For Immediate Release
Florida Holidays, 2003: Tired of the same old traditional Christmas decorations? Is your animated Santa saying "Humbug!" instead of "Ho, Ho, Ho"? Perhaps you have a second tree you want to decorate with a little more unusual holiday flair. Maybe you live in a multi-cultural family or are planning a company holiday party and are trying to balance several religious beliefs. Whatever your reason for making a change, Phyllis Cambria and Patty Sachs, celebration experts, owners of PartyPlansPlus.com and authors of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Throwing a Great Party (Alpha Books/Macmillan) and soon-to-be-released, The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Choosing a Caterer (Penguin Books) offer some innovative ways to give your holiday décor and traditions a tantalizing twist.
Suspend silver sheriff's badges on your tree or over your dining or buffet table instead of traditional stars.
Use red bandanas tied to tree branches, tacked across your mantel, as napkins or laid out as place mats.
Drape thick rope on your tree's branches or mantel instead of the usual garland.
Attach toy or infant-sized cowboy boots to your tree and intersperse with plain, red ball-shaped ornaments. Add mini-cowboy hats with red and green ribbon bands for a toe-to-head western wear décor theme.
Fasten a variety of jingle bells with gingham ribbon to act as spurs to the back of a cowboy boot and use as a vase for dried flowers. Alternatively, line the boot with a plastic bag and use with fresh flowers for a holiday hoedown centerpiece.
Hot glue strips of gingham or denim ribbon around plain ornaments for a country-western Christmas.
Trim handles of camping cookware with ribbons, mistletoe or holly for your holiday home.
Wrap presents in gingham, burlap or denim fabric and tie with raffia straw bows. Tie up gifts in red bandanas to make your cowpokes smile.
Call guests to dinner with a ribbon-tied cowbell.
Decorate a palm tree instead of a typical evergreen.
Trim your tree with exotic blossoms (paper, silk or real) and fake tropical birds.
Loop leis together for a colorful garland.
Core a real or plastic pineapple and use as your tree topper.
Wrap gifts in tropical print papers, fabric or large banana leaves.
Use giant banana leaves as place mats.
Create a centerpiece with amaryllis blossoms and sugar cane.
Substitute leis for ribbons on gift boxes.
Instead of Christmas-designed luminarias, use colorful paper lanterns instead.
Spread out a grass skirt as your tree skirt.
Use floating floral candles in stemware on dining tables.
Use pineapple-flavored candy canes as stirrers in your Pina Colada or Mai Tai.
Line your walkway with tiki torches wrapped with ribbon to resemble candy canes.
Place votive candles in large flower-shaped plastic trays and, weather-permitting, float in your pool.
As a lawn decoration, dress your Santa in a bathing suit and sunglasses. Have the reindeer pull him on a gift-laden surfboard or wave-runner instead of sleigh.
Trim your (palm or evergreen) tree with seashells, seagulls and tropical fish.
Create a giant "sandman" with large foam balls. Spray with adhesive and cover in sand. Add sunglasses, a beachcomber's hat and other summer attire instead of a winter wardrobe.
Use long strands of pearls for your garland on your tree or mantle.
Cover a cone-shaped topiary with seashells as a mini tree and use it as a centerpiece or mantel decoration.
Top your tree with a starfish.
Use colorful fishnet on top of plain, brown wrapping paper for table covers or large item gift wrap.
Decorate your tree with colorful mini beach balls.
Use strings of tropical fish lights entwined with fish net as a mantle swag.
Paint guests' names on seashells as place cards.
Suspend fake angelfish on monofilament over your dining or buffet tables.
Multi-colored lights with large bulbs (as opposed to small twinkle lights popular today), along with plain red and green or blown glass ornaments were standard '50s tree trim.
After decorated with lights and bulbs, trees were then trimmed with carefully-placed silver tinsel and/or angel hair.
Tree toppers were traditionally angels, but for a little fun, you can top yours with a battery-operated disco ball instead.
Make a pink felt tree skirt—don’t forget the poodles.
Scour thrift shops, garage sales or on-line auctions for 1950s Coca-Cola trays or other items bearing Santa's image. Replica merchandise is also available in many department, specialty and discount stores or catalogs.
Stand red and white-striped taper candles in old-fashioned ice cream soda glasses filled with pink carnations sans stems for table décor.
Tie long strands of red ribbons with a collection of jingle bells to the backs of each guest's chair.
Cover a plain water glass with an ankle-high tube sock, roll down the cuff. Trim the sock with ribbons and jingle bells to serve as a coaster and décor. For extra personalization, with embroidery thread or fabric paint, add the name of each guest onto the sock to serve as a place card and party favor. (Be sure to give guests their matching sock.)
Trim your tree with a collection of colorful paper flowers. (Instructions on this link. http://www.partyplansplus.com/partyideas/flowers.htm )
Remember, red, green and white – traditional Christmas colors – are also the colors of the Mexican flag.
Cover your buffet with a serape.
Loop a holiday wreath around the neck of a donkey piñata to serve as your centerpiece.
Use Mexican metal lanterns as luminarias on your lawn. You can create your own with large metal cans with holes punched in a Christmas tree pattern to let your candle glow through.
No Latin Christmas décor would be complete without a complete nativity set. A live re-enactment of the nativity scene would be even more traditional.
Replace a typical tree skirt with a colorful, ruffled Mexican skirt.
Fill your home with colorful poinsettia plants.
Create wreaths of bright flowers, place around the crown of a sombrero and hang on the wall or use as table decoration.
Consider postponing (or holding a second) celebration on January 6 – the Feast of the Epiphany also known as Three Kings Day or Little Christmas. On this day, the three wise men brought gifts to the Christ child. On the eve of January 6, Mexican children leave their shoes outside their door to awaken the next morning to find them filled with candy and trinkets.
For dozens of links to more holiday party plans, tips and resources or to sign up for their free Party Planning Newsletter, visit Sachs and Cambria’s website http://www.partyplansplus.com/holidays03.htm
Editors and Producers: Both Ms. Sachs and Cambria are available for expert interview, content contribution and spokesperson duties.
Patty Sachs: 904-272-0959, [email protected]
Phyllis Cambria: 954-974-7907, [email protected]
Their bios are at: http://www.partyplansplus.com/bios.htm