What a nice treat, I was in the middle of decorating the exterior of my house with Christmas garland for the holidays and it started to snow. It was a wet kind of snow, so I had to stop because I was getting soaked, but when I went back outside everything looked so pretty that I went back inside to get my camera. I like the classic red and green theme for the exterior of my home and was lucky to get some real deals on some decorations.
I have worked on and off for Macy’s doing visuals since I was in college, starting at the flagship New York Store to the one in San Francisco, and most recently near my home in suburban Philadelphia where I was hired for a few weeks to help decorate the store for Christmas.
There were 3 of us and it took us 5 weeks to light, decorate, and hang all of the decorations throughout the store. At the end of the job, Macy’s had a visual sale. They do it every few years to clean out the prop rooms. I got the big Christmas garland over my front door for $5.00, wreaths for the windows were a few bucks a piece. These are not your run of the mill garlands and wreaths. They are really full and fluffy. A whole carton of twinkling, not blinking white lights for $5.00, cartons of wide shimmery wired ribbon, and a gazillion red and gold ornaments with thick wire attached to mold around garland and trees. There was tons of stuff to choose from, a good portion of it was big and oversized.
Since I worked there I knew what was going to be sold and had first pick. I brought a van and my friend Karen – we had a great time. The christmas garlands were huge and heavily covered with fake fruit and gold ribbon, we could hardly carry them through the store, let alone try to get two of them in the back of a mini-van. When I got home, I stripped everything off and fluffed and replaced with the white twinkly lights and red ribbon – a simple classic look. While I enjoy using live greenery sometimes, it would be very costly to decorate your whole house each year.
Employees usually know in advance about these sales and usually buy the bulk of what is being sold. If you know someone who works at a department store, they would have the inside track. If you don’t and would like to get some great stuff-and not just Christmas decorations you should call a local store and ask to speak to the visual manager. Tell them how excited you would be if they could e-mail or call you when they are going to have a sale. Tell them you won’t need any assistance getting it out of the store and into your car and that you will have cash ready to pay for it all.
If you can’t find one of these sales near you, here are a few tips to create some outdoor Christmas garland decorations on your own.
1. Beef up the skinny 9′ Christmas garlands they sell at craft stores by wiring a few together to create one thick one. Add a few different types of garland, (some with pinecones attached, another, plain) together for a more natural look. Then fluff, fluff, fluff. 3 faux garlands will make a nice full fluffy one. Use florist wire to attach them.
-Lay out all the garlands on the floor so they are stretched out. Bring one end of each garland in your hand and then secure them together with florist wire. Twist the florist wire ends together to secure. Repeat on the other end. Along the center of the garland, take one small branch from each garland the use the florist wire to attach them. You don’t want the wire going over all the garlands, just choose a few sprigs and places along the garland to attach so that you have one larger garland.
2. To get ornament balls perfectly placed on wreaths and garlands: Remove ornament cap. Cut a 12″ length of heavy gauge wire and bend 2″ from one end into an L shape. Thread the bent end through cap and then into the ornament. Push cap back into place. The bent end of the wire will keep the wire from coming out of the ornament. Use three different size ornaments for more interest. Twist the wires together and wrap with florist tape. The heavy gauge wire lets you mold the ornaments exactly where you want and they will stay in place.
If you don’t have any store sales in your area and are still seeking that perfect door decoration, click here for a tutorial on how to make a beautiful paper wreath.