Gladys Young of Danville decorates her home with dozens of festive items, yet the result is simplicity and elegance, not clutter. She offers some tips to streamline the process:

1. Simplify by coming up with a theme. On a tree, for instance, "You don't have to have a lot of the same kind of ornaments to do a theme," she said. It takes only a handful of similar items -- whether it's Santas or penguins or Dickens characters -- supplemented with simple pine cones or other ornaments.

2. Use everyday household items in different ways. "I'll move things from other parts of the house for displays," Young said. This year, she moved certain paintings to complement a themed tree, and set up a table lamp in a guest bathroom for gentler lighting near a poinsettia.

3. Keep out the clutter. Make each piece a focal point.

4. Hide cords. "I don't like seeing electrical cords," she said, "so I wrap them around banisters or place greenery over them."

5. Take advantage of post-holiday sales. "Some of the best things I've gotten have been on half price," she said. "You don't have to spend a lot."

Angela Hill

Bay Area News Group



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