62 Creative and Elegant Christmas Decoration Ideas

Christmas decoration ideas - bar cart
Photo: Johnny Miller

Believe it or not, it's possible to transform your home into a festive gathering place for family and friends this holiday season—even if Christmas crafts aren't necessarily your strong suit. If you're intimidated by DIY projects or don't want to spend a fortune on holiday decor this year, never fear: These Christmas decoration ideas take just minutes to pull together, and many don't require buying anything new at all. (You can even prepare some while enjoying the best Christmas movies on Netflix.)

For example, let your beautifully wrapped presents serve as decorations until they are ripped open on Christmas morning. Or consider hanging your holiday cards from your stair banister to add a pop of color and cheer instead of tucking the greetings away. Want to add some elegant Christmas trees to your repertoire of decorations? We can help you create edible versions that will sweeten up your kitchen or entryway.

Let these simple Christmas decoration ideas act as inspiration, then customize them to your color palette to create a look that feels right at home. Whatever you have around the house, you can use them to decorate this holiday season. Read on for our ideas for decorations and styling tips for your most beautiful holiday home yet.

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Light a (Faux) Fire

Christmas decoration ideas - Faux Hearth
Nicole Franzen

Even if you don't have room for a traditional tree, you can still get the same look on a smaller scale. Instead of the 7-foot fir tree, opt for a 3- or 4-foot-tall one, and use a decorative metal planter in place of the typical tree stand and skirt. Then, keep the ornaments minimal so you won't overwhelm the branches.

Want a faux hearth to accompany your small-space tree? Wrap birch logs in fairy lights and set them in a wire basket. The room will instantly look warmer.

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Beautify a Bar Cart

Party Central bar cart
Johnny Miller

Gilded accessories and pretty bottles of your favorite alcohol will look decadent and festive when left on display during the holiday season. And when an impromptu visitor comes to your door, you're ready to entertain.

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Wow-Worthy Mantel Decor

Holiday decoration ideas, Mantel wreath with flowers and pomegranates
Steve Giralt; Styling: Elizabeth MacLennan

For an unexpected and sophisticated display, keep your pairing (wreath and trio of candlesticks) minimal. This grapevine branch wreath makes an impressive holiday decoration idea with its combination of evergreen branches, pomegranates, and amaryllis blooms.

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Holiday Card Garland

Christmas decoration ideas, garland with holiday cards
Steve Giralt; Styling: Elizabeth MacLennan

Looking for a clever way to display the holiday cards that come your way? Use clips or clothespins to string them along the staircase.

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Striking Accents

Christmas decoration ideas, Wreath with evergreen and succulents
Steve Giralt; Styling: Elizabeth MacLennan

Mix classic elements (spruce and olive branches) with unexpected accents (echeveria succulents, seeded eucalyptus branches) for a traditional, but updated way to greet your holiday guests.

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Make a Warm Welcome

Fireplace with lit branches
Steve Giralt; Styling: Elizabeth MacLennan

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but your fireplace looks so delightful. Set a cozy scene by wrapping twin birch logs in twinkling holiday lights. Sprinkle mercury glass candlesticks and votives along the sides for an extra boost of shine.

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Glass Act

Christmas decoration ideas, Window with holiday decorations and candles
Steve Giralt; Styling: Elizabeth MacLennan

For a hassle-free holiday display, take over an empty end table (a deep windowsill will also work) by setting up a multitude of contemporary candlesticks and mercury glass votive candles. Rely on colorful glass ornaments for adding a pop of color and cheer.

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Special Delivery

Christmas decoration ideas, Advent calendar from bulletin board and envelopes
Steve Giralt; Styling: Elizabeth MacLennan

Make your own Advent calendar using lined envelopes and stick-on-numbers to transform a large bulletin board. Fill each envelope with treats (candy canes, gift certificate to the ice cream parlor, a coupon good for an extra hour of playing video games) that are joyful and surprising. With the promise of a small treasure each day, the kids (both young and young at heart) will love counting down the days to December 25.

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Pick Your Palette

Christmas decoration ideas, Metallic medallions over mantel
Steve Giralt; Styling: Elizabeth MacLennan

If red and green aren't part of your decorating color scheme, lean on tones that complement your existing decor. Paper medallions in silver, gold, and bronze look right at home atop the mantel. Add a warm finishing touch by draping sprigs of evergreen garland embellished with berries and ornaments.

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A Sweet Scene

Trees from foam cones decorated with rock candy
Steve Giralt; Styling: Elizabeth MacLennan

Turn candy into an indoor winter wonderland that will greet holiday guests at the front door. Make your own sparkly scene by decorating foam cones from the craft store with rock candy.

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Let It Snow

Christmas decoration ideas, Silver and white gift bows hanging in window
Steve Giralt; Styling: Elizabeth MacLennan

Dreaming of a white Christmas? Dangling from a window, these cascading strands of silver and white gift bows create the illusion of falling snow.

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Center of Attention

Glass bowl full of glittery holiday light bulbs
Steve Giralt; Styling: Elizabeth MacLennan

'Tis the time of year for glitz and glamour on the holiday table. Nestle sparkly, color-dipped vintage bulbs in a decorative glass bowl to make a show-stopping statement.

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Double-Duty Decorating

Christmas gifts and ball ornaments
Steve Giralt; Styling: Elizabeth MacLennan

Pretty wrapped presents can work overtime as last-minute decorations. The secret to turning a pile of presents into a table-worthy display? Focus on the finishing touches: Adorn festive wrap with clever tie-ons (like a strand of color-dipped wooden beads) and a peppering of metallic ornaments.

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Make Candles Cohesive

Candles on Christmas mantel
Tom Merton/Getty Images

Couple together pillar candles to add ambiance and extra light. Wrap a piece of festive ribbon around a few to compliment the palette of your other decorations while adding texture.

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An Eye-Catching Table Runner

Christmas decoration ideas, String and poster board holiday table runner
Steve Giralt; Styling: Elizabeth MacLennan

Forgo the fine china, fancy linens, and extravagant centerpiece for a unique runner that will steal the dinner scene. Place pins along the sides of a gilded poster board and artfully weave colorful string from pin to pin to create a modern, textured focal point.

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Fireside Forest

Christmas decoration ideas - Fireside Forest
Nicole Franzen

Layer an assortment of tree-shaped objects in varying heights and textures atop the mantel. Use a metallic, leafy garland to reflect the firelight from below.

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Twist on a Traditional Wreath

Christmas decoration ideas - Lemon orange wreath
Ditte Isager

Instead of the traditional evergreen, try a homemade wreath of citrus fruits. Start with a circular piece of florist's foam, then use wooden florist's picks to secure large items, such as oranges, first. Continue with smaller fruit―kumquats, clementines, limes. Tie with a thick velvet ribbon.

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Celestial Doorway

Christmas decoration ideas - Celestial Doorway
Nicole Franzen

Trick out a door or window frame with an asymmetrical assortment of stars. Use adhesive strips to hang a strand of cascading star lights accentuated with ornaments and lanterns of various sizes.

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Stockinged Stairwell

Christmas decoration ideas - Stockinged Stairwell
Nicole Franzen

Hang stockings from a banister trimmed with garland (live or faux) using floral wire or zip ties hidden amid the greenery.

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Leaning Ladder

Christmas decoration ideas - Leaning Ladder
Nicole Franzen

Attach stockings to a decorative ladder and liven it up with a swag of pine garland. In January, replace the stockings with throw blankets.

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Sweet Centerpieces

Christmas decoration ideas -Christmas candy on a table
Steve Giralt

The halls are decked, now bring colorful delight to the table with a sweet set-up of treats that never feel out of season. For the ultimate centerpiece, try a no-fuss arrangement filled with red and white peppermint balls and fluffy marshmallows. Call on ribbon candy, multicolored chocolates, and candy canes for making the perfect sides.

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Overhead Opulence

Christmas decoration ideas - Christmas ornaments hanging from chandelier
Steve Giralt

Don't restrict magnificent baubles and sparkly snowflakes to the tree when it comes to your Christmas decor ideas. Accentuate overhead lighting with shimmery decorations and stick to a fresh winter palette like pale blue and silver. Finish it off with an elegant satin ribbon gently dangling from the chandelier.

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Modern Simplicity for Stockings

Christmas decoration ideas - Modern Simplicity
Steve Giralt

Play up your home's unique style with holiday decor that complements its most appealing qualities. A gorgeous mirror gets a charming border from decorative golden deer and white stockings, which accentuates the breathtaking white mantel.

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Extra Ornament Displays

Christmas decoration ideas - Glass ball Christmas ornaments in vase
Steve Giralt

The trick to making your holiday decor feel like home is by injecting your personal style into the details. Turn a bare windowsill into a stylish nook in no time by filling glass jars of varying heights and shapes with leftover balls for a dramatic, high-impact display.

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Fabulous Window Dressings

Christmas decoration ideas - Window Dressing
Steve Giralt

Holiday window treatments come in all shapes, sizes, and textures. The ultimate preppy power couple (hot pink and lime green) make an unexpected debut in this modern all-feather composition. The dangling ornament adds just the right amount of pop to this decorative piece.

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Subtle Arrangements

Christmas decoration ideas - Christmas ornaments in a glass vase surrounded by a wreath
Steve Giralt

The secret to pulling off a show-stopping arrangement that speaks to your style is by keeping the decorative elements simple. Fill a glass hurricane with an assortment of holiday ornaments, and then surround it with lush greenery.

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An Alternative Tree Assortment

Christmas decor ideas - Christmas tree decorated with feathers
Steve Giralt

Add a pop of color to a corner with a retro-inspired palette that boasts an exotic side. Delicate balls in chartreuse, lavender, and pink are scattered across the branches making an attention-worthy display. Rather than leaning on garland for texture, turn to feathers for an unexpected twist.

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Charming Countdown

Christmas decoration ideas - Homemade advent calendar
Steve Giralt

This unique adaptation of the traditional Advent calendar speaks to the spirit of the season. Replace a leaning mirror for the month of December and fill the pint-size numbered bags with some of your family's favorite treats.

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Frosted Tablescape

Christmas decoration ideas - White table settings with pinecone center pieces
Steve Giralt

Set a simple and sophisticated winter–white table that will make your holiday gatherings extra special. Add a hint of warmth and texture by layering the surface with a delicately embroidered ivory runner. For even more dazzle, fill silver mint julep cups with beautifully frosted pinecones.

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White Christmas Tree

Christmas decoration ideas - White Christmas Tree
Steve Giralt

The brilliance of white is captured in a monochromatic tree that sets a festive tone. Accentuate the pure richness with ornaments in clear glass, shimmery silvers, and white. Soft, airy, and completely captivating.

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Seasonal Finds

Christmas decoration ideas - Mantel with jars of cranberries
Steve Giralt

Opportunities abound for sweeping displays of lavish greenery along the mantel. This seasonal vignette calls for apothecary jars filled with cranberries, which are accented by the warm glow of sparkling fruit and pinecones.

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Playful Accessories

Christmas decoration ideas - Scrabble game
Steve Giralt

Think outside the overflowing bins and boxes of decorations for a clever way to embellish bare tabletops. Turn Friday's game night staple into an innovative holiday prop.

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Set the Scene

Christmas decoration ideas - Winter scene with moose
Steve Giralt

An entryway extends a home's first greeting. Welcome a few unexpected characters into your decor by animating a tabletop with an enchanted wintry scene.

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Flank an Entryway

Christmas decoration ideas - outdoor door framers
Lucas Allen

Give your guests a dramatic welcome: A pair of inexpensive plastic urns from the garden center (or you can even order them online and have them shipped straight to your door) can instantly dress up a front entryway and make it feel complete. The urns are available in a variety of colors and sizes, so you can find one that goes with the outside of your home. To construct a festive display, place a tall foam cone in each urn and then anchor it with sand. When that is complete, use florist sticks and wire to attach greenery and Christmas balls.

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Make an Easy Table Topper

Christmas decoration ideas - Pinecone centerpiece
William Meppem

How simple and elegant is this centerpiece? Buy a garland of lush winter greenery (available at garden centers or online) to run down the length of your table. Want to use it year after year? Buy a replica that will outlast the season. You can also get your kids involved by sending them out to collect pinecones, and use them as rustic toppers throughout your table scape. (You can also buy pinecones at garden or craft stores.) Simply secure them to the garland and you will have Christmas table decorations that are sure to impress all of your dinner guests this year.

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Go With a Simple Centerpiece

Christmas decoration ideas - Bowl filled with apples
Dana Gallagher

Here is another festive idea: Load a simple glass jar or bowl with multiples of the same fruit, nut, or your favorite holiday candies. Here, trifle bowls are filled with red apples and green baby artichokes—the colors of Christmas—and walnuts. Or to add a pop of color to your space, grab a bag of lemons or limes and put them in a clear bowl. If you have extra Christmas decorations still in their storage boxes, take them out and put them to use. Monochromatic ornaments can be displayed in clear containers throughout your home for all to see.

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DIY Outdoor Decor

Christmas decoration ideas - Pinecones used as flowerbox filler
James Baigrie

Looking to embellish outside this season? For a subtle outdoor decoration, gather pinecones of various sizes and arrange them in a window box or in pots on your porch, putting the largest ones on the bottom and sprinkling the tiniest ones on top. By doing this, you don't have to leave your boxes stark and empty until the weather starts to change and get warmer—this weatherproof display should last until you can replant your favorite flowers in the spring. And if you don't know where to begin when it comes to planting, we have you covered. Check out all the tips and tricks right here.

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Give the Kids a Holiday Craft

Christmas decoration ideas - Children making holiday garland
Melanie Acevedo

A perfect, zero-supervision craft for kids is making a bunch of aluminum-foil ring chains. All you need to give them is squares of foil (cut up a roll yourself or buy a box of precut sheets): no scissors, glue, tape, or—huzzah!—sparkles. Then, the little ones can help hang them throughout the home to add some extra shine. Don't want to ruin your walls? Command strips are easy to adhere and will not destroy your latest coat of paint or wallpaper. Removal will be super easy when it comes time to take the shiny decorations down come January.

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Spell Out Your Message

Christmas decoration ideas - Wall stencils
Lucas Allen

Stencil letters (available at the stationery store) will say it loud and clear. Back some—or all—of the letters with brightly colored construction paper, then attach with a removable adhesive so painted walls go undamaged.

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String Up Some Starlight

Christmas decoration ideas - Lit holiday ornament
John Dolan

Wind a strand of battery-powered fairy lights around a medium Styrofoam ball. Tie it off, then tape the end of the strand to the ceiling or loop it around a curtain rod. Suspend three or four balls of varying sizes together for an even brighter arrangement.

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Bake a forest

Christmas decoration ideas - Cookie trees
Melanie Acevedo

Decorate a buffet table with a trio of snowy cookie trees. Make a base frosting by beating together six egg whites and 3¾ cups confectioners' sugar. Spread a thin layer of frosting on a Styrofoam cone, then, working up from the bottom, overlap vanilla wafers (use straight pins to hold them in place until the frosting dries). Use a small sieve to dust each finished tree with confectioners' sugar.

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Build an Indoor Snowman

Christmas decoration ideas - Snowman made out of clementines and peppermint candies
Miki Duisterhof

Use the same frosting for snowman decorations made from oranges or clementines. Stack the fruit, holding the pieces together with toothpicks. Add cloves for eyes, peppermint sticks for arms and a nose, licorice for a scarf. The hat is a vanilla wafer and peppermints layered with frosting.

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Make an All-Purpose Display

Christmas decoration ideas - candle mantel
Dana Gallagher

Streamline seasonal decorating with a mantelpiece tableau that can take you from Thanksgiving to New Year's. Mix various ivory and pure white candles. If setting up the display for Thanksgiving, tuck wheat around the candles' bases, adding walnuts here and there. Later, replace with greenery.

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Prop Up Some Art

Christmas decoration ideas - Blank art canvases wrapped with ribbon
Lucas Allen

Blank canvases in assorted shapes make an artful (ha!) mantelpiece display when wrapped with cheerful ribbons.

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Band Together

Christmas decoration ideas - rubber band ball ornaments
Lucas Allen

Make "ornaments" by wrapping rubber bands in a multitude of colors to form balls (maybe you have a few of these started?). Tie on a bit of ribbon and cord and suspend in your windows.

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Take a Cookie-Cutter Approach

Christmas decoration ideas - Cookie-cutter sun catchers
Lucas Allen

These unique window decorations take just minutes to make. String tin cookie cutters of assorted shapes—such as angels, bells, and stars—on pretty ribbons, then tack them to the window casing.

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Display Your Cards

Christmas decoration ideas - Give Greetings the Gallery Treatment
David Prince

Why tuck away your greeting cards when you can display them beautifully for all to see in your home? With some greenery from outside, attach ribbons to a branch and then hang your cards using a pretty binder clip or safety pin. This project can be done with kids as an afternoon activity leading up to the holiday.

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Sparkly Ornament Display

Christmas decoration ideas - Antique ball ornaments on a cake stand platter
Melanie Acevedo

Place vintage ornaments on a cake stand nested with leaves for a stunningly simple centerpiece.

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Monochromatic Color Palette

Christmas decoration ideas - tree with candy
Annie Schlechter

Spare can be beautiful: Decorate a small, artificial white tree with objects that share a color scheme―say, candy canes, peppermints, and red bows―and place it on a side table or a coffee table.

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Front Door Flair

Christmas decoration ideas - jingle bells on door
Lucas Allen

Let visitors jingle all the way into your home: Tie big silver bells to the front doorknob with festive ribbon.

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Mix and Match Centerpiece

Centerpiece with clementines and peppermint balls in glass jar
Miki Duisterhof

A five-second centerpiece: Mix clementines or oranges and peppermint balls in a single glass compote (or a grouping of three).

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Wintery Mix

Christmas decoration ideas - Window ledge with holiday decorations
Annie Schlechter

A window ledge allows for plenty of decorating opportunities. Pine boughs look charming in a large vase, while white starfish can create a feeling of snowy weather even if flakes aren't falling from the sky.

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Modern Mobile Chandelier

Christmas decoration ideas - Wooden quilting hoops hung as a mobile
Lucas Allen

Use wooden quilting hoops to create a mobile that floats over a table like a weightless chandelier. Turn the inner ring 180 degrees and wood-glue it to the outer ring at the top. Choose various sizes and hang the spheres at different lengths with clear fishing line and thumbtacks.

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Indoor Topiaries

Christmas decoration ideas - Twinkling topiaries next to a fireplace
Lucas Allen

Light up a room with twinkling topiaries (they look especially magical flanking a fireplace). Buy them ready-made, or insert five-foot-tall bamboo plant stakes around the perimeter of a potted evergreen, tie them at the top with florist wire, then twine white lights all around.

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An Arrangement of Silver Bells

Christmas decoration ideas - Brandy snifter filled with silver bells
Lucas Allen

Add a little sparkling style to your dining room table by filling a snifter to the brim with an array of shiny silver bells.

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Cast the Perfect Glow

Christmas decoration ideas - A mantel with tealights in frosted-glass vases
Lucas Allen

To create soft, flickering light for a mantel or a table in a dark corner, group inexpensive frosted-glass vases of different sizes, add tealights, and enjoy the glow.

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Light the Way

Christmas decoration ideas - Banister decorated with feathers and fairy lights
Lucas Allen

Create a heavenly stairway by stringing a banister with fairy lights entwined with a length of feather trim. Either twirl the swag around the banister or attach it every few inches or so with ribbon or clear fishing line.

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Decorate with Holiday Cards

Christmas decoration ideas - Holiday cards display on a mantel
Annie Schlechter

Up on the mantel, collect your family's holiday picture cards from previous years and clothespin them to a long, slim stick suspended between two vases. Put them in chronological order and, if you want, date the pins.

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Light it Right

Christmas decoration ideas - Holiday lights coiled in bottomless hurricane lamps
Annie Schlechter

When coiled in bottomless hurricane lamps, strands of holiday lights make a glowing addition to a mantel or a sideboard. Run both the socket and plug ends of each strand out from underneath its cylinder, connect the cords to one another, and insert the last plug into a wall outlet.

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Drape Lush and Natural Greenery

Christmas decoration ideas - Garland on a banister
Melanie Acevedo

A staircase looks lovely with a garland of greenery. Easier than looping it around and around: Lay evergreen on top of the banister, fasten in place with floral wire, and wrap with extra-wide ribbon.

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