Whether you want to fill your home top to bottom with holiday cheer or add a few festive touches here and there, my advice is the same: Start with a fabulous base. Amazing greenery and show-stealing ribbon are the essential bedrocks of a sensational holiday treatment.
I was working with a customer this week who was starting fresh with her holiday decor. After taking in all the Christmas pageantry at Nell Hill’s, she asked me where to start to get the most from her budget. Simple! I advised her to invest in garland, picks and ribbon, then add all the rest, like ornaments, in the future. You can decorate with these three alone and your home will look beautiful.
For years, I was a greenery snob. You would never, ever catch me using faux fir in my holiday decor. Back then, the fakes looked, well, fake. I started to lose my love for real pine boughs about the time it started to destroy my wood furniture, one sap drip at a time. And all those dry needles all over the floor — ugh! Now the faux greenery we carry looks so real you have to touch it to tell — you can’t believe your eyes.
You can use garland all over your home. One of my favorites is looping it up a bannister. This photo, from my book “O Christmas Tree,” shows how I used ropes of garland to dress up the banister at my home in Atchison, Kan.
You can snake some garland down the center of your dining table, like we did in “O Christmas Tree.” Cut a 6-foot garland in half and use it to decorate your buffet, or thread it through the arms of your dining room chandelier. How do you keep all these strands of garland in place? Cinch them up with zip ties. We go through thousands of zip ties every year. You can find them at any hardware store. Look for the biggest size you can, then trim the unused edges.
Picks come in all shapes and sizes, and feature all types of faux greens, berries, flowers and nuts. They have a finished end, with the other end left unfinished so you can tuck them into a vase, behind a piece of art, into a Christmas tree or any other spot you can imagine.
We used wild looking evergreen picks to create a bouquet of winter branches. The key to making picks or garland look lifelike is to fluff them out, spreading the branches or needles or berries so they take on the form or patterns they would follow in nature.
I love ribbon. Absolutely and completely. I can’t imagine my home dressed for the holidays without using spools and spools. Ribbon adds so much texture and softness. We have so many different types of holiday ribbon this year, from traditional (a spool of our black watch plaid ribbon is going home with me this year) to whimsical to glamorous.
This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at www.nellhills.com