Home & Garden

Give your tree a fresh look with these ideas

Decorating the Christmas tree is a special part of the holiday tradition. The type of tree (is it spruce or cedar or artificial?), the ornaments (some of which have been passed down through the generations), even which day you put the tree up all fall into a familiar, comforting pattern.

I do look forward to bringing out our old collection of beloved, and often bedraggled, ornaments and revisiting memories of Christmases past. But I also get the urge to splurge on a fresh, new look, perhaps a change in tempo that will match this year’s celebrations.

Choosing a theme will spark your imagination. So with a few guidelines on what to look for, and what you can make yourself, here are a selection of winning styles that will contribute to joyful entertaining and high spirits.

For a young, sophisticated look I designed the Pistachio Tree.

Branches are draped in silver and bronze ribbons and bows, and delicate translucent ornaments and sparkling balls. Shades of pale green, nutty brown, bronze and silvery white create a subtle, serene mood. Add the bronze touches to clusters of nuts or small berry sprigs with bronze spray paint.

A kid-friendly Peppermint Tree will bring out a child’s excitement in all of us. Stick to red and white, and you’ve got it made. Look for tiny toy drums and boxes, re-wrap them in white paper if necessary and paint on the red bands. Ribbons and bows are easy. Load the branches with bright red and sparkling white balls and, of course, candy canes. Yummy.

If you are having a country Christmas, imagine the cool, clear beauty of the winter woodlands, and build a tree around pure white, sky blue and the sparkle of silver. Fat snowflakes swing in the wind, round, jolly snowmen and polar bears play on the branches, and silver birds perch on small, bare-branched wreaths. Children can help you cut out snowflake ornaments, bears and snowmen. Easy and fun to decorate for a personalized family tree.

If romance is in the air, this is the year to let your whimsical spirit lead you. Work in pastel tones, and make garlands of flowers and lacy hearts to weave through the branches. An abundance of pretty ornaments is called for to make the statement – large feathers, glittering butterflies and birds, delicate ribbons and tiny fairy lights. As a sweet touch, wrap up miniature packages of candies to hang from the branches.

My most dramatic tree replicates the high color and excitement of a masquerade ball.

I designed miniature masks, multicolored balls, birds and butterflies, and small costumed figures that dance over the branches.

To create your own version, go bold with saturated colors of the night – purple, indigo, orange and lots of gold. Cut out masks from cardboard, paint or cover with satin and trim found at your fabric store.

Pick a theme that suits your mood this year, and I guarantee you will not be able to stop yourself once you begin.

For more tips on trimming the tree and to watch my video on how to trim the perfect tree, go to www. canadiantire.ca and click on “See Debbie Travis’ Video” at the bottom of the screen. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/debbie_travis. Please e-mail your questions to house2home@debbietravis.com.