Thursday, November 27, 2008

Colin and Justin's 12 Quick-Fix Solutions for Holiday Decorating

We love to entertain, particularly during the holidays. And for us, creating atmosphere is a critical starting point for everything that comes thereafter -- just try getting into the party mood if you haven't properly decked your halls. Try these 12 seasonal styling tips. Simple, but, hey, even at Christmas less is more!

1 Nothing sets the scene better than sweet aromas wafting through the air. Try scented candles -- these days, even supermarkets sell an assortment of fabulous olfactory delights. Or, back in bonny Scotland, we have an old but favourite trick: chuck a couple of vanilla pods into your log fire to promote mood.

2 As an alternative to standard name cards, tie Christmas gift tags displaying guests' names around the stems of wineglasses.

3 Wrap oranges with a cross of red ribbon and stud the flesh with cloves. Instantly gorgeous, and they smell better each day. After Christmas, once the oranges are completely dry, pop some into the back of your wardrobe to freshen your clothes.

4 Forget tradition -- indulge your senses with whatever colour combos you like. We're currently working on a festive aqua and silver living room and a marshmallow pink and duck-egg blue dining room.

5 Use gold- or silver-ink pens to write guests' names on extra-large leaves like those from a castor oil plant, and use as chargers under side plates.

6 Slip lottery tickets inside store-bought Christmas crackers as an extra surprise.

7 Arrange a snaking line of brightly coloured votive holders (with flickering candles in each) down the centre of your dining table. Simple but very effective.

8 Arrange white Christmas lights in a favourite glass vase as an instant conversation starter. Simply switch on and let the twinkling begin!

9 IKEA sells gorgeous glass prisms that will add sparkle to pretty much anything you like. Using fishing line, hang them from your tree or a light fixture, or arrange in an artistic grouping at your window.

10 To create a minimalist display, spray dried flowers white and silver, and arrange inside a large, clear tank vase filled with white pebbles.

By Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan

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