Add flavor of holidays in a matter of minutes

Been too busy to decorate for the holidays? Believe me, I’ve been there. Some years I’ve been so busy helping everyone else get their homes ready that I barely had time to toss up a decoration or two before the family arrived for Christmas dinner.

Never fear: There is still time to change your home from bah-humbug to merry and bright. Here are six festive fixes you can do in minutes.

1. Hang a wreath or swag.

If you only have seconds to decorate, hang a pretty holiday wreath or swag. Nothing is simpler than this holiday mainstay. Get a wreath that’s already decorated, fluff out the evergreen branches and you’re done. If you want, spend 10 seconds more and add a holiday ribbon. Be sure to pay attention to scale: You don’t want to hang a tiny wreath in a huge window or on a huge empty wall. Big spaces call for big wreaths.

Any surface can handle a holiday wreath or swag. Hang one from the obvious places, like your front door or above your fireplace mantel. Or give guests a little surprise by hanging your swag or wreath someplace unusual, like from the door of an armoire or the top of a bookcase.

2. Spark up a window.

Dangle a darling holiday decoration from the window sash in one of your common rooms. It could be an ordinary item, such as a little vase filled with bits of evergreen snipped from your garden. Or it could be a lovely holiday decoration, like a wreath or lantern.

If you have generous windowsills, use them as mini stages to hold holiday décor, like a snowman figurine, a vase filled with evergreen snips or a potted rosemary topiary.

3. Spotlight a pretty package.

Raid items from under the Christmas tree, picking out the prettiest packages . Place a small parcel on a silver tray, then cover it with a glass cloche. Under a bell jar, everything looks majestic.

4. Add seasonal flowers

An inexpensive cash-and-carry bouquet of roses has saved my hide more times than I care to admit. It’s so easy to run by the grocery store or florist on the way home from work and get a bouquet to save the day. I am horrible at arranging flowers, so I’ve come up with an easy look: Get one or two dozen roses, snip the stems short and insert them in a lovely vase so they make a mound of blooms. Finish the arrangement with a few greens, such as cuttings from an evergreen bush.

5. Fill a container with holiday treats.

Fill a few of your prettiest clear-glass containers with classic holiday items. I love the look of peppermint candies in a glass apothecary jar. You could also fill an apothecary jar or hurricane with vintage Christmas tree ornaments. For a more natural look, fill the jar with a few stems of evergreen then rest a faux bird’s nest in its branches.

6. Tuck in baubles.

Sneak a few tree ornaments, holiday candles or seasonal figurines into unexpected places in your home . Put a single Christmas tree bulb in the foreground, a glittery reindeer statue in the midground or a lantern tied up with a holiday bow in the background.

The column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at www.nellhills.com. Reach her at marycarol@nellhills.com.

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