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Column: MiCasa

Last Minute Decorating Touches

by guest author, Kathryn Weber

The tree is up and the lights are on the house, a wreath hangs on the door... but somehow the house doesn't seem "done".

If that describes your home, take a few moments to look around and see where you can add some last minute decorating — These final decorating touches can create that extra zing that says "Now, that's done!"

Pine cones... for a touch of instant charm.

Hunt pine cones

One of the most universal symbols of Christmas is the pinecone. It's also a decorating work-horse.

Pine cones can be sprayed with gold paint, dipped in plaster of Paris to mimic snow, covered in glitter, or they can be left natural.

Versatile, cheap, and beautiful, pine cones are a Christmas decorating cure-all. Volunteer to clean up under your neighbor's pine tree or buy a sack of them from the craft store. Attach some long lengths of floral wire or long floral pick stems to the base of the pine cones, and you've got instant decorating elements.

How to decorate with pine cones?

Place a basket of pine cones next to the fireplace. Tuck in a sprig of cedar or other greenery and you've got instant charm next to your roaring fire.

Add pine cones to a rustic basket in the kitchen or tuck them into a plant to give it a Christmas touch. Group gold-painted pine cones in a vase or urn for an elegant look that you can place anywhere you need a dash of decorating.

Decorate the dining room

One room that rarely gets enough attention is the dining room. A simple, yet elegant decorating technique is to drape garland along the top of a china cabinet and stick in some of those pine cones you've got. Just add them here and there and add any other Christmas floral picks you might have.

Or, group a bunch of pine cones and floral picks here to create a centerpiece. This simple feature makes the dining room instantly more festive – and makes Christmas dinner that much more enchanting.

You can also decorate the chandelier for another Christmas touch. Create a large bow of colored floral ribbon (or two if you have a large chandelier). Attach the ribbon where the chain ends and the chandelier starts. Cut four or five long lengths of ribbon to attach under the bows and drape down over the chandelier. If you have a chandelier that has a circle at the bottom, add a garland of greenery. Your chandelier will command the attention of the room.

Make a scene

If you have an empty table top and a crèche, create a scene for the Holy Family. Add greenery, a bowl of fruit, and perhaps a poinsettia.

I have a scene of the Holy Family and a scene that honors my own family. Both my children are Russian and I decorated the top of the piano with a Russian winter scene that nods to their cultural heritage.

To create the scene, I first covered the top of the piano with fake snow (the cottony-type). Then I placed our nesting doll collection (matryoshka), our Russian nutcracker, some pine cones that I treated to look like they had snow fallen on them, a hand-carved St. Basil's cathedral, and in the center stands a Russian Santa that holds a miniature St. Basil's Cathedral. The whole scene sits below a picture of the two of them.

The little scene is a tribute to my children's heritage. It's also a tribute to the time (Christmas) when we went to get them in Russia and Kazakhstan, respectively. It's a special scene and so meaningful to my family. Perhaps you have some special heritage items from Czechoslovakia, Germany, Poland, China, or even Hawaii or other state where you lived that you could use to create your own personal Christmas vignette. It could be a special annual scene that honors your ancestry or heritage.

These kinds of decorations are usually quick to do because they include items that you already have. If not, it you might just help you get started building a collection. Best of all, these vignettes are very personal and meaningful to family members. You can teach your children about your family just by looking over the items with them.

Christmas everywhere

Find small spots to add a Christmas touch.

Even a red candle, piece of greenery, and dish of peppermints will do.

Or drape figures or mirrors with greenery and bows.

Decorate everything and decorate everywhere — Those little unexpected touches will be the final stamp that says "Christmas is here!"

From my family to yours... A very Merry Christmas and all the best wishes for the season.


About the Author:
Kathryn Weber is the publisher of the Real Home E-Zine, the Internet newsletter with real home advice, tips, and ideas for cooking, gardening, cleaning, and decorating for real families. Subscribers receive this FREE report, The 10 Habits that Help You Keep Your House Cleaner. For more information log on to

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