Holiday Season - Making an Entrance

'Tis the season for visitors. Time to make the front of your home-from curb to doorstep to vestibule-as inviting as possible.

From now until New Year's, the year-end social season typically brings plenty of traffic to your front door. With a few tips, big and small, you can create a grand entrance that will leave a real impression with your visitors.

Outside charms

  • Some winter landscaping can go a long way. If it suits your part of the country, include evergreens in your year-round landscape to help counter the missing leaves of deciduous trees. Spruce, pines and hemlock can really warm up a winter scene, especially when the boughs are laden with freshly fallen snow.
  • If the scale of these tree projects seems too daunting, consider potted plants: Pleasing to the eye and always seasonal, potted poinsettias are ideal front-lawn additions, and are typically available at lawn and garden centers from now through the Holiday Season. Display these on your steps, along walkways, on your front porch or grouped around the base of lampposts-anywhere that is somewhat protected from hard freezes. (You may want to cover the poinsettias with a sheet or plastic during cold nights.)
  • Place landscaping lights on your lawn and garden or, better still, along walkways from the sidewalk or driveway to the most-used doorway. They'll not only ensure safer pathways, but also add a little dramatic flair to your winter landscape.
  • Neatly piled firewood in a visible location can add a nice rustic feel.
  • Consider a weather-resistant basket filled with pinecones, decorated with a large ribbon, for a homey touch near your doorway. Create a current of color through your property by adding matching ribbons (made of weather-resistant material ) to your lampposts, mailbox, front door and railings.
  • For enhanced nighttime vision replace all outdoor light bulbs with the highest intensity wattage permitted for their receptacles.
  • Make sure your driveway, front walk and porch are free of snow before guests arrive.
  • Keep salt handy at the front door to sprinkle on icy steps and walkways; a handful or two can help your guests come and go safely.

Inside style
The entrance way may be the only part of your home's interior that some guests see in the coming months, so make it count. Neat, simple and eye-catching is the key.

  • If you live in a snowy and slushy climate, keep a new boot-tray in your front closet. When visitors are due to arrive, clear away the family's footgear to an out-of-the-way place and put out the clean tray.
  • As December arrives, most of us greet our guests with a large front-door wreath. Carry the outdoor theme inside by hanging smaller wreaths on the most visible indoor wall or in choice places, such as around a banquet table. No matter the size, wreaths are the simplest holiday decoration to display and easy to hang with just a hammer and a small nail.
  • Artificial evergreen boughs are also easy embellishments, wrapped around a banister or table legs. But leave the lights for the tree. Instead, you can accent these boughs with ribbons or artificial berries. Select colors that will be prominent against the green and not confine your decor to a strictly Holiday Season look.
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