Monday, December 12, 2011

My Favorite 15-Minute Holiday Decorations

When your home is for sale during the holiday season, some festive touches make it more attractive to buyers. But you don’t want to spend boatloads of money or time decorating. Who has an excess of either at this time of year?

Here are my suggestions for some super fast, super easy, super frugal holiday decorations.

Grab Some Greenery

Find the prettiest containers you have and fill them with whatever is fresh and green. Places that sell Christmas trees are usually happy to give you the discarded prunnings. If you have any kind of property around your home, chances are there is shrubbery suitable for bringing indoors.

Some possibilities are the usual evergreen clippings, holly, mountain laurel, ivy, nandina, yucca, viburnum, magnolia, and ligustrum.


Shop your house and garage and garden shed  for containers –  baskets, vases, crocks, wastebaskets, ice buckets, and pails of any kind can answer the call.

If their style isn’t in keeping with the season, give them a paper or fabric gift wrap, or a quick coat of paint.

You can get creative with this. If all the trees are bare, branches painted white, gold, or silver are a fine substitute for greenery.

The twigs in this photo  I painted white to use as placeholders to fill flower pots that are empty all winter. 

Glue Some Sticks Together

Give me some sticks and some glue and I will give you a trellis, a basket, a fence, a  star, or a tabletop Christmas tree.

I gravitate towards the shiny stuff at Christmas, and if it doesn’t move, I’m likely to hit it with metallic spray paint. But rustic sticks look charming in their everyday color.

I made the stick star from five straight branches of equal length. You could make a similar one using chopsticks, skewers, or stir sticks. I made the tree from a handful of sticks I cut into graduated pieces glued on a single "tree trunk."


Once the materials are in hand, fifteen minutes! If you want to spend more time, you can get fancy and decorate these stick sculptures with small ornaments, or make a bunch of them to cluster or scatter about. If your style is shabby chic, a twiggy star is a natural for your holiday decor. Have fun and glam it up with beads and baubles!

Under my stick star on the fireplace breast, I placed a string of blue lights on the mantel, and softened the look with a length of blue tulle

Besides sticks, there are plenty of sources for frugal finishing touches in nature. Items from outdoors look marvelous indoors at holiday time. I’m thinking of hydrangeas, holly berries, nuts, acorns, pinecones, moss, wax myrtle berries and nandina berries. Don’t forget green apples, or lemons, limes and kumquats.

Wrap Up a Garland Wreath

Start with almost any kind of wreath form. It could be straw, foam, vines, wire, or plywood.

Step one: Attach a wire loop around it for hanging.

Step two: wrap with a glitzy, tinsely garland from the dollar store.

Step three: add a bow on top or bottom, or a ribbon wrapped around as I did, and you are done.

I used a plastic suction cup to hang this garland wreath on the pane of a French door. If you have a metal front door, look for a magnetic hook to hang a wreath on it.

There are other alternatives, including the old fishing-line-thumbtacked-to-the-top-edge-of-the-door trick. Or, buy a decorative metal hook that fits over your door's top edge. 

Collect a Bunch of Ornaments



It’s a fast, elegant, and inexpensive decorating trick. Just heap an attractive bowl with simple holiday glass or plastic tree-trimming balls.   

If you don’t have excess ornaments, the dollar store is your friend. Now’s the time to press that glass bowl, tall transparent vases, hurricane chimneys, or wooden trough into service. Pairs of matching see-through vessels are perfect on a mantel or long table.

Silver paint turned this old twig basket into something I use every December.

Having a color scheme helps keep things from being too distracting. Save your heirloom, pricey and delicate ornaments, because some people do get sticky fingers around small objects. Sad but true, thievery is a problem in homes on a home tour.                  

It doesn't take endless days and countless dollars to get your home on the market open-house-ready at Christmastime. Try my ideas, look around, be inventive, and keep it simple.

Need more sensible ideas and encouragement for staging your home? Download my ebook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar, now and discover how easy it is to make your home the one that people want to come back to for a second visit!

I've linked this post to a Holiday Linky Party Songbird where you'll see other Christmas decoration ideas.

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