November 2013

Decorate Your Halls

Author: Rebecca Edwards

Getting in the holiday spirit and decorating your home this season can feel like getting up early to exercise. You know it’s time. You know it’s good for you. And you know you will be energized afterward. Yet, the motivation might not quite be there. So, let this guide be your kick butt, cardio blast in a Christmas cardigan. Follow these festive tips and you will be feeling merry and bright in no time.

’Tis the season boot camp basics
Engage the senses. For the nose, think dried citrus and cloves potpourri, subtle aromatic candles and earthy greenery. For the ears, think a seasonal Pandora station or a playlist created by your family. For the taste buds, keep some holiday fare on hand like spiced nuts (check our farmers markets for local options) or do what one friend (who’s secret to “homemade cakes” will go to the grave) does and get a spiced cake from a bakery like Signe’s and display it in a glass covered cake stand.
Commit to a theme. I remember one Christmas my parents had a theme-off. My mom, a designer, wanted everything to be white or silver. My father, an engineer, wanted everything to be lit up and reminiscent of his childhood. So, my brothers and I spent days, I mean days, stringing popcorn and hanging white lights. Growing up on Hilton Head Island, a white Christmas was as rare as a Rudolph sighting, but that year we had one.
Think like a designer. Small changes can make big statements. Try rearranging furniture to create a focal point around the tree, Menorah, or fireplace.
Start a tradition, or live by one. One of my friends says her family always decorates the Christmas tree after Thanksgiving lunch. Another says they play Christmas Story 24-hours a-day. A third says each holiday season she expands on the train set that encircles her tree by adding figurines and making the display more elaborate each year.
Invest in quality wrapping paper and ribbons. Think: fewer presents, better packaging.
Consider kids and pets. Include the children and/or grandchildren in making decorations and be conscientious of where you put holiday items. (Note: dogs and small children will eat salt dough ornaments if reachable.)

Tips from the pros
Sarah Perry of Branches and Wendy White of Pyramids offer their best holiday decorating advice:
Start now. “We usually sell out of Christmas trees by early November. Go ahead and start now, but don’t think you have to do it all in one day. Enjoy decorating in stages and layer it so that you can go from Halloween, to Thanksgiving, to Christmas or other holiday celebrations,” Perry said. “Appointments [to have your home professionally stylized] have been booked since the summer,” said White, who encourages people to visit their store now and speak with their designers and/or book Pyramids for next year.
Be trendy. “The quality and variety of the artificial greenery available today is amazing. Eucalyptus, boxwood and many varieties of evergreen look real and will be able to be used over and over for years,” White said. “Pyramids is featuring a Coastal Christmas theme this year, but we also offer traditional red and green and elegant golds and silvers.”
Make decking the halls easy. “You can either decorate your entire home inside and out or choose to do only the high impact areas, White said. “Why not think about adding new holiday decor in stages? Look at the architectural details of your home and enhance those. Don’t feel that you need to have a large tree either. Sometimes a smaller tabletop tree decorated with your favorite ornaments might be the way to go. With a smaller tree, you can change the theme each year.” Perry added, “White twinkle lights are your friend—they solve all of life’s decorating problems.”
Invest in the basics. “Invest in the little black dress of a wreath, garland or tree. You will be able to get it out every year, feel in the spirit almost instantly, and save money in the long run,” Perry said.
Be natural. “Our family grew up in greenhouses in Tennessee,” Perry said. “So we know what the real looks like and spend the time to find real-looking products. We only sell things God could have grown. This doesn’t mean you can’t be creative or playful. Get natural-looking artificial greenery or other natural blank canvases like an oyster shell wreath, and then let your imagination run wild.”
Forget the rules. “What makes the holidays special is your family. Your children should be able to touch, interact with and help make the decorations. Don’t worry about the rules, and don’t lose sight of the fact that it is a family holiday,” Perry said.
Get crafty. If you are a “do-it-yourselfer,” Pyramids is hosting a series of Wednesday workshops during the month of November from 1-3 p.m. November 6: Learn how to choose ribbons for fabulous bows, make gorgeous bows and add bows to your garlands, wreaths and trees. November 13: Learn how to embellish garlands, wreaths and trees for a unique look. Also, learn how to highlight focal points throughout your home for maximum impact. (Examples are front door, mantle and stairway). November 20: Learn how to light your trees and garlands and how to choose the right lights for your project.
When in doubt, hire it out. Both Pyramids and Branches can get the job done for you. “We have some very talented, hardworking ‘elves’ who have decorated our store for the past 15 years and have been decorating dozens of local homes for the past 13 years,” White said.
“We have several commercial and residential clients and will get your home ready for the holidays,” Perry added.

Pyramids is located at 1600 Main St. on Hilton Head Island. Branches is located at 1000 William Hilton Parkway in the Village at Wexford on Hilton Head Island. For more holiday ideas, visit or call (843) 689-6367, or or call (843) 785-2535.

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