Christmas has always been a time of tradition and nostalgia for our family. I relish the memories that come flowing back when I bring out cherished decorations that have been a part of our Christmases since our grown children were young. That being said, I do get bored with the same old decor every season. So, to keep my holiday decorating fresh, every year I like to add a “few” new elements to my decor. Also, I like to arrange some of my existing items in different ways. Taking pictures of the rooms once I’ve finished decorating the whole house really helps with this process. These photos serve as a visual reminder of where I placed everything last year. And they give me an opportunity to analyze (or agonize over) the decorations to determine how my designs may be refined and/or improved. To show how this process works, I thought I’d compare the way I decorated a couple of things in my home in 2017 and 2019.
We have always had a large real tree that sits in the middle of our front hall. It is often wonky, droopy, or just weirdly shaped. It is decorated like a crazy quilt with all the homemade and family ornaments we have collected over the years. And it is frankly, wonderful.
However, several years ago, I thought it would be fun to have an additional tree in our family room that I could design with a decorator’s eye. Since I didn’t want to deal with any more falling needles, I purchased an artificial tree. Most of my Christmas decor is red. So, it made sense for the color scheme of my “decorator” tree to be red as well.
The tree turned out quite well, but a few years later, I decided I would like to add some cream and black elements to the decoration. I used most of the ornaments and the poinsettias from the earlier version. However, the black and cream buffalo plaid ribbon I added, showed up much better on the tree than the black and red ribbon I used on the previous tree.
As you can see from the close-ups, The other major change is the addition of the over-sized black and white check balls and plaid houses. Both these ornaments are cardboard and were not too expensive, but because of their scale, they really make a statement.
The final change I implemented with this tree was to use more than one type of wired ribbon. In addition to the black and white buffalo check ribbon, I applied a red velvet wired ribbon. The red velvet ribbon provides another texture and more volume, making the tree look fuller and lusher.
While I like both trees, I think that the later version is better because of the impact of the larger ornaments and the contrast of the black and white colors.
Another example of how my Christmas decorations evolve from year to year is the way I decorate my dining table and buffet.
When I looked back at my dining room from 2017, I felt that the table was a bit too busy and the buffet looked a little too bare. So, when I decorated my dining room in 2019, I knew I wanted to add more items to the buffet arrangement and subtract some from the table.
As you can see in this comparison, I used the same ornament ball wreaths and the red leaf tabletop tree on both of the buffets. However, in the latter version, I added some faux evergreens, as well as a symmetrical grouping of Christmas balls.
The greens ground the decor pieces add a “natural” element that I feel was sorely needed. It’s hard to find evergreen sprays that look convincingly real but I think that mixing types of greens (short and long needles) really helps to sell the look. After situating the pine on the buffet, I stood back to assess, but I still felt the display looked unfinished.
I thought about placing some Christmas ball ornaments in amongst the greenery, however, when I tried that, the ornaments seemed a bit lost amongst the pines. It wasn’t until I placed the ornaments on top of different sized brass candlesticks that I was satisfied with the arrangement. Elevating the balls gave them presence and brought the design together.
With the buffet’s added elements, I felt I needed to simplify the table decor to balance the design. So, instead of the gold trees, scattered ornaments, and red pillar candles, I chose to place a footed compote filled with ornaments in the center of the table. I then flanked the centerpiece with another pair of brass candlesticks that relate to the candlesticks on the buffet. I think it is easy to go overboard with Christmas decorations, but I feel that this iteration of my dining room decor hits just the right note.
Looking at last year’s pics and considering the pandemic, I will probably not add much to my Christmas decorations this year, but I will definitely continue to move things around. I already have plans to look for a nicer red runner for my table, and I think I might add some sprigs of greenery to the compote.
I just can’t help myself!
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