Holiday Decorating and Entertaining Tips

December 15, 2009 10:10:31 AM PST
The holiday entertaining season is in full swing. Whether you're having a party or just a small family get-together, you'll want to make your home festive. But you don't have to spend a lot of money to dazzle your guests. Floral designer Amy Wiest of Wildflower Designs has some cost-effective and creative decorating ideas. Update, don't replace tired holiday decorations:
Rejuvenate rather than replace quality decorations. Fluffing and replacing bows & dated accents can give new life to your d?cor without spending a fortune. If you don't feel confident in your ability, a florist will gladly give them a facelift for you.

Everything looks better with a bow!
Good quality wired ribbon can be purchased just about everywhere. A relatively small investment in a few bolts of ribbon can stretch your decorating dollar. When adding bows to things, smaller bows with more tails will give a more polished look. Using wired ribbon makes bow making fool proof. If you are still not confident in your ability, your local florist will make your bows for you?and they won't tell a sole.

Add some sparkle to your tree:
Cut sheer wide ribbon in 6~8' lengths. Tuck in the end and drape on an angle down the tree on an angle. This should be done after the lights but before ornaments go on the tree.

Use outdoor greenery crocks:
These festive containers were once reserved for estates and commercial buildings but can easily be made for the pots you already have. The pots can be easily personalized by adding decorative sticks, pine cones, large ornaments berries, and even snow flocking. To keep them looking fresh all season long, remember to water regularly (freezing will keep stems locked in place).

How to decorate a pot:

  • Place wet floral foam in a liner.
  • Add tall sticks for drama and begin to fill with assorted evergreens.
  • Make sure the greenery faces outward and varies in height.
  • Select greens that will more than cover the edges of the pot (or window box).
  • Finish it off with some large pine cones or oversized ornaments.
  • Fresh Wreathes and Garlands galore:
    Basic wreathes and fresh pine garland can be made luxurious by simply adding some inexpensive accents. Fresh accents like magnolia leaves, seeded eucalyptus (especially silver or gold), winter berries, gilded branches and pine cones can make the most inexpensive items look custom. Simply wire small bunches of your accents to the wreath frame (usually 3~5 per wreath). If you are dressing up a garland, use your ribbon and accents where you swag the greenery up.

    Party Pleasers:
    If you are hosting a holiday party, you can incorporate the WOW factor without breaking the bank. Consider using high impact flowers or a single flower variety en' mass mixed with unexpected items. Some of my favorite high impact flowers are cymbidium orchids (especially the green ones), Dendrobium orchids, amaryllis and Oriental lilies. These blooms may be a little more expensive, but you need far fewer to make a statement. Some less expensive blooms that are stunning when bunched en' mass are tulips, roses (the shorter ones are less expensive), Stars of Bethlehem and alstromeria. Even the under-appreciated carnation can be beautiful in bunches. Any of these flowers can be mixed with items such as cranberries, small ornaments, pine cones, cinnamon sticks or apples.

    Tying it all together:
    The trick to professional looking party decoration is repetition of style and color. If you choose to mix glass vases filled with cranberries and green orchids, carry that sophistication and color palette throughout the party. Try using the orchids on each plate, or scattered down the center of the table. Fill some small vases (or cylinder drinking glasses) with cranberries and top them with a votive candle. You could even coordinate your linen and menu with the theme. Don't forget places like the dessert buffet, the bar, even a little something in the restroom. These same principles can be applied to a more rustic party (with pine cones and winterberries), a winter garden party (white tulips and silver glass ornaments), even a cookie exchange (red carnations, cinnamon sticks, cloves and gingerbread).

    For more information, contact Amy at Wildflower Designs, 708.308.4214 or wildflowerschi@netscape.net; you can also visit her website www.wildflowerschicago.com.


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