I don’t do red and green. Sorry – even though they are complementary on the color wheel, you will not see that pair hanging in my home. What you will see are crisp fresh colors that carry past Christmas, on to New Year’s and into spring. What can I say – I’m practical. I know there must be plenty like you out there – those that take the decorating risk and shy away from traditional patterns and create their own spaces – regardless of what Target, Kohls and Bed, Bath and Beyond are telling you to do. Just take a look at the CB2 catalog and you will see the alternatives to tradition that fall off the pages of this repository of fun décor. Their Christmas section shines with peace signs, disco balls, bird candle holders and recycled ornaments.
With that being said – what other alternatives are there when most television and emails advertisements still push the traditional colors and decorating ideas? What’s a creative person to do? First – stop and think. What colors do you like? What can you live with and what makes you sick of it in less than 24 hours? Do you even celebrate the holidays? Is New Year’s more important? So step back and ponder these questions before you bring out the glitter and get to work.
If you’re like me you probably shy away from plaid; instead choose citrusy colors that look like a party just waiting to happen, yet at the same time welcome the longer days to come as spring approaches. Apple green, tangerine orange and lemon yellow are bright, fresh, clean and work any time of year. Use it in throws, accent pillows, felt balls or floor pillows. Next add lighting. Votive candles placed in mason jars or what was formally a pasta jar make great vases that you don’t have to worry about. I place these in front of the fireplace, along the walkway in the front yard and on the outside terrace to add a bit of glam on a cold night. If you can’t get the wax out of there once the candle is out-no worries, just add another candle right on the top of the old one.
The whole tree thing leaves me in a quandary every year. I have no interest in the traditional pine so I opt for trees that would not normally be used for this time of year. A kumquat tree has its very own ornaments made from nature. Bring this in the house for no more than a week and add a string of white lights and you have a perfect tree. I have also seen wall decal trees, however I find those a bit…well…flat, but still an option none the less and there are plenty to choose from. Here’s one from Allposters that looks exactly like the 3-dimensional kind but doesn’t need to be watered. You can also use a small ladder painted white and drape garlands, ornaments and lights from its rungs. Ladders make placing presents uncomplicated – simply deposit them under the ladder and they don’t spread out onto your floor just asking to be kicked, stepped on or trampled by the dog. Another idea is to paint found branches in gloss white and set them in a large clear vase. Hang ornaments and lights and you have a delicate, ethereal homage to the outside that can easily carry over into summer. Speaking of garlands…I love these. They can be nearly any shape, color, pattern or theme. If you absolutely positively need to get your red and green in then this is the way to do it and you get to keep it minimal. Or…use other colors that blend and unify such as blue and orange, light gray and yellow, aqua and tangerine. Create the banner from felt, fabric or paper and connect them together on a ribbon, a piece of string or wire.
Finally, create a space welcome to visitors by hanging lights from trees in the front, placing candles by the door, having mulled wine simmering on the stove and some Billie Holliday playing on Pandora.