Although my decorating isn't elaborate, it is deliberate. To make the house look cohesive, not hodge-podgey, I confine my color palette to white/blue/gold/silver. These colors work well for me, because they complement the blues and grays I always have in the house anyway. And the colors equally represent Hanukkah, Christmas, and winter in general.
I hang oversize, glittery snowflakes in the front window so the house looks festive from the street:
And then I do a lot of "plop-and-fill" decorating inside.
I grab containers I already have and fill them with decorative, seasonal objects. I load oversize hurricane jars with things like pine cones picked up on my walks, inexpensive snowflakes and glittery objects from Jo-Ann Fabrics (60% off all holiday stuff right now!), and a short strand of tinsel:
(To avoid bringing live bugs in with the pine cones, pop them in a sealed plastic bag and place in the freezer for 24 hours.)
You can achieve this same easy look by using a glass punch bowl, oversize flower vases, or even an old glass fishbowl.
The idea here is to keep it simple. Use things you already own. Fill containers you already own.
Other ideas for filling glass containers:
Balls of yarn (try green/white/red or white/pale blue)
Strips of wrapping paper or construction paper
Small plastic balls (raid your kids' ball pit and grab all the green and red ones)
Lego pieces (red/green or blue/white)
Mittens, scarves, and knit hats in holiday colors
Glass containers are just the start for me. I go around the house, plopping and filling. The little creamer that holds my collection of tea strainers gets a bow and a snowflake:
These adorable Champagne coupes (99 cents each at Goodwill) get filled with an assortment of little objects and set on a tray for a quick, festive look:
The marbles and stainless-steel beads in this coupe came out of my junk drawer. They don't look junky, though, because they follow my same blue/white/shiny theme:
Who uses crystal salt cellars and/or crystal carving-knife rests any more? Nobody I know. But plop them all in a little crystal dish, and they become holiday decor:
A few years ago, I bought a lot of plastic snowflakes at a 99 Cent store after Christmas, when they were deeply discounted. Just hanging them here and there on my regular household items makes things merrier:
Even wrapped gifts get the plop-and-fill treatment. Here, they are beginning to fill up the empty space below our wall-mounted television and above the cabinet that holds all the electronics:
Lovely Daughter #1 painted this years ago when she was a middle schooler. I stick it on a display bracket and enjoy seeing it every December:
And of course I love filling the hutch with seasonal things. (This is the beauty I found in the alley and dragged back home with help from The Hubby.):
A junk-shop wine cooler gets filled with decorative ceramic balls and more snowflakes:
The dish contains acorns--some I dipped in glue, then glitter---and star anise. You could do the same thing with sticks of cinnamon, or whole nutmegs, or tiny pine cones:
If your holiday decorating is taking too much of your time, storage space, or money, repeat this mantra: Plop and fill. Limit your color choices. Use what you have.
And enjoy your life more!