to edit and show a little restraint with glitzy and twinkling accessories. That rule goes out the window at Christmas. This holiday seems to beg for sparkle and shine! Ok, I know that might not exactly be a  'simple' philosophy. But if you group like items together (ie. shiny things), it can help keep the decor cohesive.

I love mercury glass. I shared my failed attempt at making it with you. Despite that letdown, I still love the look. So, when I saw these candlesticks at Target this month, I had to grab them.

For the holidays, I took down the picture that normally hangs in our little foyer. To replace it, I made an ornament wreath from a foam wreath wrapped in ribbon and glass balls. (from the dollar store!)

After setting up the candlesticks and adding some other shiny baubles, the scene started to look a tiny bit Liberace... until I added the greens and berries. That seemed to soften everything a little.

I love the gold apple, but my favorite piece in this vignette is the tray. I made it several years ago. It is actually a long picture frame. I silver leafed the back of the glass to make an antique-looking mirror. It is so versatile as a tray or leaning somewhere vertically.

3. Put up the {glittering} Christmas tree.

Again, more sparkle and twinkle!  Our tree is a collection of reds, metallics and jewel tone glass ornaments. I love classic shapes and crackly mercury glass finishes. I also scout for vintage ornaments at flea markets and add them in, too.

Additionally, I added 'natural' elements... if you consider bejeweled fruits and gold acorns 'natural.' Ok, more like gilded nature, LOL! For more details about our twinkling tree, please read that post.

4. Set out a simple centerpiece.

A trifle bowl with a candle and cranberries plus a berry wreath were just enough to make the table feel festive. I change the quote on our kitchen chalkboard every month and sometimes change the plates that hang next to it. It is just another easy way to add Christmas spirit to an often overlooked space. For more information about this area and the plates on the wall, please read that post.

5. Change out the filler in my apothecary jars.

I think placing inexpensive glass ornaments in a container is the easiest way to decorate for the holidays! Ornaments can have such impact grouped together. (especially in monochromatic red)

For the holidays, I also tacked fabric to the back of the doors in my 'china cabinet posing as a library cabinet' so that the focus is on the top of the cabinet, the stockings and the wreath. (I also hang the fabric because I hate decorating the shelves of that cabinet! This is my cheater way out of that dilemma.)

6. Set out a few accessories.

Clutter is a four-letter word in our house. I like to set out just a few holiday vignettes to celebrate the season. A simple berry tree and festive plate looked cute on red and green textbooks.

Some white letters and my mom's pewter Santas decorated a ledge as you walk down the steps to our basement.

And you may have already seen the DIY milk glass trees I made this year from candy jars. They looked so crisp and fresh on our kitchen cart. These trees might be my favorite holiday project so far.

{Tip: Did you know Epsom salts or sea salt are a great substitute for fake snow? }

7. Haul out the holly greens.

Greens and a long tray of ornaments looked perfect under our TV.

Greenery is a quick way to dress up any corner. I like to mix live greens in with some of my artificial branches. I do not go out and buy live greens. I just take my out my shears and trim our landscaping!

8. Remember the reason for season.

Our nativity is very simple (shocking, I know). We received this Holy Family statue for a wedding present. It was so elegant, it just seemed perfect to use for a nativity scene. The Family, with a few trees and more salt 'snow', are just enough.

As I mentioned in September, I think DaVinci said it best: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

We did not deck out every corner. We just needed a tree and several vignettes with impact to carry the Christmas spirit around the home.

And the best part? It is easy to pack away and store in January!

However you decorate... from minimalist to over-the-top, here's wishing you a joyous holiday!