by Amanda Gates
Gates Interior Design

For most of us, the thought of entertaining can turn us into a tail spin, but the thought of holiday decorating and entertaining plummets us into a nose dive of stress. Thanks in part to the perfection seen in magazines and websites, we have become conditioned to strive for perfection, forgetting entirely that the purpose for holiday gatherings is to have fun and enjoy the festivities.

The biggest trend for this fall/winter season is getting back to basics. Carried over from last year, it is all about blending old with new, getting away from mass produced products, and focusing on homemade. To help make your holidays effortless, be sure to have a few staples on hand that can be used over and over for the next few months. Whether that be dishes, napkins, or staple foods, have those items in close proximity and ready to use.

Wine Glasses, Amanda GatesThe art of effortless decorating is in the planning stages. Plan ahead. And I don’t mean Martha Stewart planning. I’m talking normal people planning. For those of you who don’t know, normal people planning is a legitimate quick list on a posty note (that is sure to get lost, buried in your purse, or stuck to your pant leg) but will eventually get you going in the right direction! A quick list is made by filing through everything you have, or may not have, creating a list of what you need and then trying to make do with as little purchasing as possible.

In order to make that list, here are five main areas to decorate for the holidays:

Table
Fireplace
Stair Bannister
Hall Table
Front Porch
5 Tips To Get You Prepared:
1) Table – Stock up on neutral candles, have linens, platters, and any other serving pieces accessible. Take stock of the items in your pantry that you will need a lot of. Excellent items to have available are sugar cubes, cranberries, nuts, cloves, holiday candies, fruits and vegetables and anything citrus. (Be sure to stock up on commonly used spirits like vodka, gin, rum, champagne, beer and wine.)
2)Fireplace: Use items you already have and keep it simple. Use family photos from around the house, use various tea cups filled with herbs, candy, outdoor leaves and sticks or keep it simple with candles wrapped in ribbon.
3) Stair Bannister -Use easy to find items like cranberries, popcorn, (remember the stocked pantry items we mentioned above) chinese holly, eucalyptus, pine-cones or baby’s breath to decorate with ease. Don’t go overboard. A simple swag with a few adornments from around the house like family photos, stockings, or kids drawings, will make it personal and charming.
4) Hall Table – Like the fireplace, keep it easy and effortless. Use decorations you already have like candles, dried beans, holiday photos, wrapping paper or past holiday cards are excellent ways to celebrate the season.
5) Front Porch -This will welcome family and friends. Keep styrofoam handy from a craft store and adorn it with nuts, cranberries and pumpkins to decorate a wreath that will carry you through to December. Often times when you purchase a tree there are remnants or trimmings left over. Add the tree trimmings to your Thanksgiving wreath to create a beautiful Christmas wreath. Decorate columns, change out the door mat, and place simple lights around the door.

The holidays truly are a magical time of year. Make your decorations work for you through all three holidays and get creative with what you have. It truly is a time of harvest, family and friends. Rather than spending countless hours decorating, spend more time enjoying those closest to you.

Amanda Gates
Interior Designer and Feng Shui Practitioner
Gates Interior Design
615-750-2763

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Andrea Hinds
Andrea has always loved the written word. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and a Masters in Creative Writing, both from Belmont University. Both sides of her family have lived in Williamson County for generations, so writing for Williamson Source is the perfect fit. She loves to hear stories of what Williamson County was like when her parents and grandparents were young and to write about this ever evolving county is truly special for her.