Being short on time and living space, I’ve honed my holiday decorations to be spare but potent, using tried-and-true materials — some found — in different ways each year. I want them to connect me to the holiday feeling in the best way possible, without my buying a bunch of overwrought, holiday specific items I’ll only use once a year.

My favorite are string lights, which can be shaped into wreaths and trees or just draped over and around mantles, pictures, lamps etc, or piled into vessels for free form effects…(they’re lovely year-round).

Copper twine lights are especially nice: The wire is both pretty and malleable enough to form into different shapes. I like these copper wire lights from Amazon because they’re dimmable (some LEDs can be pretty bright). I sprawl them on the window sill by my dining table to add a festive glow.

Sally Schneider

…They also can be wound easily into a wreath. Spiral them into a round or use shape thick crafts wire made of copper, silver or colorsinto a circular form to wrap the string lights around…


Terrain’s Stargazer Battery Powered Glass Bubble Lights make an especially lovely wreath (though they are a bit fragile).


Copper wire lights are also malleable enough to forge into a tree by just zigzagging them back and forth as you tack them to the wall…

Grapevine, with or without lights, ribbon or flowers, also makes a lovely organic form that you can keep through the years OR burn pieces of to scent your space with wood smoke or for pan-smoking foods on your stovetop (If the grapevine wreath is very dense, unwind some of the branches to thin it; keep the pruned bits for smoking). You can buy grapevine wreaths at garden and home stores.

 For more inspiration and possibilities, check out this vast array of string lights

In addition, I’ll hang a few vintage ornaments around my space…

Sally Schneider

…and arrange fragrant pine branches foraged from the park or the Christmas tree dealer who sets up camp across the way.

Sally Schneider

A sprig of cedar I put in water for an adhoc flower arrangement last year sprouted roots and is on its way to becoming a tree.

Sally Schneider

…lots of possibilities…

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5 replies on “Holiday Decorations for Lazy People

  1. That’s the Charlie Brown christmas tree : )

  2. Hi Sally,
    this is the second time you’ve mentioned the “sprig of spruce” that rooted in water. Each time the matching photo shows a rooted cedar – basic point remains and it’s a good one but would you keep introducing your neighbor Jane as June?
    Don’t mean to be negative because I love your blog, but I thought you’d want to know.
    Thank you for everything you do. You are a master curator!

    Joys of the season —

  3. Thanks Kathy. Try as do, I am prone to errors like this: after handling so many details in a post, I get blind to some, even though I may know better. I am wearing too many hats: content editor, writer, photographer, photo editor, retoucher, social media person… and haven’t yet found how to do it otherwise.

    Feel free to send any corrections that need being to be made, and I will sharpen my eyes some more.

  4. I adore posts like these. So simple, subtle, and meaningful. It inspires me.

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