Greens & Ribbons Make Holiday Displays Beautiful

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Whether it’s your Christmas tree, banister, mantel or a tabletop display, the best way to make your holiday décor stunning is to start with my two favorite tools: greens and ribbons. Gorgeous greens take your displays to the next level, and holiday ribbons give them character and charm. Here are a few suggestions from the Nell Hill’s team to get you started:


Add picks to your tree to make it more lifelike.


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The secret to a sensational Christmas tree is to pop it up with greenery picks. Think of your undecorated tree as the base of your display, that “little black dress” just waiting for the right accents.  Before you add the ornaments, tuck in a mix of greenery picks. Check out the snapshot above of a tree at Nell Hill’s Briarcliff. The plain old artificial tree was transformed as we tucked in a mix of pine picks featuring different sized and colored needles, and red berry sprigs. When you add variations in colors, textures and sizes, you give your tree added dimension.


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We couldn’t resist turning the over-sized garden urns that flank the front of our Briarcliff store into Christmas tree stands. If you look closely, you can see there are several tones and shades of green in the tree. Those are the picks at work. For more drama, use long picks that extend out from the cone of the tree and ascend from the tree’s top.


Make your mantels lush.

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Give your mantel display more visual punch by including some long, strong picks that overhang the sides and front of the fireplace.

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Work in picks that contrast with the base garland on your mantel to bring in more pizzazz, like red berries, silver leaves, bare sticks and pinecones.


Thread greens into displays around your home.

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A great way to add a splash of holiday cheer to your home without putting in tons of time is to simply add some greens to your existing displays.

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I’m over the moon about these yule logs, and we’re having a heyday including them in displays around the stores. You’ll see them on top of book shelves, on table displays and even zip tied into our Christmas trees. Here, we rested a few on top of this bookcase, then filled in with faux pine greens. It’s a great way to give that empty space above your tall cabinets some seasonal charm, and it just takes minutes.


Mix up your ribbons.

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Bev, our seasonal floral designer at Nell Hill’s, is a wiz with ribbons, and in display after display at the stores, she shows how these long strips of wired fabric can take a space from meh to marvelous. Bev says, “A lot of times, your wreath, your tree, your mantel or banister is more about the ribbon than anything else.” Just changing out the accent ribbons you use on your tree will give it new life, she shares.

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Using ribbons can be intimidating if you don’t know where to start. Bev suggests first picking a mix of several ribbons for your displays, pulling together different weights, widths, colors and patterns. She often layers two ribbons, one on top of the other, with the widest or heaviest one in the back.


Work with manageable lengths of ribbon.

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Bev suggests cutting the ribbon into lengths of about three yards each so you can work with it more easily. You can finish the ends in a straight cut or a traditional dart. Bev likes to then twist the ribbon sections into loose, lazy loops. When she’s using ribbon on a Christmas tree, like in the photo above, she gently pokes the sections of ribbon into the branches of the tree, starting top down, side to side. She never winds the ribbon strips all the way around the tree, but instead tucks them in, section by section, because she finds it’s easier to work with the ribbon that way and she likes the finished look better.


Make mock bows.

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I could not tie a beautiful bow to save my life, and I’m guessing a lot of you are in the same predicament. So we use a cheater technique at Nell Hill’s that you might like to try, too. Just create loops with your ribbon until it forms a bow you like, then secure them in place at the bottom with some wire or a zip tie. That’s it!


Next Week … We dressed up my front door with several looks to inspire you as you decorate your home’s exterior.