I think holiday decorating is a gene mutation in North Americans. Really, who can resist suspending a bough of wreaths or some bells on a front door? Actually, the reindeer pulling sleigh with a fat Santa all glittery and brightly lit is one of the more common (and ho-hum) modern Christmas decorations. Holiday decor can be of a rich traditional pleasant-to-the -eye experience instead of a cheap commercial aberration.
Tables and Shelves
Usually a table is warmed up with some food or delectable treats apropos to the holiday. A wire basket filled with apples and some velvet ribbon weaved around the handle will do nicely for a centerpiece. For a Christmas holiday, freshen the table with a white tablecloth and bright red cyclamens. On the table top of a home office, an added amaryllis adds some holiday cheer. Silver ornaments stand out on a bed of greenery atop any table. Different sized and colored candles in glass, or gold decorated containers are very cozy holiday decorations for the home table tops.
When overnight guests are included in the holiday plans, a nice gift is to put a Santa night light in a little sleigh on top of the dresser in the guest room. This can be done tastefully and artfully with an added ribbon or bow. If the room has an empty shelf, you can put some festive bath towels and a soap bar on it for the guest. A child may enjoy some old-fashioned hardcover Christmas books. A beautiful glass bluebird in a nest may also spread some merriment. Greeting cards arranged on a shelf are quite festive, and often a conversation arises from an interest in the card sender. A nice cranberry strand (imitation or not) laying in front of the cards looks wonderful. Another shelf display is decorated abalone shells. They are already gorgeous, but a string of pearl beads or gold rope draped around them says Christmas.
A bathroom counter top can be decorated easily with wrapped bar soaps. The wrapping and bows or ribbon can just be folded over the bar so the ends aren't wrapped (like a small sheet of giftwrap over a bar). The wrapped soap can lay on a bed of sage on a glass dish. Other greenery can be used, or a nice basket.
Lastly, for a table or counter top, uniquely shaped glass bottles that you have decorated with paint or gold or silver outliner, or whatever you deem to make a lovely candleholder, are always an added attraction.
Most doors are plain and they are easily decorated, especially the handles. A fun to make door hanger is this decoration. Shape a cone out of newspaper or giftwrap and glue it together. Then tuck an angel, star, reindeer, cranberries, pine cones or some other holiday ornaments into it. See what looks good. Then attach some silver garland to the cone and hang it from the door handle. You can add a bell to the outside of the cone if it isn't obnoxious everytime one uses the handle.
Another door handle accent is the Christmas themed stocking. It is probably best for it to remain empty so the handle doesn't become cumbersome to use.
A green wreath that is spread around the door on the door frame with some pine cones and red ribbons are nice indoors or outdoors.
Dried potpourri garlands are thoughtful additions to hang from a bathroom door handle.
Gift cards or family photos on a door give another insight into holiday decorating ideas.
A potted poinsettia on either side of a door is lovely. Of course a welcome mat with holiday touches is always a good idea.
Make a recycled wreath for a colorful door decoration. Using a holly leaf stencil, trace onto old cards and cut out holly shapes. With a glue gun, glue a toothpick onto the backside of each of the leaves to form a 1-inch pick at the "bottom" of each leaf. Take a 10-inch Styrofoam wreath and insert these leaf picks around the shape until it is completely covered, fanning and overlapping them as shown. Cut out more holly leaves as needed to cover the wreath with regifted greetings.
Other Holiday Decorations for the Home
A Christmas tree skirt adds cheerful color to the room where the tree lives. I think the best ones are either homemade or found at second hand stores. The choices are vast, and surely the one that enhances your decorating theme will "speak" to you. They are also useful for protecting the floor be it bare or carpeted.
There's nothing like an old wooden sled or skiis as a holiday scene. A sled could be upright against a wall with a strip of jingle bells and a red bow on it. The skiis could be hung crossed on a wall, depending on the size. Smaller ones could be painted red with some white snowflakes.
If you have any vintage Christmas pins attach them to a wide silk ribbon and lay it on a shelf or counter top for a charming look.
I love wooden figurines that are Christmas Santos. They are unique, traditional, and lovely to behold. Even if you don't live in the Southwest you can find them at flea markets, antique stores or online at reputable dealers.
Christian religious symbols such as the nativity scene range from small table top ones to large outdoor lit up scenes. No matter which is displayed, a beautiful view should be available. For smaller indoor scenes, a real wooden stall for porcelain figures is better than plastic junk. Again, these can be found at not new stores or garage sales so you can have a graceful display.
A classic wooden Noah's Ark set with carved animals can replace the traditional creche. Any folk art that is in season will enhance the home.
So go ahead and allow the decorating gene mutation to show itself this holiday season. Just do it with class and help save the world from unhealthy commercial waste.