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  • pine

    Greenery (real and faux) adds a natural element to your centerpiece and is the perfect place to nestle ornaments.

  • blue

    For a new twist on holiday decorating, experiment with a new color scheme, such as blue and white, burgundy and sage green, or lime green and raspberry.

  • table

    To add drama to your tabletop display, experiment with varying heights, color combinations, and textures.

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To add drama to your tabletop display, experiment with varying heights, color combinations, and textures.


Super Easy Centerpiece

Looking for an easy-but-elegant centerpiece idea? Elsa Horn of Elsa. Elsa. Elsa. Etc. shares one of her favorites: Start by arranging some pine branches down the center of your table, leaving the longest part sticking straight up. Next hang some wintery or holiday ornaments from the branches. Then string glittery snowflakes on the branches and place one red cardinal at the top perch in the center of the table.

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  • Deck the Halls Differently

    5 Ideas for fresh holiday décor.

    by Margie Monin Dombrowski

    Although predictable, there’s nothing wrong with go-to holiday themes like Santa, reindeer, poinsettia and a red-white-and-green color scheme. But why not interpret this holiday season a little differently with fresh and fabulous non-traditional motifs? Here are five ways to express your holiday style in ways sure to garner compliments.


    1. Repeat Yourself

    Find one motif, color or theme and stick with it, says Elsa Horn, principal designer of Elsa. Elsa. Elsa. Etc. in North Tustin, Calif. Whatever motif you choose, “You must repeat, repeat, repeat,” explains Horn, a designer with experience creating high-end holiday looks. A collection of too many ideas looks careless and cluttered. To create a balanced look, three is the magic number. If your theme is snowflakes, then put three snowflakes each on your wreath, in a floral arrangement, on the mailbox and on the wall. The consistency will tie your look together.


    2. Break with Tradition

    Your holiday theme can be a new twist on a traditional motif, or something you’ve never done before. Consider a variation on the traditional color scheme. Try lime green and raspberry, deep burgundy and sage green, or powder blue and silver. Ribbons, fabrics and ornaments in a new color scheme will give your holiday décor an updated look.

    While a coastal theme isn’t traditionally associated with the holidays, it works beautifully. Horn suggests painting an assortment of beach shells silver for sophisticated seasonal style. Then use hot glue to attach silver ribbons to each shell and use them to decorate your Christmas tree and outdoor trees near your home’s entry. Shells can also dress up a dining table: start with a special tablecloth, add pine boughs and then arrange random groups of shells on clear glass or plastic stands (for height) as the centerpieces. For a guest bathroom, fill apothecary jars with sand and painted shells to continue the theme.


    3. Mingle Real and Fake

    Whimsical elements are a great way to create a fun illusion. “Mix and match real with fake, and it fools the eye,” Horn says. For example, one year instead of using common candy canes, she created an old-fashioned peppermint candy motif. She hung oversized red and white candy ornaments from two trees flanking the front door and stacked more of them in a punch bowl as the dining table centerpiece. Then she tied the theme together at each place setting with individual tiny baskets filled with the actual candies.

    4. Add a Touch of Elegance

    Going achromatic with white is a perfect foundation for setting an elegant holiday theme. “Instead of doing poinsettias like everyone else, do white hydrangeas,” suggests Horn. You can pair hydrangeas with pine boughs to make it look more holiday-like. For example, add pine boughs to potted hydrangeas outdoors, add silk hydrangeas to wreaths and floral arrangements, and decorate your Christmas tree with white hydrangeas and white lights.


    5. Use the Element of Surprise

    Keep your guests guessing by incorporating unexpected elements in your décor. In one of Horn’s projects, she designed a fantastic tabletop integrating arrangements of chocolate-brown pheasant feathers, ruby-red chargers, antique china with gold trim, doilies and burgundy glass chickens. The surprise is inside. When you open the top half of the glass chickens, peppermint bark ice cream with chocolate and raspberry sauce is the surprise inside. When they’re served, guests delight in the unexpected.