Irene Mattingley, VIP Mortgage Inc. Submitted By Irene Mattingley, VIP Mortgage Inc.,


Home Decorating for the Holidays

"Are you all ready for the holidays?" is a frequently asked question at this time of year. While its often said in reference to gift shopping, we also think of our home decorating plans. You may already have a general concept for your holiday decorations. Or perhaps you are like many others who haven't quite figured it out and are looking for a few more ideas. This may help:

Choose a Theme By developing a master plan, you should avoid a haphazard look. You could create a theme such as "fall harvest" or "winter wonderland."

Keep It Simple... or Not Your budget, imagination and available time will determine whether you take a basic approach to your decorations or do something more complex. Obviously, you don't need to do something entirely different every year. A few key changes should be enough to "keep it interesting."

Watch the Budget You can create an appealing indoor and outdoor display and still be budget conscious by shopping for lights, ornaments and other items at discount outlets. If you're concerned about your utility bill, LED lights are more energy efficient than regular light bulbs.

Follow Traditions If you haven't done so yet, began an annual tradition. Add a turkey figurine that will hold family members "Giving thanks" messages, and/or create special handmade ornaments for the Christmas tree.

Make it a Family Project Have everyone participate. For example, you could have the kids decorate one of the trees or create their own wreath. There are a variety of holiday crafts that can enhance your decorations.

Share Your Masterpiece It's always nice to let others see how you have decorated. Perhaps you can help coordinate a block party, during which neighbors tour each others homes and share the holiday spirit.

Thanksgiving Decorations There are a variety of options for Thanksgiving. Many people ignore outdoor decorations, but consider the possibilities: white and orange lights strung around the front door; a porch display with a bale of hay, pumpkins, straw broom, Indian corn and gourd basket; scarecrow leading a wagon or wheelbarrow full of fall leaves; door wreath made with pine cones, dried leaves and tree branch twigs; and a Thanksgiving flag or banner.

Your indoor scene might include an entryway table display of dried leaves, pumpkin, pine cones and other fall items; streamers of autumn leaves (natural or silk); a framed picture of the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Massachusetts; the traditional cornucopia that can be arranged on the dining table or used as a wall decoration; basket of gourds; children's Thanksgiving illustrations; patchwork quilt of "Why I'm Grateful" signs, made of poster board, yarn (to connect pieces), and other inexpensive supplies; and a turkey or other centerpiece to hold family members and guests giving thanks notes.

Christmas Decorations The typical outdoor decorations include a multitude of outdoor lights. Here are a few other ideas: a door wreath made from citrus fruits or dried flowers, snowman riding a sled or tricycle, Santa Claus figure relaxing on a mini park bench or in a wagon or sleigh, giant ornaments hanging from trees and placed in a birdbath, candy canes arranged along the front walkway, and large dolls or mannequins dressed as carolers.

Your indoor scenery can feature trees in several rooms, each with a different theme, including one with ornaments selected by your children; a hanging wall tree in the front room; window display of Santa's workshop with a Santa Claus and wooden toys; one or more advent calendars; framed antique ornaments; a collage of your children's school artwork; group of ornaments hung from the ceiling; and collections of your past Christmas cards, silver bells, Santa figurines, holiday snow globes, and nutcrackers displayed throughout the house.

You also may want to celebrate Kwanza (December 26-January 1, 2018), with special displays, including the "Mishumaa Saba, the Kwanza decoration of Seven Candles; the Mkeka, a traditional African placemat constructed of straw or cloth; and the Vibunzi, where a stalk of corn for each child in the family is displayed to represent his/her importance.

Of course, if you are recognizing Hanukkah, a highlight of this eight-day Jewish holiday is the Menorah, which has nine branches for candles or oil-based light. Other decorations include the Star of David and special banners and lights.

What about New Years? You can finish off your holiday season decorations with a New Year wish wreath; a 2017-18 time capsule; Happy New Year signs; and a shelf display of noisemakers, streamers, confetti and other festive pieces.

Visit, and for additional inspiration.