Amy’s Free Ideas


Arrange table top decorations so they roughly fit within a triangle.

It doesn’t matter if it is symmetrical or asymmetrical as long you vary the height of the items. Many people make the mistake of lining up items of the same height in a row, but varying the height is much more interesting. Put larger items in the middle, or to one side, then add smaller items next to them. Several smaller items can be grouped together on a shelf in order to vary the height of the items.       




Seasons > Christmas > Decorations for the home > More Christmas Decorating tips

Seasons > Christmas > Decorations for the home > How to Decorate Your House

When you first see a lot of new ideas, it can seem overwhelming, and you wonder where to begin. It can also seem pretty expensive. Just start small. Each Christmas season, buy one or two items that you really enjoy looking at. Before you know it, your collection will grow. Find a good spot for each item--in the bathroom window, by the kitchen sink, on the dresser in your child’s room, etc. The first year you buy a tree, you might want to splurge and go ahead and get quite a few decorations so it doesn’t look too skimpy. Or, if you are short on cash, fill it with bows and pine cones the first year, then buy a few new ornaments each year.

Where to shop. Dollar stores are a good place to begin. Check several times during the season, because when they get in a new shipment, the cute items sell out quickly. Also, be sure to check different chains, and different stores within the same chain--sometimes they carry different items.  Be sure to check in different departments--vine wreaths and florist’s wire in the flower or gardening section, ribbons in the gift-wrap section, and sometimes toys make cute decorations. If you see a wreath that would cost 5 dollars in any other store, but it has ugly decorations, go ahead and buy it, and take the ugly decorations off, and put decorations you like on. Although most dollar stores used to sell Christmas trees, In the last couple of years, they seem to have quit. Craft stores have lots of wreaths and swags, but they are more expensive there, so be sure to look for coupons in the newspaper or on line. And, of course, The day after Christmas, with 50% to 80% off sales, is the best time to buy so you can stock up for the next year.

Baskets can be an inexpensive way to decorate for Christmas. Very different arrangements can be achieved by varying the items that are put in the baskets, the decorations on or near  the basket, and particularly by varying the colors that are used. Pile baskets high with gift boxes,  musical instruments, pine cones, books, or even toys. The options are vast.

Match the item with the space. if it is a big wall, it needs a big wreath, or a collection of smaller items--a small wreath by itself looks silly. If it is a tall, narrow space, it needs a tall narrow decoration, such as a Christmas tree or a vase with branches painted white. If you have several small items that you want to display, you can put them on the shelves next to the bathroom sink, or you can put them in various places on a bookshelf, or line them up on a widow sill. If all your shelves are already full, then move some items and put them away for the season, so that you have spaces to decorate.

Windows may not be a place you think of decorating, but there are many different ways to dress them up for Christmas. You can put a swag above or below, or both. You can hang decorations in front of the window such sun catchers or Christmas balls like the ones on the right. You can put narrow decorations on the window ledge, or you can cut out paper snowflakes and tape them to the window. The outside of windows can dress up the outside of your house as well.

Other people like to clean and then decorate, but I can’t seem to get myself motivated that way. So I decorate first, then think, “That looks bad. I better clean it up!” If there is a lot of clutter around, the decorations lose some of their luster. For ideas on how to do this, check out Life Tip’s “Getting Organized.”

Keep rearranging and adding layers until you like how the arrangement looks. Tuck a sprig of holly or floral pick near the base of an item, or add a red or plaid cloth under an item. Make a nest of branches (cut from a dollar store tree) and sprinkle with some Christmas balls or add a candle. Add a bow, or group 2 or 3 things together, or hang something on the wall behind the arrangement. Sometimes I try out an arrangement for several days, and if I don’t like it, I will rearrange it and leave it for a few more days to see if I still like it.

Create a color coordinated look for each room by using candles,  plastic balls, and gift boxes. Ribbons can be used in many ways, too-- make bows to put on wreaths or a swag, or as an accent on a basket. When they all are the same color, it pulls the decorations in the room together, to look like they belong together.




Static cling stickers can be put on windows or on the tile in the bathroom. They can be pealed off and put back up many times. If the ingredient list includes adhesive on the label, don’t buy them for your windows--they are not static cling. If static cling stickers don’t stay up, clean the window (or tiles in the bathroom)--any dirt or grease will keep them from sticking. If they still don’t stay up after cleaning, dampen the window before you apply them.


How to arrange Christmas Decorations

Places to Decorate:

Every door and wall becomes a potential space to decorate. Doors can be simpler to decorate than walls because we don’t usually decorate these, so you don’t have to move anything out of the way first. Also, those nifty door hangers make it a quick decorating job. Wreaths are the first thing that pop into mind for decorating vertical spaces, but don’t be limited to these. A banner, photos of past Christmases, or a nick-nack shelf are all good options for walls.

Surfaces can be more challenging to decorate since they usually have stuff all over them...either decorations, or clutter! Use Christmas as an excuse to clean up that clutter so you can have places to decorate. If you don’t have a fireplace mantle, then decorate the top of a piano (see the photo in the color section above) or on a bookshelf. I take down my usual decorations to make room for Christmas decorations, then the usual decorations look fresh again when I put them back up after Christmas. Besides, there are all those empty Christmas boxes just sitting in the attic, so there is space to put the regular items away for a month. Dresser tops and night stands make good places to decorate in bedrooms. Bathrooms that have shelves can be decorated. Even the smallest kitchen or bathrooms can hang Christmas hand towels and replace regular soap with seasonal soap. Night lights with a Christmas theme can decorate bathrooms and kitchens, even if you can’t afford to decorate the counter space.

Table Tops and Shelves

Question to ask yourself to get started

What would look good in this space? If there is already a wreath or tree in the room, what is something different for that empty space? Would a nativity set or a snowman look good in that spot? How about a group of candles, or a basket of pine cones? When I am planning the decorations for a room, I like to sit in a room, and look at each surface and try to imagine which of my decorations would look nice in that space. I may try several items out--sometimes it does not look as good as I thought it would. If I can’t find anything that will work in that space, then I go shopping, and  look for items that would fit that space, and would coordinate with the rest of the decorations in that room.

How to get started with decorating

In Japan: Although most 100 yen stores used to sell Christmas trees, In the last couple of years, only the 99 yen stores/ Lawson 100 have sold Christmas trees for 100 yen. Some 100 yen stores don’t sell the trees anymore, and some only sell larger ones for more than 100 yen. I use these small trees not just as trees, but sideways as a swag, or as greenery for candles and wreaths.  Other places to shop: Nitori usually has very cute decorations at very reasonable prices. Seiyu doesn’t usually have a very big selection, but what they do sell is reasonably priced, and you can find some cute things if you shop early. Or shop the last week before Christmas for a half price sale. Most places begin selling Christmas decorations just before or after Halloween in October. The Keio D2 home center has good prices for plain wreaths and hooks for hanging wreaths on doors. Of course craft stores have lots of items, but they are more expensive there.

over the door hook