Amy’s Free Ideas

Seasons > Christmas > Decorations for the home > Foyer and Stairwell

There are lots of ways to add Christmas spirit to a book shelf. Add a swag of holly or pine across the top, or  along the front on a shelf.  Line up small figures, such as German smokers, in front of the books. (These were all purchased at a 100 yen store, though they are so small they snuff out any incense. so the smoke never comes out of their mouths.) If there is a gap in the books, place a stand and showcase some of you favorite tree ornaments that would go unnoticed on a tree.  Clear one shelf and fill with an assortment of decorations--on this top shelf : a glass filled with candy canes,  a felt gingerbread house, a stocking filled with bubble wrap and topped with toys and candy, a sleigh filled with presents, and a glass bowl filled with plastic balls.( All the items on this shelf ,with the exception of the bowl and marshmallow ornaments, were purchased at a 100 yen store.)

These cute ceramic snowmen didn't seem to fill the space well when standing alone, but adding greenery grounded them and filled out the space. The snowmen are actually candle stands so they have holes for light to shine out.  Battery operated "tea lights" make it safe to leave these unattended, and are often sold at hundred yen stores, dollar stores, and American craft  stores.

Over the nearly 30 years I have owned this wreath, it has gone through many changes--from multi-colored and toy laden to natural with berries and pine cones, and baby's breath, to sporting only purple balls, to this red version. When you make or buy a wreath, it doesn’t have to stay the same forever. Experiment with different colors and different  ornaments, and see what you like best. Have fun, and don't get stuck in a rut.

view this wreath with different decorations

View how to make Christmas wreaths

If you get tired of always decorating your front door with a wreath, try something different, such as a wooden plaque. When I first hung this, it showed up well against the dark door, but it seemed small and lonely when it hung alone. I tried adding the second smaller plaque that says, "Merry Christmas," which helped, but it still didn't look as good as I hoped it would. Then I tried adding the bow, and that seemed to do the trick. Keep experimenting and adding new elements until you like the way your arrangements look.

This swag is really a 100 yen store tree turned sideways, with it’s base removed, and fastened on with a very short tension rod. The plaid bow matches the bow on the front door, and the candle shows from the inside, and blends well with the outside decorations.

A basket of poinsettias is a great way to add a splash of color. This one is on the stairs in a corner where it is not likely to get kicked over. Once you have decorated your house, look around for bare spots-- a potted poinsettia might be a good way to dress up the front door, bathroom, or empty corner of a countertop.

We do not have a fireplace to hang our stockings, but we do have a very, very tall wall in our stairwell that is difficult to decorate.  One way to fill the empty space is to stack one thing above another--in this case, a felt advent calendar, the kids' stockings, and a fabric Christmas wreath. They hang from tension rods.  The stack of gift boxes sit below this in a corner on the stairs. They are about half of a set bought at Costco. They nest, so they don’t take up much storage room. During the Christmas season, they provide storage space for seasonal items, such as books, CD’s, DVD’s, tape and scissors for gift wrapping, or decorations I have not used yet.

A chalk board or white board is a fun way for kids to keep track of how many days are left until Christmas. Hang it on the inside of the front door, and on their way to school, they can erase the old number and write the new number. This one was purchased at a dollar store, and re-painted, and a snowman, (also bought at a dollar store,) was glued on to make it more interesting. If you want to make one, buy a chalk board or whiteboard at a hundred yen store, and glue on flat Christmas decorations, or paint it with acrylic paints, sold at hundred yen stores and craft stores.

At the top of the stairs is a bookshelf.  I used the top shelves to display Christmas decorations to look at as we come up the stairs. On the very top is a row of resin angels similar to the Willowtree figurines, but purchased at Walmart for a dollar a peice. The red candles were purchased at a hundred yen store. The greenery at the base of the candles was cut from a hundred yen store Christmas tree, and held together in bunches with twist ties. The pine cone wreath is very simple, but I like the natural look. It was purchased at a hundred yen store, but they are not difficult to make if you have a glue gun (also sold at hundred yen stores.) Just cut a ring out of cardboard and glue the pine cones on. You could add some greenery and red berries from the hundred yen store, too. But don’t buy pine cones--they are one of the few things you can pick up for free!