Category Archives: Decorating

A video look at the White House Chrismas decorations — with Bo!

Bo makes a final inspection of the 2012 White House Christmas decorations before 90,000 visitors come through the doors of the People’s House this holiday season. Find out more about the 2012 White House Holiday celebrations, including the special tributes to troops, veterans and military families at http://whitehouse.gov/holidays

Water your Christmas tree daily

It’s really important to keep your tree watered!  Water daily.

How to put lights on your Christmas Tree

If you are anything like me, you struggle with getting the lights just right! My tree looks like this: way too many lights near the top, too many clumped together, not enough lights. Usually, a more spatially aware friend takes pity on me and helps me do it evenly, and the results are so beautiful. Once I accepted that more lights really were needed, I had a prettier tree.

My tips are

  1. Play some Christmas music — I love the Charlie Brown Christmas album for this!
  2. White lights or colored lights? It’s hard to pick. Why not both? One year, I did both. The effect was beautiful! I had the color I wanted, but the brightness from the clear lights. Some years, I do color lights when I am going for a more colorful tree. Last year, I left the colorful ornaments in the box and did an all silver and gold tree, with fewer ornaments but lots of lights.
  3. Don’t rush it. Go slowly and you will get better results. If you have to, start over.
  4. Enlist a friend…or two..to help unravel the cords, circle the tree and drape the tree with lights. It really helps to have the extra hands.
  5. Tuck, tuck, tuck those lights in — some deep and some closer to the edges of the branches, so you have that nice “depth” effect.
  6. Strategically position some of the ornaments near light sources, especially if they have glitter on them.
  7. Stop and take some pictures of you and your family decorating the tree, as you do it. You’ll be so glad to have these to look at later!

Here are some tips from the experts…

First, the lights. You will need 100 lights per foot of tree.

Secondly, some of those light strings contain lead. It will probably say so, on the box.  So wear plastic gloves to protect your hands, and wash your hands afterwards and before eating anything (like Christmas cookies!), so you don’t accidentally contaminate yourself.

Now for the decorating…

From what I’ve observed on YouTube, you can approach this a number of ways.  Some people start by wrapping the trunk with a string of lights. Some people weave the lights up and down around the tree, and others wrap each individual branch, starting at the trunk and working outward.

Here are some videos that demonstrate those techniques…

Here’s the “wrap each branch” technique from Colonial Wiliamsburg…

And here’s the “weave around the tree” approach from Home Depot…

How do you put up your Christmas tree lights?

How to Decorate a Christmas Wreath (Video)

Kim Beck, one of the visual merchandisers at Christmas Town, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, demonstrates how to decorate a wreath for Christmas in this short video. I liked her idea to use two different patterns of ribbon! I hope it inspires you to decorate your own wreath this Christmas.

For more inspiration, visit http://www.christmastown.com.

How to select and care for a Poinsettia

Photo by Scott Bauer.

Image via Wikipedia

This is a good time of year to pick out a Poinsettia for you or for a friend.  Here’s how to pick out a good one: the center little yellow-green nubs are the flowers (the red “petals” are actually leaves).  These should be closed, they’ll open eventually.  Skip a plant that has curling, yellow, or dead leaves.

Don’t let the plant get cold on the way home and don’t overwater the plant.  Place near a sunny window away from direct heat.  Poinsettias are not poisonous, but they’re also not cat food, so if you have pets at home, you may want to purchase the convincing looking artificial ones.  Check out this video for more tips…

Make a Merry Christmas Wreath (video)

Decorate the windows of your home with original wreaths you make yourself.  Each wreath takes less than 20 minutes to make, and it’s really fun.  To make your wreath, you will need

  • 1 roll of wide, wired ribbon (makes at least 2 wreaths)
  • 1 roll of medium, wired ribbon (makes at least 2 wreaths)
  • 1 package of bow wire
  • at least two decorative picks (I used three)
  • an artificial or real balsam wreath

You can make two beautiful wreaths for about $20 or so, if you buy on sale.  I bought my materials at Michael’s.  The real balsam wreath came from Safeway.