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Exploring Womanhood > Heart of the Home > Holidays & Seasons > Christmas

Country Christmas Decorating
by Colleen Moulding

Add a little country charm to your Christmas decorating this year. Forego the glitz and glam for natural materials, check fabrics and homemade country style. The beauty of this type of decorating is that it doesn't have to look perfect. The odd crooked stitch or slightly askew angel wing just shows that it is homemade and adds to the charm. Lots of these projects are perfect for children to help with too.

Handmade Cards

The easy way to do this is to buy blank cards and add your own decoration or make your own by simply making a sharp crease in thin card. Do this by scoring lightly along a ruler edge with a craft knife on the inside of the card before folding.

Imagine a 3" square of red and white gingham with frayed or pinked edges stuck on to the card, topped with a little paper or felt heart or star, and a red hand written Happy Christmas underneath. Very easy. Very country. Very, very nice to receive. Or try a scrap of green fabric or felt cut into a triangle shape to suggest a Christmas tree with a gold star on the top, or an embroidered or cross stitched initial or Merry Christmas.

Country Tree Decorations

Why not make some simple felt ornaments for the tree? Use cookie cutters, patterns in children's colouring books or whatever you can find to make a template, then cut out felt hearts, stars, angels, stockings, whatever takes your fancy. Cut two identical pieces out of the felt and one slightly smaller out of wadding/batting to go between the two and give a slightly padded look. Blanket stitch all the way around the edge in a contrasting colour and add a ribbon for hanging.

If you are handy with a jig saw cut out hearts and stars from thin wood, then paint and hang with raffia for a homespun look, or even easier make your ornaments from saltdough. Don't forget to make a hole for hanging before baking in a very low oven or leaving in a very warm place for a few days before painting to match your scheme.

If your baubles don't fit in with this new look, pick one colour and get some textured fabric in a bright red perhaps, and cover them, tying with a bow at the top, or if you want to stick to a natural look try covering your old baubles with calico and tying with raffia.

More Ideas For The Tree

Make some imitation or real mini parcels by covering matchboxes with hessian or gingham and tie with a bow.

Use natural or painted wooden beads, or strings of cranberries or popcorn to drape the tree instead of tinsel.

Paint and wire on pine cones or real red glossy apples.

Tie on bundles of cinnamon sticks for a fabulous fragrance.

Push cloves into oranges to make aromatic pomanders to place in bowls or hang from the tree. Make the holes with a nail or small skewer first to make it easier and much quicker. You don't have to cover the whole orange, I usually start by tying on a narrow ribbon and then arrange the cloves in lines two or three deep around the orange in whatever design takes my fancy.

A batch of gingerbread men probably wouldn't last until Christmas Day but they would look great for as long as you could keep little (or big!) hands off them!

Table Toppers

There is a trend towards using a runner down the middle of the table to take your decorations and candles. This an ideal spot to add a country air with a red or plaid runner, bowls and platters piled high with fruit and mince pies, and red or cream candles swirled with ivy. You can then use plain red place mats underneath your plates, with a napkin on top of the plate and on top of the napkin the cutlery for that place setting tied together with a narrow check or tartan ribbon and slightly fanned out on the napkin. Add natural pine cones holding hand written name place cards.

Dress up your dining chairs with simple chair back covers, just a hemmed runner of fabric to drape over the front and back of the dining chair secured at the sides with ribbon ties. These are perfect for decorating with ribbons, flowers and fresh foliage on Christmas Day.

Around the house

Make a welcoming display in your hallway with bowls of fresh fruit, candles, sweets and wreaths. Add huge jugs of rosehips or berries making a feast for the eyes when visitors arrive.

If you don't have a real fire, use a bank of candles, especially scented candles, of all different sizes, but the same colour, to add a warm glow to your room. Never leave candles unattended.

Make a herb wreath for the kitchen by wiring on fresh herbs to a grapevine wreath and adding chillies, bouquet garni, tiny terracotta pots and a big gingham bow.

Trim your kitchen shelves with red or green felt cut into triangle shapes and held in place with sticky tack.

For an elegant mantlepiece decoration use green foliage, cream flowers, cream pillar candles and fresh green grapes.

Add red, green, or tartan wool throws or quilts to the sofa to snuggle under.

Sprinkle essential oils, orange and cinnamon perhaps, to a bowl of fir cones, Christmas tree cuttings and dried orange slices for a wonderful Christmas pot pourri.

Decorate a tree in the kitchen with edible delights, cookies, cookie cutters, candy canes, strings of marshmallows etc.

Bring in the beauty of nature. Line the tops of cupboards and furniture with evergreen leaves and bright berries. Wind twinkling white lights around a branch and suspend above a doorway or use as the basis of a hallway or porch display.

Display candles of different heights in terracotta pots topped with moss.

Add check ribbon bows to dresser drawers and cupboard handles.

Outside Decorating

Gather together any greenery you can find, Christmas tree cuttings, evergreens from the garden etc. and wire them on to lengths of rope. These can then be draped around porches, window boxes, or fences. Add splashes of colour with berries, bows, red apples or painted pine cones.

Candles look lovely outside as long as they are in some kind of container to protect them from the wind. This is a good way to use up all those jam jars or baby food jars that collect in your cupboards, left as they are, or painted with glass paint from a craft store.

You can also turn them into candle lanterns by twisting wire around the top of the jar and then fashioning a hanging loop from the same piece of wire.

You can make lanterns from tin cans too by filling them with water and freezing them, then punching holes in a pattern with a hammer and nail. Wear gloves and secure the can to the table with a lump of sticky tack to do this safely. Thread wire through two of the holes and hang with a tea light or votive candle inside.

Make large twig stars by wiring or tying together six straight twigs of the same length into two triangles, then wiring one on top of the other to make a six pointed star. Mini versions of these look good lining a mantle too, natural or sprayed silver or gold.

Well I hope that these ideas will help you add a little bit of country to your decorating this year.

© Colleen Moulding 2001

About the author: Colleen Moulding is a freelance writer from England where she has had many features on parenting, childcare, travel, the environment, the Internet and many more subjects published in national magazines and newspapers. She has also published a variety of women's and children's fiction. Her work frequently appears at many sites on the Internet and at her own site for women and children, All That Women Want.com, a magazine, web guide and resource for women everywhere. Why not drop by? It was made for you! Subscribe to the free monthly e-zine covering home and decorating, parenting, saving money, organizing, gardening, women's biz, health, recipes, relationships and more. Spend your five minutes peace with us. It was made for you!

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