It’s that time of year again. Carols, hot cocoa, cookies (lots of cookies), spending time with friends and family. Most of us like to decorate our homes to reflect the joy of the season, and to make our visitors feel welcome and cared for. It’s not necessary, and somewhat counter to the whole message of the holidays to spend needlessly on mass-produced, dime-a-dozen decorations. Here are some  easy, inexpensive, and eco friendly ideas for making your home beautiful.EF554908-0522-4455-AF78-6015007F385B

 1. Scour your backyard or any willing neighbors’ yards for free greenery.  Gather a variety of textures, shades, and sizes of foliage. Ivy, boxwood, and holly are plentiful in our area, holly being perfect for decorating with- the glossy and pointed leaves, the bright red berries. (For a full list of suggested greenery and tips for keeping it fresh, visit the “Holiday Decorating with Fresh Greenery” page at clemson.edu.) Grab some cut logs and some gorgeously linear deciduous branches too.6C9A1F53-247C-47C1-A5ED-6838CE22FA3F

 

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2. Use fruit and vegetables as display. Eat them before they spoil and replenish as needed. One of the prettiest things I’ve seen was an indigo bowl simply filled with ruby pomegranates and burnished red d’anjou pears.C5E533E7-6037-4472-8AFB-2AC403D0444EThough never in season in the Northeast, citrus’ growing season in the warmer climates of Florida and California falls conveniently in line with the winter holidays. Bright lemons, oranges, and limes make a festive display. If you’re up to expending a little more effort, nothing that I know of smells more like Christmas than a bunch of pomanders. F70114D4-49E9-4249-A252-5A6E08A94619Sugared fruit glistens just like snow. (For a how-to, try Martha Stewart’s sugared fruit recipe at marthastewart.com.) Image via bhg.com.F6A543CA-670C-4A6B-AD93-A0C7FE6B7022

 3. Create something interesting and sentimental with your collections. Imagine an antique toy car collection with faux Christmas trees tied to the roofs, and tiny packages spilling from the trunks. Or a grouping of flea market frames, hung with gilded pine cones and wreaths. 085977D4-AA39-4F54-8D39-54CEBFE0162F

4 . The mirror trick. Again.7FC5BCA7-8BE0-44C5-B844-BAB05FB9DDA4The way they throw light and reflect anything set in front of them, making it  appear even more abundant; frugality and economy at their finest. Just be sure the image you’re seeing twice is nice to begin with.

 

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6. Adorn every surface you can. Anything is fair game. While I am usually one for going at things lightly, this is the time of year when you should overdo it. The more, the merrier.443258FC-691D-4CEB-AB35-91D993011EE8

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