Regional Rules

Traditional holiday decor gets a new twist.

Regional Rules

Decorating for the holidays represents something different for every family. Most of us default to traditional wreaths, garland and delicate white lights. And that's fine. There really isn't a wrong way to decorate.

But since many decorations end up in high-profile spots outside, there are some considerations based on your region that'll make your scheme easier to implement as well as more aesthetically pleasing and fitting. Here's how:

1. Listen to What Your Location Says
Concentrate on the constants surrounding you, such as the climate and indigenous plants and animals, and weave traditional ways of holiday decorating together with the elements from your environment. For instance, if you're in the mountains, arrange your skis on the front porch with luminaries, or hang your old ice skates from the hearth.

2. Recreate the Classics
The Lights Fantastic: Regardless of what region you live in, putting up lights is a given. Go for colored lights or, better yet, blankets of lights already woven together; all you have to do is lay them over your bushes.

For hard-to-reach gutters, windows, porch rails and even mailboxes, there are clips to make stringing easier. For ground-level "runways" along your front walk, there are plastic stakes that bury cords into the ground.

Water Sports: Don't discount birdbaths and fountains; these summer playgrounds for all things that flutter provide fantastic stages for holiday decor. For warmer climates where baths and fountains don't go dry, invest in floating candles and wrap the base in holiday lights, twigs, flowers and garland. For mild to cold climates, where baths and fountains go dry, fill the empty basins with sand. Arrange a variety of candles in varying heights and sizes in the sand, then toss in reflective globes, garland, stones, shells and voila! An outdoor fireplace is born.

Fire Starters:
For homes in warmer regions, outdoor fireplaces are a popular and viable option as are chimenaes (kiln-shaped outdoor stoves), especially if your goal is ambiance and not heating your home. Use these in any region, or even just your regular old grill to keep warm while toasting marshmallows for dessert while sipping eggnog.

Greensleeves: Wreaths and trees are the easiest to modify according to both your style and region. Textiles, twigs, flowers, ribbons, nuts, berries, lights, ornaments, toys and candy are just a few ideas that will personalize your greenery. You can get even more creative though.

If you're a gardener in the Northeast, for example, construct a wreath with old broken clay pot pieces mixed with pine needles, holly berry and ribbon. For log homes in the desert, use the cactus in your front yard and string it with lights. If you live in an area that enjoys four seasons, put up four trees and decorate them based on each one.

No matter where you live, take hints from your locale to devise a decorating scheme to rival no other. Don't forget, however, that it should reflect not only your region, but also your personal style. And above all, make your holiday decorating fun so that you can enjoy all the trappings of this special season.

To read the full story, check out the December 2004 issue of Log Home Living.