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Christopher Lowell
  • Christopher Lowell

    Interior designer and TV host Christopher Lowell offers simple, fun holiday decor tips.

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    Glass cylinders, cellophane, and twinkle lights brighten a holiday tablescape.

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    Lit cylinders work in concert to add a romantic glow.

  • holiday-article_wreath-revised

    A wire wreath frame is wrapped with twinkle lights and marabou.

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    A string of white lights is threaded through an acrylic tube to create a sparkling curtain rod.

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A string of white lights is threaded through an acrylic tube to create a sparkling curtain rod.


"Keep decorating as stress-free and simple as possible during an already hectic time." ~ Christopher Lowell

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  • Christopher Lowell's Crafty Holiday Lighting Ideas

    'Tis the season to keep holiday decorating simple.

    by Christopher Lowell

    While a traditional holiday will always have a place in our hearts and homes, once in a while it’s fun to try a different approach. Something fresh, modern, and unexpected can brighten the season without stepping on ceremony. Of course, the goal is always to keep decorating as stress-free and simple as possible during an already hectic time. These holiday lighting tips will provide you with fun, simple, new ways of decorating.


    Unexpected Light Sources

    In my book, The Hassle-Free Host, we focus on using clear containers in a variety of ways. They can become such a valuable and inexpensive staple to your entertaining inventory. Well, here’s another idea just to prove how indispensable clear containers really are: Add white twinkle lights to containers for a romantic glow.

    • Cellophane-Filled Containers: The clear containers are so simple. Printed cellophane (available from most craft stores or in wrapping paper aisles of other stores) is crumpled together with a string of white twinkle lights. They’re then packed into a clear glass cylinder—leaving the prong end of the cord to feed over the rim of the container and long enough to plug in below the table. The printed cellophane helps to camouflage the white electrical cord. When the bulbs are lit, it helps to diffuse and refract the light for an enchanting ambiance.
    • Frosted Containers: If you think that’s easy, the frosted containers are even simpler. Since the containers are already opaque, simply pack them with strands of white twinkle lights and you’re good to go.

    These versatile columns of light can then be used as lifts and levels to support a variety of serving dishes of your choice. We advise placing something warm on them, as they can heat up. With the addition of clear floral globes, they can be used as centerpiece holders to add height and interest to any surface they adorn. On their own, the lit cylinders can be inverted with the twinkle lights inside and simply clustered together, at various heights, to create glowing tableaus anywhere in the room where an outlet is handy.


    Lighting up Your Windows

    Next, let’s take the same twinkle lights a step further, as a background focal point. We’ve replaced the standard curtain rod with a 1 ¾-inch acrylic tube. These are available in 6- and 8-foot lengths from most building outlets or plastic supply stores and are easily cut with a standard handsaw. A string of white lights is then threaded through the tube from one end. Once the drapes are back onto the tube, the additional cord simply hides behind the fabric on its way down to the outlet.

    To create a hip, modern window wreath, we simply took a 30-inch wire wreath frame and wrapped it with several strands of the same twinkle lights. Then, we wrapped 2 to 3 yards of inexpensive marabou feather boas, which available in most notion sections of your local fabric store. Although it may look complicated, the entire window treatment can be done in less than an hour. And that’s the whole point--although it’ll be our little secret!