Christmas Decorating Ideas for 2011

Taking your holiday decorating outdoors can create a welcoming atmosphere for all visitors.

'Tis the season for holiday decorating! The holiday season is the perfect time for homeowners to spruce up their indoor and outdoor decorating themes and really create a warm environment for all who enter and live there.

Whether you're decorating for Christmas or another holiday this season, there are a plethora of holiday decorating ideas that you can find online, in magazines or by looking at other homes. And it doesn't matter where you gather your inspiration for holiday decorating, as long as you can enjoy your Christmas decorations / holiday decorations and feel good about the holiday display you've created.

The following article from shares some favorite Christmas decorating ideas for 2011. See which Christmas decorations you love and incorporate them into your existing decorating theme for a truly festive atmosphere.

Our Favorite Christmas Decorating Ideas

It's the most wonderful time of the year to decorate. Check out nine of our best Christmas decorating ideas from holiday experts and readers.

All That Glitters

Sparkle is a holiday essential, according to Cathy Barnhardt, Floral Displays Manager of Biltmore Estates in Asheville, N.C. "At Biltmore and on my own tree, we use many inexpensive 'shiny brites' as the base of the color scheme, tucked into the tree to give depth, add color and reflect the lights. The more decorative ornaments are hung closer to the tips of the branches where they can be seen and appreciated more easily," she says. Photo courtesy of Sarah's Holiday Party.

How to Light the Tree

"Light the tree from the top down working in sections rather than round and round the tree," says Barnhardt. "Work the lights in toward the trunk of the tree, and then back out to the tip of the next branch, securing it by slipping the tip between the two wires of your strand of lights. When it's time to take the lights away, just pull gently on the cord for each section. To get the lighting evenly placed on your tree, step back, squint your eyes to make things blurry and look for dark spots. Rearrange or add lights as needed. These techniques work well on our towering trees at Biltmore and on my little seven-foot fresh tree at home." Photo courtesy of Biltmore Estates.

Contemporary Twist

Preserved boxwood garland is a fresh take on traditional evergreen garlands. Rate My Spacer MaureenGeorgia dresses the garland with pinecones, bronze and silver ornaments and apple green ribbon.

Dramatic Hue

Use one color to make a statement. RMSer Manzardo mixes gold ornaments and accents into a mantel garland to create a holiday focal point. Any metallic, like bronze or silver, adds sparkle, while a more colorful choice, like red, blue or lime green, makes for a bold, eye-catching display.

Dazzling Table Decor

Create an easy decoration for any table in your home. Barnhardt suggests gathering favorite ornaments, in colors that complement your decor, and mix with pine cones or pods into bowls. Photo courtesy of Cindy Aplanalp.

Go for the Gold

Don't settle for any old candles in your Christmas centerpiece. It's only a little extra effort to dress up some mismatched candlesticks with gold leaf. The gilded treatment ties the candlesticks together so the table looks warm and unified.

Get Step-By-Step Instructions

How to Make Gold-Leafed Holiday Candlesticks

Supersize Your Garland

Intertwine fruits, feathers, pine cones and mini glass ornaments throughout garland for a designer look. For the holidays, Britt Scripps Inn in San Diego, Calif., runs an intricate garland up the grand staircase, which is original to the house, built in 1887. Photo courtesy of Britt Scripps Inn.

Bright Lights, Green Solution

As part of the Virginia Green Lodging program, The Holladay House in Orange, Va., is dedicated to proactively reducing their carbon footprint. One of the ways they do this during the holidays is "by using Forever Lights, which are made from LED bulbs. They last for thousands of hours longer than traditional lights and use almost 80 percent less electricity." Photo courtesy of The Holladay House.

Stunning Mantel Display

To create the perfect mantel, Barnhardt says to take down everyday mantel decorations, including any framed prints. Hang a fresh evergreen wreath and then gather items from around your home that coordinate with each other. For example, she collects any porcelain and pottery with a green glaze displayed throughout her home and creates a vignette on the mantel by filling the pieces with fresh holly and white pine. Add favorite ornaments or safely place candles for a warm glow to complete the display. Photo courtesy of RMSer Lisa Campbell.

"Vintage" Votives

Vintage items feel traditional, and Christmas is definitely a time to celebrate tradition. But you don't have to spend a fortune scouring flea markets or estate sales for goodies with old-fashioned holiday charm. Try your hand at these DIY faux "mercury glass" votives for the mantel.

Get Step-By-Step Instructions

How to Make Mercury Glass Votives

Festive Illuminations

Light fixtures are a great place to add extra holiday cheer. Wrap glittering leaves around a chandelier's base or hang favorite glass ornaments. Design by RMSer Silvers.

Let It Snow

Even if it isn't a white Christmas outside, you can still enjoy a few falling flakes indoors. This snowflake curtain is so easy to make, but it turns even the smallest windows into a winter wonderland.

Get Step-By-Step Instructions

How to Make a Snowflake Curtain

Do you want to focus on your outdoor Christmas decorating now? A few festive holiday decorations for your entryway can really spruce up a home's exterior. Here are a few festive holiday decorating ideas from that will welcome all visitors to your home, before they even step inside.

Hanging Seasonal Decorations:

    • Consider a twig wreath adorned with greens, gourds or berries
    • Design a heart-shaped wreath with miniature pine cones and dye them a brilliant shade of red
    • Mount an evergreen wreath or swag with glass ornaments or silver bells
    • Create a wreath with magnolia leaves and fresh fruit such as pears, apples and pomegranates
    • If you have a rustic style home, consider adding antlers, a cowboy hat or rope to your wreath
    • For a coastal home, consider a wreath of woven sea grass with sea shells or a brightly painted life preserver with lights and decorative glass floats
    • If your door doesn’t merit all the attention, consider wrapping it in bright paper with a large bow or framing it in lights
    • Hang a set of sleigh bells on the door knob, which will give a festive jingle every time guests pass through

Accessorizing Your Doorway:

    • Frame your entryway with a garland and lights – add bows or pine cones for more decorative detail
    • Place pots or urns planted with seasonal greenery, poinsettias and lights on either side of the doorway
    • Put out a welcome mat designed with holiday accents
    • Add new brass or nickel accents such as a kick plate, porch lights and a door knocker to dress up your door
    • Hang matching wreaths in all of the windows

Painting Your Door:

    • If it’s not yet too cold to paint outdoors, brighten up your door with a fresh coat of red paint or a strong color that provides contrast to your current color scheme. Made especially to accept paint, Therma-Tru® Classic-Craft® Canvas Collectionentry doors feature a smooth surface that’s ideal for adding custom color to the home.
Some Additional Do’s & Dont’s:
When decorating, be careful to protect your door. Avoid putting a nail in the face of the door, as this can lead to damage in the future and/or could void your door warranty from the original manufacturer. Instead, use a door hanger to hang the wreath from the door knocker, or place a tack on the top of the door frame and use clear fishing line to hang the wreath.
Holiday decorating is a fun way to enjoy the beauty of the season and create an inviting environment for you, friends and family, and all who spend time in your home. Enjoy these Christmas decorating ideas and holiday decorating tips. Combining the inspiration of these Christmas decorating ideas with your own holiday decorating ideas can be a very pleasant way to add more cheer to the 2011 -- and any -- holiday season.