Jingle bells & baubles

Jingle bells & baubles
The Straits Times

The surest way to add festive cheer to a home is a decorated Christmas tree. Stylists, visual merchandisers and home owners tell Bryna Singh and Natasha Ann Zachariah how they do it. 

Fake it

If you want to keep your decorations up for longer, pick a plastic tree. Real trees may give off a fresh pine scent, but they last for less than a month.

16 cheap and wacky Christmas ideas for small homes
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  • These were made by singer Taylor Swift last year.
  • She posted the photo on her Instagram account and fans raved about her creativity.
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  • Spice it up by pasting twigs and holly branches around the cards.
  • This half-tree, available on target.com, is perfect for small living spaces. You can place the tree against a wall in a corner and no one will ever notice it is not a whole tree.
  • Photo: Pinterest
  • These cost less than a full-sized tree, and can be equally as charming!
  • Decorate your house with food so you can eat it later too.
  • You can use small toys and ornaments by hanging them on the ceiling. This way, you don't need such an elaborate tree.
  • Stick your Christmas stockings and other decorations on the wall to save space.
  • Learn how to make these at makeit-loveit.com.
  • Place and organise colourful festive wrapping paper on walls or in corners of the home.
  • Make sure you clean them thoroughly.
  • Turn them inside out and wrap your presents in them.
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  • This will reduce your need for kitchen space and save you lots of money too.
  • These can include strings of beads or just small Chrtistmas-related ornaments found on store-bought cakes and bread.
  • Instead of wasting money and cluttering your house up with gifts, give the gift of a service this Christmas. So if you are good at nail painting, give your sister a voucher for a manicure.
  • If you want to keep your decorations up for longer, pick a plastic tree. Real trees may give off a fresh pine scent, but they last for less than a month.
  • Experienced tree decorators say green trees are the easiest to work with because that is the most natural colour and they look good with a wider variety of ornaments.
  • Tree decorators say too many colours will make a tree look messy. Most recommend decking it out with just two main hues.
  • Trees without a theme can be dull or cluttered, so home owners can experiment with simple colour palettes such as red, silver or gold, with ornaments in similar hues.
  • Focus on scale. First, hang larger ornaments or those with more unique shapes near the bottom, which is wider, so things will look proportionate.
  • Besides the traditional star as a tree- topper, you can also spice things up with alternatives such as wreaths and big ribbons. You can hang letters around the tree to spell out a message too.

Or take the chance to make your own decorations.
  • Besides regular white or coloured lights, you can also pick options such as icicle-styled ones. There are choices, too, for the green decorator, such as eco-friendly LED lights which can last longer.

If you want your fake tree to smell good, Mr Zainal Zin, 44, Metro's senior visual merchandising executive, suggests you spray scented room freshener on it before dressing it up.

Some stores also offer fake trees with special effects. Gifts and lifestyle merchandise store Monoyono has been bringing in about 200 plastic made-in-China Christmas trees a year. They come with built-in blowers for the fake snow and usually sell out by mid-December.

The 1.9m-tall trees, which cost $252 each, come with styrofoam snow beads so you can create your own version of a winter wonderland.

Switch on the blower and the beads will fly up. They will fall back into the umbrella-like base so you do not have to worry about making a mess. The package comes with Christmas lights and simple ornaments too.

Mr Lee Cheun Kiat, marketing manager of the store which has outlets in Plaza Singapura, VivoCity and Raffles City, says: "For some home owners, it's a tradition to have a tree at home, but they might want something that's not static. This is something different."

Go green

Fake trees now come in daring colours such as neon pink, metallic blue and rainbow shades.

But experienced tree decorators say green trees are the easiest to work with because that is the most natural colour and they look good with a wider variety of ornaments.

Next>> Stick to a simple palette

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  • They're doing it right.
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  • Separate yourself with a partition
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  • You can go big on decoration but keeping it all quite compact and miniature at the same time.
  • Nick takes us on a tour of this cosy, edgy studio
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