- By Jasmine Chu
- Published 12/23/2011
The festive season is generally the most social time of year for most – December brings a wealth of parties to both attend and arrange.
When it’s your turn to play host, it can be rather nerve wracking to ensure that everything goes just right.
The following guide will give you some excellent tips to make your life easier when entertaining, to add holiday cheer to your decorations and also to cut costs without losing on quality.
Affordable Decorations That Shine Out
The Christmas period is made even more magical with customary lighting and sparkle. You can make all your decorations shine out by working strands of twinkling mini lights into garlands, topiaries and tablescapes.
Another good tip and an easy way to give your holiday decorations a professional look is to stick to a palette of just two or three colours. This always looks smart and it will also make the selection process simple when you’re shopping around.
A fun project to get you in the Christmas spirit is to make a wreath or two yourself, and it’s also a great way to get the kids involved. This is not as hard as many might think – simply buy a plain wreath then embellish it with assorted ornaments, wrapped candies, tinsel, flowers and even children’s toys. Wreaths look lovely both as a table centrepiece or hung on doors and walls.
And if you’re getting bored of a traditional floral centrepiece on the dining table, a charming alternative would be to create a holiday scene featuring gingerbread houses or ceramic Christmas village miniatures. You could simply sprinkle fake snow along the centre of the table, then arrange homes, stores, trees and people to create a focal point that will delight your guests of all ages.
To add a sweet element that evokes a nostalgic vintage era, you might also like to try making gingerbread men as decorations. These can be used as part of a table centrepiece or even hung on the Christmas tree. If this type of sentimental, old-fashioned look is your bag, you can also make hand-strung popcorn or cranberry garlands.
If you prefer stronger colour and cheer, in addition to stringing tinsel in strategic places, a good idea is to hang tissue pom poms from the ceiling – these are very inexpensive and they certainly will boost the party atmosphere in your home.
When it comes to your ceiling lighting, you boring chandelier can be spruced up for the holidays by threading it with an evergreen garland and ribbons or tinsel.
Lastly, flowers add beauty to a room on any occasion. In addition to having flower arrangements on tables, they will really add fragrance and cheer among the greenery on your Christmas tree. A good tip to keep flowers fresh for days is to first clip their ends then insert them into water-filled bubble tubes (available at florist-supply stores).
All in all, with a little creativity your decoration options are nearly endless when it comes to adding festive sparkle, and they needn’t put a major dent in your pocket.
Rent Instead of Buy Tableware
If you’re hosting a dinner party for a large group of friends and family, an alternative to having to buy pricey additional china, glasses and silverware is to rent them instead. This will save you both money and the space of having to store tableware that you rarely use.
While flickering candlelight is beautiful, it is also a safety hazard for small children or pets, who easily knock things over as they rush about. An excellent substitution to put your mind at rest would be to use battery-powered votive and pillar candles for a warm glow without any risk.
A further safety tip if you plan to decorate the your home outdoors with lighting, is to check the packaging when shopping around to ensure that both the lights and their cords are rated safe for exterior use.
No Nasty Surprises
There can be few occurrences that are more disappointing over Christmas than to spend an afternoon carefully unravelling your Christmas lights and stringing them beautifully around the tree, only to switch them on and find they don’t work! To save yourself this frustration, always test the lights before adding them to the tree.
From creative wreaths and tissue pom poms to renting extra tableware instead of buying it, there is a wealth of ways you can add Christmas cheer and dazzle your guests without breaking your bank balance.
About the Author: Jasmine Chu is a decorator and independent retailer of tissue pom poms.