All Decked Out: Simple Holiday Decorating

Sparkly silver balls, pretty white flowers, candles everywhere. Getting ready for Christmas is easier than you think.

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Table Manners


Candlelight from glass hurricanes and mercury-glass votives gives the table a flattering glow. White tulips, daisies or lilies, cut short and bunched in silver julep cups, look more relaxed than a complicated centerpiece. For the window, Susanna fashions a fanciful wintry scene with silvery mercury-glass ornaments and snowflakes hung with narrow ribbons. Then she lines the sill with a boxwood swag. "The snowflakes are like punctuation marks to sprinkle around the room," she says. For added sparkle, place one on each dinner plate.

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The More the Merrier


Susanna puts out big bowls of moss-covered balls and silver ornaments on the coffee table, scattering groupings of mercury-glass votives and paperwhites. The paperwhites, nestled in moss, are grown from bulbs planted in white pasta bowls. "These delicate flowers are so inexpensive and easy to grow," she says. "And they make a great project for kids."

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In a Twinkling


Fresh-cut flowers in silver julep cups share space with pillar candles and gold-framed mirrors on the mantel. Susanna arranges topiaries along with bejeweled ornaments in the shape of initials—one for every family member. "I like to use the holidays as an opportunity to clean up the clutter and create a landscape that lasts for months," says Susanna.

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Susanna's Holiday Decorating Tips


—Stick with flowers in one color, like white lilies, daisies or tulips, or lots of red roses.

—Think seasonless. Hurricanes and votive holders are useful for the holidays and year-round.

—Topiaries never go out of style, and quality artificial versions last forever.

—Buy one roll of fat satin ribbon in a color you love to hang ornaments or wrap presents.

—Crown the tree with your child's handmade star or a favorite memento.

—Buy lots of inexpensive votive candles, and put them everywhere. "Candlelight always works wonders," Susanna says.

—Layer fake moss balls with silver ball ornaments or pomegranates in hurricane lanterns for a mantel or table.

Originally published in the December 2009 issue of Family Circle magazine.