Holiday Decorating How-To's

Written by: Stephanie Stopka

Happy November! Now that the Halloween costumes are packed away and all of the good candy's eaten, it's time to turn our excitement to the winter holidays! As a mom to three little girls (5, 3, and 11 months!) I know first-hand how easy it is to get overwhelmed with holiday decorations that are heavy on the construction paper and elmer's glue, light on your style. As amazing as those home-made decorations are, we all need a few corners here and there in our home that reminds us that yes, adults still live here! 
I've come up with a few simple, modern and beautiful elements to decorate your home for the holidays. 
Here's what you'll need:

  • A mantel, shelf or other flat surface out of reach of your little ones where you can set up your decor
  • A few bunches of evergreen branches (you can grab them at Jewel, or just snip a few branches from the neighbor's tree - I won't tell!)
  • 3-5 large clear glass vessels - vases, cake stands, whatever you have
  • A few dozen shatter-proof ornaments (shatter-proof is essential for homes with kids!)
  • A few bunches of glittery branches (you can always swipe your kid's glitter stash and make your own) or other natural elements made a bit more sparkly/fun for the holidays

Here's how I set up an easy and beautiful mantel for the holidays:

  1. Lay the evergreen branches down along the entire mantel - just layer them until you have an even bed of branches
  2. Take your empty vases and place them on top of the branches along the mantel - tallest in the back, smallest in the front
  3. Fill your empty vases with your shatterproof ornaments, glittery branches, berries, holiday flowers, or anything else you have that you love and want to display for the holidays! You can also tuck in ornaments in between the branches.
  4. Pour a glass of wine, put blinders on to block out the rest of the mess, and enjoy an elegant holiday moment amidst your beautifully chaotic home!

The pictures included show how to build this base design. Make it your own by adding to it your family's favorite holiday decor - grandma's nativity scene, etc. Happy holidays! I wish you and your families a very wonderful season filled with many cozy nights in, a few parties out, and endless hugs and kisses from your little ones.
This blog was written by NPN member Stephanie Stopka. Stephanie is a Chicago mom to three little girls, and owner of flowers by stem (

Posted on November 11, 2012 at 7:13 PM