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Christmas decorating - how to not just pretty pictures


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I'm going to go all out this year (high hopes, lol).  I'd like to host an open house and I want to actually decorate with something other than some wreaths on the windows hung on Dec 19th :)


Do you have a source you go to for inspiration?

Blogs - not so much pinterest.  I mean, the how to do it is important to me, I am clueless.  Just looking at tons of pictures of beautiful places are nice, but I can't make that happen on my own.


So on that note, I bought four garlands that I want to hang around our sidelights and front door.  How do I mount them so they don't blow around - without using nails.  

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How fun! We host a Christmas bash every year. It's work, but it's fun.


I have a serious love of Christmas décor...my favorite things are wreaths, garlands, and lots of lantern type candle holders. I figure if you've got a great tree, some lights outside, a wreath on the door, and some Christmas stuff through the house, stockings on the mantle, and a TON of candles the house will look great. In my case, I'm handy with a hammer. I have put small nails at the top corners of the door frame. No one sees them but me. I use a wreath hanger to hold my wreaths...an over the door one.


If you want, focus on a theme. Some years I've done poinsettas as a theme. Got ten or twelve at a black Friday sale one year. Had them on the fireplace, the table as a centerpiece, and in the entryway. Last year was reindeer. The year before was snowflakes. I do not go over board at all, just put out different things I've collected.


Focus on making your main table pretty--a cloth, some candles, and maybe a Christmasy centerpiece...for example...I have two tall gold/silver reindeer that I put tail to tail so their heads face the ends of the table. They came from Hobby Lobby a few years ago. I use them in different places every year. I add a couple of black lanterns with candles and add food.


After that, make sure the front door has a great wreath. I also have garland around the door. Lighted.


Then do your mantle or even a coffee table.


Have a decorative and scented candle in each bathroom.


Then add yummy food. If you can hire a knowledgable person to help heat appetizers throughout the time, it is a great help. My son is a chef now, but he started running our kitchen for the Christmas bash several years ago.


Over the years I've collected some Christmas serving plates as well as basic serving pieces.


Do not put too many extra chairs out. I've found people mingle more when they are on their feet.



Have a blast!

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I like to use vintage or antique toys - a little riding horse, alphabet blocks that spell out a sweet message. 

Many of my decorations are family heirlooms or wedding gifts (November wedding).


But you don't have to spend lots of money.


Some of my favorite decorations are sweet child-made snowflakes and paper chains, popcorn garlands with cranberries.

I have cheap dollar store bulbs I put in a clear mixing bowl.

Old cake plates or punch bowls filled with collected pine cones.

Glass jars or mason jars filled with burned out Christmas lights or tiny ornaments.
Stacks of Christmas or old books
Table clothes can be folded and draped as pretty runners sprinkled with pine cones and dollar store ornaments

We host an open house every year. It's so much fun! We have a chili bar and snacks with hot chocolate and cookies, of course. 

Sometimes we do a $10 or less gift exchange or play games. 

Our favorite game is putting 20 small items in a sock (10 for kids). Tie it off and hand out paper and pens. The sock makes its rounds and everyone must try to guess what is in the sock by feel only. :) I buy small prizes like a Christmas tea towel or candle for the adult winners, books, slinkies etc. for kids. 


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