"At the end of the year, we tend not to wrap every ornament when we put our decorations away," says designer Debbie Travis. No kidding. Instead, we snatch them from the tree, the door, wherever, and toss them in a box destined for the basement or a closet. Here's what you need to do now: "Empty it all on the living room floor," says Debbie, "then find everything that's torn or cracked, and find all the balls that are chipped, and chuck 'em out." Why, specifically?
"We tend to forget how much stuff we already have," says Debbie. She talks about sprigs and sprays, leftovers from arrangements of yore. Toss any broken bits, but keep complete ones even if they're different colours and styles—a coat of spray paint in a single colour can make those pieces seem like part of the same eclectic mix. Tie them with a piece of twine and they can be hung on the front door, or, placed in a vase, they could bring the holiday spirit to a coffee table, console or countertop.
Once you've cleaned out your collection, you should be left with decorations that have nostalgic memories. You should also be able to identify a decor theme. Over the years you may have kept and collected glass balls over fabric covered ones; transparent stars and icicles might outnumber wooden animals and elves ... so you're more modern than traditional. (Debbie's new holiday collection, available at Canadian Tire, includes 6 Christmas decor themes; you'll find your personality match in one of them.) No matter what theme evolves, now you can fill in the gaps with what you need — more greenery for a wreath or balls for the tree maybe?
"You can have fun with the season and decorating if you give yourself time," says Debbie. "Just do a project every weekend before Christmas so you don't get overwhelmed." Bingeing and purging from last year's stash might take a weekend. Try these decorating plans for three more.
Plan your centrepiece
"You want to create the wow factor for when people walk in," says Debbie, but you have to take into account how you're going to use the space. If you're having a sit-down turkey dinner for example, your centrepiece needs to be small enough not to interfere with the carving and the side dishes, or able to be moved to a sideboard when the time comes.
Debbie suggests pulling together all the glass flower vases you've accumulated over the year and buying lengths of lighted ribbon (the kind with a small battery pack and available at Canadian Tire). Group the vases together, tie the ribbon around the outside or place inside, then put pretty ornaments inside. "You don't need a lot of ornaments on the tree," says Debbie. So you may find you have more ornaments than you can use, but ones you don't want to give away. "Use them throughout the house," Debbie says. Covered glass cake plates of differing heights are also an excellent way to create a centrepiece display of treasured ornaments.