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Instead of baking treats, follow Willy Wonka's lead and keep a tantalizing assortment of candy within reach.
Here's how: Pull out a number of jars, vases and glasses, fill with sweets and display on a table. For the best results, pick containers of varying heights and stick to a color palette, like reds, greens and whites.
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Clip and Save
Some evergreen clippings and a few choice ornaments—it's a quick and simple centerpiece that makes any meal jolly, even takeout.
Here's how: If you're trimming low-hanging branches from the bottom of your tree, save them and arrange around a pretty bowl. Alternatively, ask for evergreen extras wherever Christmas trees are sold. Add in some sprigs of holly and a few ornaments.
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There's no rule saying ornaments can decorate only trees, so think outside the fir and hang a few glass and homemade orbs in a window for extra sparkle.
Here's how: Attach lengths of nylon filament to the window frame with a pushpin, and suspend the ornaments. To make the glittery DIY snowballs, cover a styrofoam sphere with styrofoam glue and shredded Mylar and let dry before hanging.
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Take a Bow
Deck the halls with boughs of holly, but why not try trimming a wreath with dozens of festive ribbons instead.
Here's how: Hang a plain wreath on the door. Using scraps of ribbon in different colors and widths, tie a bunch of bows and randomly glue-gun them close together on the wreath.
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Bell of the Ball
Branch out of traditional tree-trimming mode with some mega paper ornaments that amp up the party spirit.
Here's how: Buy a selection of paper balls and bells at your local party shop. String lights as usual. Attach the paper decorations to your tree and finish off with a crepe paper garland. These ornaments fold flat for no-hassle storage.
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This year put your green (and red and pink) thumb to the simple task of cultivating a multicolored topiary forest that you'll never have to water.
Here's how: Cut tissue paper into 2-inch squares and gently crumple. Starting at the top of a styrofoam topiary form, attach each piece with styrofoam glue. Working around the form, affix the pieces close together, mixing up the colors as you go. Place your topiaries in ceramic flowerpots. Use a circle of card stock, crimped at the edge, as a lid. These faux topiaries can be carefully packed away for next year, but keeping them out post-Yuletide is a sure way to beat winter blues.
Originally published in the December 2009 issue of Family Circle magazine.