How to Make Big Impact With Little Things

15 Minutes

We all know decorating, especially around the holidays, doesn't have to be a big, whole house event. Sometimes simple really is better. I have several things in my Christmas collections - little things, simple things - that make a big impact for me every year at Christmastime. Some of them are simply to enhance what's already in place.
Take my display in the sunroom as one example. When my landscape garden birch trees succumbed to birch bore a couple years ago, they had to be cut down. I salvaged the logs and created a couple of decorated vignettes in my home with them - one by the sunroom doors, and the other by the fireside. The trees are long gone, but their memory stays with me. After the holidays, I leave the logs in the containers and just remove the decorations.
I arranged the birch logs in a vintage olive sieve obtained at the flea market, added neighborhood pinecones, one string of 20 electric, white lights from Big Lots ($5), and two oversized plastic ornaments (pkg of 5/$10, but I also saw them at the Dollar Tree). The nested boxes were an after-Christmas gift shop purchase years ago ($15), stacked on a miniature sled bought at a local drugstore for around $15.
For the fireside, I simply arranged the logs in the square wire basket, inserted some pinecones gathered in the neighborhood, one faux spray and one package of 14" silver-painted willow branches with battery-operated lights (from my local drugstore, $5 for the spray, $10 for the lighted branches).
Here are some additional easy, little ways of brightening your decor.
A mason jar filled with scented pinecones (MIchaels, on sale), mixed with another set of 20 electric (this time brown) string of lights from Big Lots. Just put in a few cones, a few inches of the string of lights, and layer until filled. Be careful and leave the plug end of the string the last to be inserted into the jar so it can be plugged in. An airy doily or piece of lace over the top will allow you to pull the plug through and still have a pretty layer under the metal screw top. A ribbon around the rim completes the look.
In my TV/Family space, I have bookshelves that tend to be dark, so I lightened the space up with Little Lites, (a $5 string of battery-operated lights from Big Lots), some neighborhood pinecones, the rest of my oversized ornaments, jingle bells, and birch logs cut into graduated risers. I used what ironstone I already had on the shelf, put a few lids away, and inverted one small tureen as a riser inside for a simple display. The red jingle bells are from Dollar Tree.
In my hard-working laundry room/mudroom/powder room, I have a collection of whisk brooms on a stepstool under the lightswitch, arranged in small, vintage marmalade pots (flea market). On the dryer, vintage, hand-crocheted potholders (a subcollection within my vintage textiles) fill an antique wash basin. I moved all the red ones to the top and stuck a string of the battery-operated Little Lites into it. The red jingle bells, gingerbread men and tree are from Dollar Tree.
Another string of Little Lites woven around the nativity scene brighten another shelf. These lights are great, with an automatic, 6-hr timer built in, so you can set it and forget it!
A set of 20, electric strung lights is woven around the central metal tree I use for displaying part of my vintage purse collection in the bedroom, lighting up an otherwise dead-space corner.
Yet another string of lights on an otherwise dark shelf to brighten up a miniature porcelain Santa and tree collection. Branch sections of real greens interwoven among the lights make for an enchanted landscape.
No lights here, except in the form of textiles. Vintage, hand-crocheted potholders shaped like the old C7 lightbulbs brighten the bath.
All of these are small and easy ways to create big impact, and many don't have to be limited to just the holidays. Little things, little lights, big impact!

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