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5 Easy Holiday Decorating DIYs

You don’t need a degree in home science (or even a natural way with scissors) to jazz up your next fête. We tapped Prop Stylist Rebecca Donnelly, who designed the sets for our holiday gift guide, for 5 simple tips for sprucing up your abode. Don’t be surprised if you earn some serious design cred in the process.

Build Bauble Bouquets

Instead of hanging up your ornaments, let them work their holiday magic en masse. Fill decorative bowls or clear hurricane vases with assortments of differently sized baubles. Donnelly advises sticking to palette of 3-4 colors, so your arrangement looks cohesive. For a personal touch, sprinkle in some cute danglers from your childhood (macaroni picture frames are highly encouraged). Or, for a whimsical twist, use one of JONATHAN ADLER’s animal ornaments. If you’re short on baubles, stock up on Amazon, eBay, or at any holiday store.

Say Rah-Rah for the Holidays

We loved the cheerleader-style pom-poms from our Holiday gift guide shoot so much, we asked Donnelly how to make them at home. What you’ll need:

–Popsicle sticks or dowels
–Tissue paper
1. Stack 4-6 sheets of brightly colored tissue paper, then fold in half lengthwise.
2. Starting opposite the crease, cut 1-inch strips, stopping just short of the crease so you don’t hack a piece off.
3. Roll the folded edge around your popsicle stick or dowel, letting the streamers hang long, then secure the base with tape.
4. Repeat the process for a fluffier, frillier pom-pom.
5. Hang pop-poms in rows along your mantel, or tape them to doorframes for a pretty tasseled effect.

Wrap ‘Em and Stack ‘Em

Nothing sets the mood quite like a cascading pile of gifts. Give the illusion of abundance by gathering a bunch of differently sized boxes (think: shoeboxes, tea caddies, and hardcover books—don’t worry, you’ll unwrap them later) and using your best gift-wrapping skills to dress them up. In this case, it’s what’s on the outside that counts, so invest in pretty paper—but, advises Donnelly, don’t be afraid to diverge from the typical holiday fare.

Step Up Your Table Settings

Hand-painted table-settings add color and a personal touch to your holiday shindig. Start by purchasing wooden shapes at a crafts, then paint them using non-toxic tempera paint. Scatter across the table as a festive table setting, or use them to prop up your guests’ place cards. If you’re feeling super crafty, cut a notch in the middle of each shape with a lightweight hacksaw, says Donnelly. Stick the place card in the notch, and voilà: A sleek way to get Debra and Danny to mingle.

Create a Light-Filled Centerpiece

Twinkle lights aren’t just for trees. Donnelly loves using them as an unexpected table centerpiece. Using lights with white cord, artfully clump them in the center of the table. Next, layer in noise makers or large confetti to create a quick and festive table decoration. We recommend Jouer’s Sparkle & Pop crackers. Pull the tabs on either side, and a holiday surprise will tumble out.

For more party inspiration, check out our Holiday Shop.

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