Five decor ideas to brighten your home for the holidays

Garland makes railings, bannisters, doors and mantles festive.

Garland makes railings, bannisters, doors and mantles festive.

Over the years of decorating my home for the holidays, I have gone through more than a few different color combinations and themes. Some years, the tree was dressed in tried and true red and green with multi-colored lights, other years, the tree was covered in only silver and gold ornaments and paired with white lights.

I used to really try hard to coordinate the theme and not deviate from it. Once I had kids though, a lot about the way I decorated for Christmas changed, and all for the better. I let go of focusing on a theme and instead focused on the fun moments. There was such freedom in this! We started new traditions of baking cookies, hunting for the perfect tree, setting the lights up outside together (the me before kids would have never put an inflatable penguin in the front yard), and crafting some of our own decorations. Now, the Christmas tree is a total mix of all things red and green and silver and gold, with some homemade and some store-bought.

In years past, I wrote articles on holiday projects with the kids: the advent calendar, DIY snow globes, crafting paper garlands from old book pages and making wreaths and centerpieces. It’s been so fun to pull those things out of the box each year and find new ways to incorporate them into festive little vignettes around the house. This year, I’m rounding up my favorite ways to decorate for the holidays, and throwing in a couple of new DIY ideas as well.

1. Evergreen garlands

I prefer the fresh garland to the faux, and Costco has the best deal on it, but you’ll need to hurry and grab it before it’s gone! Hang it on your railing outside or the banister indoors, drape it over your mantle or frame your doors with it. Add lights, ornaments, and decorative garlands on top. This year I hung some over the arch between my living and dining rooms and added a wood bead garland to enhance its natural beauty.

2. Votives and candlesticks

Vintage brass candlesticks are my absolute favorite. They are pretty easy to find at second-hand and vintage shops, and are usually inexpensive. Fit them with tapers in assorted colors and textures from World Market and Michaels and arrange them randomly on your dining table, buffet or coffee table for a simple, elegant festive feel. Oh, and don’t forget the votive candles on your side tables and even in your bathroom! The more, the merrier!

Vintage candlesticks with festive tapers make a simple statement.

Vintage candlesticks with festive tapers make a simple statement.

3. Little trees

Little bottlebrush trees, wooden trees, or really any kind of decorative trees easily make up a pretty little scene when grouped together with a couple of little houses or nestled in with your candlestick assortment. Find these at JoAnn or Michaels. (Both of them have holiday decor deeply discounted right now!)

Little trees and framed prints make for fun little scenes.

Little trees and framed prints make for fun little scenes.

4. Framed snowy scenes

This year I was inspired by all of our early snowfall and wanted to capture that indoors. I found free stock photos of snowy trees on Canva and printed them to the approximate size of several vintage brass frames I already had, and trimmed them to fit. I scatter them around the living room and love the wintry vibe they add. If you don’t have a Canva account, try or start a free trial with Shutterstock.

Votives warm up a holiday display.

Votives warm up a holiday display.

5. Wreaths in the window

I’ve always loved the way a wreath looks hanging in the window and decided this was my year to add them. I found thin, modern faux boxwood wreaths at Michaels, hung them up with white ribbon trimmed with gold and suspended some of my favorite ornaments in the middle of each. They were so easy to put together, and you only need one hanging in each of your street-facing windows for passers-by to enjoy them! Next year, I’ll add a string of battery-operated dew drop lights to each one for more visibility.

Betsy Kornelis is a local decorator. Find her at

This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: Five decor ideas to brighten your home for the holidays

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