You know what they say: Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Certainly--at least for those who celebrate Christmas--it is hard to deny the appeal of twinkling lights, sparkling decorations, and festive colors sprinkled throughout the house for the holidays. For some, in fact, the magic of the season is so strong that a post-Christmas depression sets in after the holiday decorations come down.
Indeed, packing up Christmas decor right after the New Year is a chore. Some lovers of all-things Christmas try to prolong the process by keeping their trees up long past their prime or leaving their outdoor lights turned on well into February. The beauty of Christmas decorations left up year-round, however, is debatable. Some might even say it looks tacky.
Fortunately, there are a few clever ways to use holiday decor year-round. Finding other ways to use certain Christmas decorations for the other eleven months of the year is not only economical, it saves storage space and the trouble of having to pack it all up.
First, here are some general tips for using Christmas decorations all year.
- Pack away the more literal interpretations of the season such as nativity scenes, anything sporting jolly 'ol Saint Nick, stockings, poinsettias, and mistletoe. You can probably get away with snowmen, reindeer (minus Rudolph), and snowy accents a little longer--at least through the winter months.
- To get more bang for your buck, decorate with neutrals and metallic elements for the holidays. Blue and silver--another color combination used to convey Christmas--could also work throughout the year.
- People instantly associate red and green with Christmas. For a look that works year-round, try to separate this traditional Christmas color palette after the holidays.
- Look for Christmas decorations that aren't specific to Christmas. Clear glass hurricane vases, for instance, can be pressed into service year-round with just a few tweaks. Fill them with colorful bulbs for the holidays, sand and candles for a summer centerpiece, or acorns and pinecones for fall.
Keeping these general tips in mind, here are some typical Christmas decorations that you may not have to pack up for the basement or attic, allowing you to enjoy little hints of the holidays all year-long.
- String lights--There's no need to pack up your Christmas tree lights if you enjoy their soft, cozy glow. There are a number of DIY projects using string lights that are clever and tasteful. But if you would rather not tie them up in a project so you can use them on the tree again next year, simply string them outside for outdoor lighting on a deck or patio to lend a little ambiance to alfresco entertaining.
- Card holders--Christmas card holders that you can buy or DIY are a great solution for handling the onslaught of holiday cards that start arriving right after Thanksgiving. Many card holders can be used as memo boards well after the holidays are over. Look for one that isn't too Christmas-y so you can keep it up year-round to display mementos, kids' artwork, everyday photos and note cards.
- Boxwood--Boxwood is a traditional Christmas greenery used in wreaths or topiaries, popular for its densely-packed leaves and evergreen qualities. Unlike holly or pine, however, boxwood works in any season. Gorgeous with a red bow for Christmas, it looks equally pretty with burlap or linen accents for other months. Its fresh green color is a bright spot throughout the winter and into spring.
- Red Candles--Red candles are certainly Christmas-y when paired with greenery or other elements that read "holiday." But when separated from their Christmas counterparts, red candles work especially well in bedrooms. The flickering glow of candlelight is practically a prerequisite for romance and nothing says romance like red. Red LED candles are more practical because they won't burn down to nothing in the bedroom, preventing you from using them year after year for the holidays. Plus, their wax counterparts are more often than not infused with scents like cinnamon or cranberry, which don't work particularly well in a bedroom. Red candles, don't forget, would also come in quite handy on Valentine's Day for an intimate dinner.
- Window Candles--Speaking of candles, window candles--whether real or battery-operated--are a traditional way to give the exterior of a home a holiday look and feel. But candles in windows aren't just for Christmas. Ever snce Colonial times people have burnt candles in windows as a welcome symbol for weary travelers. They give any house a homey appeal, therefore, all year-round.
- Metallic Ornaments--While it may be hard to pass off red, green, or even blue ornaments as anything other than Christmas tree decorations, the same cannot be said for metallic bulbs. Mercury glass and silver ornaments, especially, look right at home when mixed in a bowl or glass vase with other orbs made of natural materials such as seagrass, twine, or wood.
- Grapevine wreath--A grapevine wreath is one of the most versatile home accessories to have, for the holidays and any other time. For Christmas, tie on big plaid bows, frosted pinecones, cardinals, sprigs of green evergreen, and bunches of red berries. If you can avoid affixing any of these seasonal elements with hot glue, it's easy to re-purpose a grapevine wreath throughout the entire year. For fall, go for burlap ribbon, bittersweet berries and miniature pumpkins. A grapevine wreath looks fresh for spring with the addition of a faux bird's nest, Easter eggs, and delicate flowering branches like forsythia. Finally, give a grapevine wreath summer style with hydrangeas and a wooden monogram, or dress it up in red, white and blue for a patriotic look.