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The Globe and Mail

Five festive decorating ideas (plus one delicious hostess gift)

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DECK THE WALLS Garlands get a fragrant twist with fresh bay or sage leaves and seasonal fruits. Cut a piece of waxed twine to the desired length and knot one end. Drive a wood skewer through the first piece of fruit, thread the twine through the hole and knot it. Attach clusters of bay leaves to the twine using floral wire. Continue alternating between fruit and leaves until the twine is full. Finish the garland with a piece of fruit. Styling by Emma Reddington.

Mark Peckmezian/The Globe and Mail

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TAKE A LITTLE BOUGH Skip the towering tree that gets tossed to the curb post-holiday and opt for a small, simply decorated potted fir or spruce wrapped in burlap and secured with string. (Set the tree on a draining plate before you swaddle it.) To admire its silhouette from both inside and outdoors, place the tree next to a window. Come spring, plant it in your garden.

Mark Peckmezian/The Globe and Mail

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THE PROOF (OF A GOOD GUEST) IS IN THE PUDDING A true hostess gift for the ages? Homemade plum pudding. Once the pudding is cool and unmoulded, bundle it up in cheesecloth or parchment. Wrap it with a sheet of clean wrapping paper fastened with a ribbon. For a present every bit as useful as it is delicious, cook the pudding in an antique copper pot and deliver it pot and all.

Mark Peckmezian/The Globe and Mail

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CALLL IT A WRAP Presents wrapped in Kraft paper, twine and vintage ribbon make as charming a vignette perched on a chair as they do under a tree. Layer in a nod to Charles Dickens by grounding the stack with an antique volume, preferably one by him.

Mark Peckmezian/The Globe and Mail

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FROM TREETOP TO TABLETOP Ornaments that don’t make it onto the tree can be used to create a low-lying centrepiece that won’t obstruct sightlines or conversation. Line a vintage wooden bottle crate with a natural material such as raffia, then tuck ornaments, interspersed with votives in glass holders, into the compartments.

Mark Peckmezian/The Globe and Mail

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GO NUTS In addition to elaborate tin and glass ornaments, Victorians trimmed their Christmas trees with festive clusters of nuts and fruits. This nut garland can be easily made by drilling holes through unshelled walnuts, chestnuts and almonds, then threading them onto a piece of waxed twine.

Mark Peckmezian/The Globe and Mail

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