Christmas starts here. Decorating your home – inside and out – is often the first step most of us take in embracing the festive season. Whether you’re keeping it strictly minimalist or going to full sparkly, outdoor extravaganza, here’s some ideas to get you started – and for putting a Kiwi spin on things.
- The trend for decorating our homes and gardens has gone from strength to strength in recent years but if you’re new to the concept the best advice is to start small. Pick one good-sized tree or shrub that’s highly visible and light it up. There are also a good range of inflatable outdoor decorations such as Santas and reindeer available from hardware and homeware retailers, which can be an easy, effective way to dip your toe in the decorative waters. Alternatively think about a good lighting display or wreath around or on your front door and porch. It’s a great idea if you’re expecting plenty of Christmas guests.
- If you opt for lighting up a tree, go for a good amount of lights and start at the bottom, wrapping the trunk and work your way up (much as you would your Christmas tree inside).
- For going bigger and decorating other outdoor surfaces strong good quality electrical tape is a good way to fix things firmly and temporarily, without the need for nails and hooks.
- Do some planning first so you get some cohesion to your finished look, rather than have it looking like a messy light explosion. And try mapping out your lighting designs on the ground first. Or use line drawings as a template.
- Make use of the ready availability of LED lights, which will be much kinder to your power bill.
- If you’re reusing lights from previous years take them out ahead of time and give them a thorough check. Any signs of fraying or brittle cords means they should probably be replaced.
- Avoid plugging everything in to one plug socket to avoid overloading and make sure lights and extension cords you use outdoors are weatherproof and use them with an RCD (residual current device). Alternatively, consider solar powered lights.
- Some lights can get hot so make sure they’re not resting on any surface that may melt or scorch.
- If your lights are plugged in, consider adding a timer switch so they turn off at a certain time and aren’t keeping your neighbours awake.
- Outdoor Christmas decorating needn’t just mean a mass of sparkly lights. A southern hemisphere festive season often means outdoor Christmas dinner so think about how you can decorate your back garden, deck or patio – lights, flowers, sea shells, driftwood, baubles and tinsel can all be used to give your outdoor area a temporary Kiwi-flavoured Christmas look.
- If you’d rather admire other people’s decorating handiwork than commit to your own visit co.nz. From December 1 the website will feature a directory of well decorated addresses from around the country so you can tour the best in your region.
- Indoor decorating is much more suited to getting the kids involved whether it’s helping bake gingerbread treats for the tree, or creating their own Christmas decorations.
- Start a family tradition by getting the family together to create a new decoration for the tree each year, marking something great that’s happened during the year.
- If space is at a premium you needn’t forego the tree! Trying lining up bits of driftwood, stretches of green tinsel, or zig-zagged fairy lights in a tree shape attached to a bare wall, then add lights or baubles for a two-dimensional but still festive option.
- It’s also important to remember that decorating need not be just another huge Christmas expense. Don’t underestimate the power of inexpensive crepe paper and glitter to create some fantastic decorations, particularly for crafty kids. Or take to some plain paper with scissor to create clever cut out designs. Youtube and Pinterest are great sources of inspiration.
- Bundle a string of battery-powered fairy lights into a clear glass vase for an easy centre-piece or dot a few around the room for festive mood lighting.