I will be the first to admit, I grew up as a bit of a stem snob. I thought the only way to bring a festive forest into my home was with real pine and arrangements. However, thanks to Mary Carol Garrity years ago, I have discovered that faux can be just as beautiful and much less messy. Seeing her stunning garland, along with wonderful faux trees and stems, had me saying no to needles and so long to sap drippings for good.
Each year, I get so excited to bring the holidays into my home without fearing the mess it makes on my wooden floors and favorite floor coverings.
When it comes to decorating for the holiday season, I like to start with stems. A great display is built up in layers and levels, each as important as the next. Beginning with greenery allows a strong base canvas to display all of your holiday splendor. You can’t very well add ornaments until you get the tree up.
While the Christmas tree is known to steal the spotlight in a room, it wouldn’t be the star it is without a little help from added greenery.
Garlands and picks are just as important as the tree when it comes to your holiday displays. Picks in particular are the unsung hero of home decorating and come in a wide variety of sizes, colors and styles. You can use them to create any holiday look you want, from traditional to whimsical, glam to rustic.
The secret to making them look fabulous and not flat is to work with them before you start decorating. Bend and shape the branches so they look perfectly imperfect, like you just pulled them from the woods (and not a box).
I use picks everywhere from the mantel to the table. Adding a sprig to your napkin holder or a few stems to your centerpiece can bring color and volume to your displays.
The most important place we use picks is in our trees and garlands. We use artificial trees, and picks are our go-to tool to make the trees full and lush. We tuck them in here and there (and everywhere), filling in bare places and giving the overall tree more dimension and interest.
You can use garland all over your home, whether you want to snake some down the center of your dining table, loop it up a banister or drape it over your mantel.
It is A-OK to improvise, too.
Try cutting a 6-foot garland in half and use it to decorate your buffet, or thread it through the arms of your dining room chandelier. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to decorating for the season.
To create an interesting swag on each corner of your fireplace mantel, you can even cut a piece of garland in half to use on each side. Dress it up with ribbon, picks and ornaments, and you have a beautiful holiday treatment ready for family and friends to admire.
Katie Laughridge is the owner of Kansas City interior design destination Nell Hill’s.