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From the Extension: Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Decorating your home for the holidays helps to create positive memories.  Holiday decorations also help to make the home comfortable, energizing and uplifting. Remember to start early, take things slow and break down decorating into smaller tasks. Take time to celebrate this joyous, magical and special occasion with your family and friends.

DECKING THE HALLS

1. Incorporate some of the following greenery and flowers used for holiday decorating:

Greenery

  • Boxwood
  • Juniper
  • Noble fir
  • Pine
  • Magnolia
  • Mistletoe

Flowers or flowering plants

  • Chrysanthemums
  • Orchids
  • Christmas Rose
  • Red and white roses
  • Amaryllis
  • Paper Whites
  • Christmas Cactus

2. Keep your holiday foliage fresh and vibrant throughout the season:

  • Use clean, sharp cutters to cut branches and immediately put cut ends into water until ready to use.
  • Crush the ends of woody stems to allow the cutting to take in more water.
  • Keep greenery out of sunlight.
  • Immerse greenery in water overnight before arranging. This allows the cuttings to absorb the maximum amount of moisture.
  • Allow the foliage to dry and then spray it with an anti-transparent to help seal in moisture. Note: Do not use anti-transparent on juniper berries, cedar or blue spruce. The product can damage the wax coating that gives these plants their distinctive color.
  • Keep completed wreaths, garlands and arrangements in a cool location until use.
  • Display fresh greenery and fruits out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources.
  • Plan to replace dry or wilted greenery and shriveled fruits throughout the holiday season.

3. Keep safety in mind:

  • Some popular plants used in holiday decorating can present poisoning hazards for small children or pets. Poisonous berries are found on hollies, yews, mistletoe and Jerusalem cherry. The pearly white berries of mistletoe are particularly toxic. Keep all these plants out of the reach of children and curious pets.
  • Dried evergreens can become flammable when in close contact with a heat source, such as a candle flame or fireplace. Make sure wreaths, roping and garlands are as fresh as possible. Check needles by bending them. They should be flexible and not break. Avoid using greenery that is shedding needles or that has brown, dry tips.

4. Accentuate with holiday accessories and other decor items:

  • Angels
  • Animals
  • Bathroom linens
  • Bells
  • Blankets and throws
  • Bows
  • Holiday serving bowls
  • Cake stands
  • Candles
  • Candle Holders and votives
  • Candy Canes
  • Christmas Trees
  • Garland
  • Gift wrapping paper
  • Gingerbread house
  • Holiday dishes
  • Holiday linens
  • Holiday pillows
  • Kitchen towels
  • Lights, indoor and out
  • Nativity scenes
  • Nutcrackers
  • Ornaments
  • Pillows
  • Pinecones
  • Reindeer
  • Ribbon
  • Rugs
  • Santa Clauses
  • Sleigh
  • Snow
  • Snowflakes
  • Snow globes
  • Snowmen
  • Stockings
  • Tinsel
  • Trays
  • Wreaths

5. Remember every space, and don’t forget the finishing touches:

The main focal points to decorate are the family room, front porch, entrance areas, fireplace mantel, windows and stairs. Do not forget to add holiday decorating touches to your bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom.

  • Intermingle holiday decorations with year-round home decorations.
  • Add color by wrapping packages with festive wrapping paper and bows and adding embellishments.
  • Display ornaments in various containers.
  • Place greenery in containers, urns, buckets and pots.
  • Add colorful fruits to containers.
  • Place candies in jars.
  • Add holiday pillows to your furniture inside and outside your home.
  • Add holiday towels to your kitchen and bathroom.
  • Change out your regular pillows and throw on your sofa or bed to holiday ones.
  • Candles help to add ambience and atmosphere. They also kill odors, and they add a finishing touch to any room.
  • Add holiday paintings and prints to décor.
  • Play holiday music.
  • Use beautiful holiday linens, dishes and serving pieces adorned with bows and greenery.
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