Home Sweet Home

By Christine Brun

November 6, 2016 4 min read

It doesn't take much for a small home to feel smothered with seasonal decoration. When it comes to pulling out the holiday decor for a crowded room, restraint might be appropriate.

I believe that you can make a little go a long way. If your place is particularly lacking floor space, try a variety of ways to adorn the house. For example, hang a fresh wreath on both sides of your front door. That way you gain the aroma of fresh pine and don't have to waste floor space with a bulky tree. If you have a foyer table, use it to hold a mini tree. The tree can be a fresh one ordered from a florist or bought at a local grocery or drugstore. Mini trees are everywhere and easy to pick up. The advantage of a tiny tree is that you can still dress it up with bows of ribbon or miniature ornaments. Because of our travel schedule this year, I've opted to leave our dozens of ornaments in the attic and stick to a dwarf tree. I won't be facing the huge task of removing a large tree upon our return in January.

In fact, skipping a huge tree isn't the end of the world if you look for other places to set up greenery, such as the handrail of the staircase or the fireplace mantel. Both spots are perfect for fresh evergreen garlands or artificial greenery. When you add in lights, you achieve the magic of a traditional Christmas tree without eating up floor space. Consider the same treatment for the tops of bookcases, china cabinets and buffets. This is the perfect opportunity to clear off your usual displays and replace them with garland. If you like to display Nativity scenes, a solid surface, like a buffet, is perfect and safe. My mother used to arrange the manger scene under the tree, but placing it on a buffet or table keeps the set off of the ground and away from pets and toddlers.

If you don't have an entry, create a seasonal portal with a display of Christmas cards by the front door. There are dozens of adorable display ideas on Pinterest, and a quick Internet search will yield many display structures for wreaths, trees, garlands and more. Strings of lights are a tool to create focus. Consider outlining the interior of your front door with lights. Since few people may have an electrical outlet close to their front door, seek out battery operated LED lights to avoid a messy extension cord. This is the best way to install lights on banisters and mantels, or up and over windows.

Don't forget the classic evergreen centerpiece. This might be the most economic of decorations in a tiny home where the dining table is visible from all areas. You can get both the evergreen aroma and a splash of red with a red candle and bow. Add in extra red ornaments and pinecones for a more robust feel. I keep my eyes open this time of year for pinecones on the ground during my walks in the neighborhood. A large red bowl filled with cones and colored ornaments is another simple centerpiece that keeps for the entire season, without worrying about tending to water. On the day of a special meal, you can always stick in fresh roses or carnations in florist vials.

Christine Brun's weekly column, "Small Spaces," can be found at creators.com.

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