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Top 5 Traditional Holiday Decorating Themes

White Christmas

Emphasizing the depth of winter, White Christmas is a popular theme even where snow is rare. But don't think of this as a monochromatic theme. Green is a foundation color in the Christmas tree, wreaths and garlands. Silver, gold and shades of beige focus the spotlight on whites in the canvas.

Traditionally, winter solstice was marked by the lighting of candles to throw back the darkness of the longest night of the year. So your White Christmas tree should shine with plenty of white lights wrapped around each branch. Snow, too, is essential. You can dust the branches of a live tree with artificial spray snow for a natural, freshly fallen snow look; but remember that you need the green of the tree to make your white ornaments stand out, so use a light touch.

Less is more in the area of decorations, too. Consider the clean look of a snow-covered anything. Carry this pristine feeling to your tree decorations. A scattering of snowflakes, icicles, silver stars and gold balls lends your tree a calm, unhurried aesthetic. Accentuate the simplicity with a single spire at the top.

Below the tree, bury gifts wrapped in white, beige, gold and silver in drifts of snow-like quilt batting. Hang white stockings under a green garland decorated with white silk poinsettias and faux mistletoe berries. Clusters of white candles in silver and gold holders bring hopeful lights to other parts of the room.

You can easily carry the White Christmas theme to the dining room with white linens and silver or gold flatware. For a clean, simple centerpiece, mass silver and gold spray-painted pinecones in clear glass containers. You can even drape your dining chairs with white fabric and tie them with big gold bows.

There's another December tradition after Christmas. Learn about it on the next page.