Tonawanda News

November 17, 2013

DESIGNS BY DANA: Use nature's bounty to decorate for holiday season

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Question: How do you like to decorate a home for the holidays?

Answer: For me personally, the upcoming holidays are meant to be a time for family, friends and special traditions.  

I enjoy reverting back to older days when the atmosphere of the holiday season was simple and relaxed; when a handmade sweater was a special gift or a fresh-baked pie was looked forward to with anticipation. I like to continue this feeling through my indoor holiday decorating.

As much as possible I try to bring the outdoors in and let nature supply the special trimmings for the season just as it did long ago. There is something special about getting the family together on a brisk, sunny fall afternoon to gather pinecones, chestnuts and evergreen branches. Later we sip hot cocoa as we sort and trim what we’ve collected.

I use florists’ wire, foam and red ribbon to arrange our gatherings into various centerpieces, wreaths and swags. Fresh cuttings last a long time along with the bonus of the great aroma they provide.

Holly branches are another favorite of mine; they look nice layered on window sills, poking out amongst items on shelves or grouped together in a vase. If you don’t have any holly bushes of your own most floral shops should sell branches at this time of year. Holly is very hearty and the red berries add just the right amount of color to any arrangement.

Clear glass serving pieces are perfect for natural holiday decorating. Fill bowls with nuts and cranberries; center an ivory pillar candle on a footed cake plate and surround it with acorns or holly; group together various-sized drinking glasses, and fill some with nuts and berries and place ivory votive’s in a few others. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Don’t forget the popcorn. What could be better than sitting with your family and watching holiday movies while you string popcorn and cranberries?  I find dental floss in place of string works best when used with an embroidery needle. Your finished products can be hung on a tree, around doors or among pine boughs on banisters and mantels. These work well outdoors too and are greatly appreciated by nature’s small creatures.

We all know that the holiday season can get very stressful and very costly. De-stress a little by decorating with the things nature provides for us; it can be relaxing and fun, it’s easy on the wallet and you will create beautiful memories as well as beautiful rooms.

Dana Longfritz is the owner of Interiors by Dana. You can email your design questions to her at or contact her at M. Carter Decor 434-2159.