Create a happy homemade holiday

(BPT) – One of the best ways to kick off the holiday season is to decorate. And while it’s easy to load your cart with beautiful decor from your favorite store, Christmas is more personal when decorations are homemade.

No time you say? Between planning dinners for the family and throwing cocktail parties for friends, it can be overwhelming. But it is possible to survive it (and enjoy it) by keeping everything simple. This season, let your creative instincts shine through as you watch your mantels, stairwells, and tables come to holiday life, with ideas like these:

Create a magical mantle

For most families, the living room is where gifts are exchanged, holiday movies are enjoyed and stories are shared gathered by the fireplace – a major focal point in the room. Give this cozy centerpiece a warm new look by creating a decorative display for your mantel.

Draping a festive garland is one way to achieve a distinctive display. Do-it-yourself banners and garland have become increasingly popular as a great way to personalize your decor.

To make your own, start with a heavy fabric, like burlap or the kind used for upholstery, and cut enough pennants for your favorite holiday saying, like “Let it Snow.” Then using a snowflake stencil, spray paint the pattern with a silver color. Krylon Metallic Brilliant Silver, for example, works very well on fabric. Spray paint chipboard letters in a bright white. Once everything dries, spell out your message, one letter per pennant, and adhere the letters. Adorn the banner with plastic snowflakes and holly sprigs to finalize the festive look.

Trim a tree like a pro

The Christmas tree is another major focal point in your living room during the holidays. If you’re tired of the same old display year after year, give the tree a fresh look by changing up the ornaments and adding a theme.

Start by choosing a specific color scheme, such as red and gold. Don’t have enough decorations to match your new theme? It’s easy and affordable to create your own by using items already around the house. For example, use bulbs from an old string of lights to create a whimsical decoration. Remove bulbs from the strand and spritz the inside of the bulb with Krylon ColorMaster Paint + Primer spray paint in cherry red, emerald green and global blue. Roll the bulb around to distribute the paint for a beautiful translucent look. Add a little glitz with Krylon Glitter Spray in resplendent red, glamorous green and magical multicolor to the outside of the bulb for a festive look, and top off with your favorite embellishments like ribbon or bells. You can even spray paint old ornaments so they fit into your new color scheme.

Once your new decor is complete, hang ornaments and lights on your tree before displaying it for the whole family to enjoy. 

Add elegant table toppers

If you are hosting get-togethers for family and friends, add a sparkle to your table. Not sure where to start? First, choose two or three colors. Select a table cloth, table runner or placemats in your color palette and consider the arrangement for the middle of the table. Try replacing the traditional red and green with gold and silver accessories – candles, napkin rings, small figures in the plates and other decorative accents. Include candles so the flickering flames can create a warm atmosphere. Even casually scattered pine cones, fir branches, red roses or poinsettias will add a special touch on the table.

It’s easy to make your fine china the highlight of the dinner; but this year, try making your placemats the conversation starter by utilizing antique sheet music – which can be found at old book stores or simply printed at home. These sheets will make for a chic and unconventional base for any place setting.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be a stressful time of year, with a little effort and creativity you can turn take your holiday decor from ho-hum to homey in no time. More information and additional project ideas can be found at