Everyone loves decorating for Christmas. Grab your garland and get ready for wreaths, because here, the editors of Southern Living share some of their favorite new ideas for Christmas decorating. These decorating ideas for your mantel, front door, mailbox, Christmas tree, and more will surely fill you with Christmas cheer. We show you how to give a twist on tradition with handmade willow-branch wreaths that you can use inside or out. We show you how to welcome your guests in memorable southern style, how to go festive with place card holders as you welcome your guests to a beautiful holiday meal, and how to give your dining table a vivid focal point. However lavish or simple your Christmas decorating may be, these ideas will help you bring the beauty of the holiday to every corner of your home.
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Set a Holiday Scene In Your Outdoor Room
Do not limit your decorations to the inside of your house or your front porch; take advantage of the South’s mild winters. Bring decorative Christmas cheer all the way out to your backyard. This warm and cozy backyard retreat is beautifully decorated for the Christmas season, and serves as a perfect place to cozy up with a blanket on a brisk winter night. A beautiful Christmas tree takes center stage, spun in classic red garland and gold lights. The mantle is adorned with fresh, aromatic greenery. A simple evergreen wreath above the fireplace completes the stunning scene. Stock your outdoor bar, and light a blazing fire for a cozy outdoor gathering.
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Cheer Up Your Entry Way
Pressed for time but want a big show to greet guests and carolers on your holiday front porch? Fit a 7-gallon magnolia into a decorative planter, and fill in around the edges with spray-painted magnolia branches and sprigs of seeded eucalyptus – we chose red, but gold or silver stuns as well. After the holidays, plant the magnolia in the garden for a year-round token of holiday cheer. Designed to come together quickly and with limited hands-on prep, this Christmas look is easy to tailor for various preferences. Change the plants or colors to suit your taste – Poinsettias are always a good substitute.
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Create a Warm Welcome
Our favorite way to light up any season is a brilliant array of paper luminaries. Line them up along your front walkway, along your driveway, or scatter them on your porch for a bright, twinkling Christmas display that’s so simple and affordable to pull off. You can buy premade luminaries in bulk online, or make your own using white paper bags, pebbles, and battery-powered LED candle lights. After gathering your supplies, place a handful of pebbles in the bottom of your paper bag so it is less likely to blow away or fall over. Using your fingers, clear a place for the LED light (turned on) to rest. Wait until its dark out, and you have a glowing luminary to light up your drive.
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Pile On the Plaid
Plaid is not just for school uniforms and collared shirts. Use plaid as a theme for your Christmas decorations for a classic, old-school take on holiday cheer. To avoid overloading on one pattern, don’t be afraid to mix and match plaids of varying sizes and scales. Start with a transparent plaid garland, and decorate with metallic, solid-colored ornaments. The easiest and most budget-friendly way to incorporate plaid into your Christmas is by using the gifts under your tree as decorations themselves. Choose 2-3 plaid patterned rolls of giftwrap, and 1-2 solid patterns in complimentary colors. Mix and match ribbons on each gift for a layered presentation of presents.
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Greet with a Garden Theme
Convey a cozy, cottage welcome with a garden-inspired holiday decorating theme. This casual theme features rustic aluminum containers arranged across the front door, raised porch, and stairs; it is perfect for busy households that see plenty of activity and children during the holiday season. This decorating theme works for both the front and back porches. Make your garden-themed Christmas decoration serve a cheerful purpose by filling the containers with Holiday herbs. Some common Christmas herbs you can grow are myrtle, chervil, borage, lemon thyme, tarragon, bay leaves, spearmint, lavender, oregano, basil, sage, and thyme. Add bright color by planting red amaryllis blooms and berries.
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Hang a Paper White Basket
Who says you have to wait until spring to decorate your porch with flowers? Spread Christmas cheer by greeting guests with a bright arrangement of seasonal paperwhites. Paperwhites belong to the daffodil family, and will flower indoors at any time of year. They are incredibly easy to grow and maintain, as they don’t even need soil to grow. Just place the paperwhite bulb in enough water to cover the lower portion of the bulb. While growing the paperwhites, keep the bulb in a warm indoor spot that sees lots of sun. If you water them regularly, they will flower in a month or so. After blooming, paperwhites last longer when placed in a cool spot out of direct sunlight. Arrange the blooms along with heather, juniper, and moss in a planter and hang it directly on your front door.
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Merry Mailbox Topper
This simple Christmas decoration is an easy way to spruce up your front yard for the holiday season, and comes together with only a few supplies that you may already have on hand. Top off a square brick mailbox with an abundance of bouquet winter plants. Fill a wide, shallow planter with an arrangements of bouquet winter plats like pansies, flowering cabbage, cedar, fir, lavender, and rosemary. We trimmed ours to resemble a Christmas tree. Tuck in spare ornaments in contrasting colors, like deep red and metallic gold. Add pinecones to fill gaps and add texture. Finish your mailbox with a satin bow.
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Drape Your Mailbox
Readers with traditionally shaped mailboxes can try this festive way to spruce up a driveway for the holidays. Turn your mailbox into a red and green Christmas tree. Wrap sheer ribbon loosely around a pine garland and drape the garland around the mailbox, securing with a flexible, thin wire or fishing line where necessary. To top off the display, wire clusters of bright Nandina berries to top off the post. Arrange the sheer ribbon in a voluminous bow for the finishing touch.
Note: Nandina berries are toxic to birds and grazing animals, so be sure that you keep them out of the reach of any household pets.
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Try a Two-Piece Wreath
If you want to get the look of a single warm, welcoming holiday wreath, but have a double-door entry, do not fret. Instead of forgoing the whole idea, consider using a two-piece wreath to adorn a double-door entry. Make your own by starting with a wreath that has a sturdy base so it will hold its shape. We used fresh evergreen here, but a grapevine wreath will work just as well. Cut the wreath in half, lengthwise, with sturdy wire clippers. Use florist wire to attach evergreen clippings, fruits, and ribbons. Securely hang half of the wreath on each door so the two meet in the center with the doors are closed.