If your Christmas lights are on the blink and your holiday decorations are more “ho hum” than “ho ho ho,” it’s time for an ornamental overhaul. We’ve got the fix to your holiday decor frustration. Instead of dumping everything and starting over, fix and freshen up those outdated decorations. The merry makeover season has begun.
1. New Life for Last Year’s Lights
Even if you packed the light strands neatly away last winter, problems happen. Individual bulbs or even an entire strand won’t light, even if it worked perfectly last year. Before going through the trouble of stringing those lights up on the tree or around the house, plug every strand in first to be sure all the lights work, all the time. Wiggle the cord; the lights should stay lit. If they turn on and off as you move the cord, there may be an internal break in the wire. Set that strand aside.
If the strand won’t light at all and you don’t see any visible damage to the cord, a fuse may be to blame. Check the chunky plug area for a cover; the fuse is inside. Replace the fuse (or swap it out with one from a working strand to test it) and the strand should light. If not, set it in a pile with the other questionable light strands. Fix those pesky bulbs by first wiggling them a bit, pressing (or twisting) them farther into their sockets. Newer LED bulbs tend not to come loose, but incandescent small bulbs do.
If you still aren’t sure what’s wrong with your light strand, a light-testing tool such as the Lightkeeper Pro is your new best friend. This tool pinpoints the location of bad bulbs and can even fix a few other problems within the strand.
2. Find the Perfect Place for Every Ornament
You’ve unpacked all the ornaments, only to realize that they don’t really go together style-wise. You have a set of old glass ornaments from Grandma’s house, some random mismatched ornaments given to you as gifts and a few post-season deals you could not resist. Now what?
Take a look at the ornaments as a whole and separate them either by style or by color. Perhaps you have loads of red and gold ornaments that look good together, and a bunch of plastic ornaments that don’t really have much style at all. Save the red and gold pieces for your holiday tree. The plastic mismatched orbs may look good hanging on a small potted tree or on the shrubs near the front door. Hang your few precious vintage ornaments from a small potted evergreen or from a vintage tree that came from the same collection as the ornaments, for old time’s sake.
3. Clear Creations
Clear glass or plastic ornaments seem to appear out of nowhere, mingling among their more colorful counterparts. Dress those plain pieces up a bit by filling them partway with iridescent glitter or fake snow, or by decorating them to resemble Santa’s sleigh on a map. Lastly, add a ribbon that matches the sticker or cling and you’ve got a brand new ornament.
You can also replace the materials in previously filled ornaments to give them a new look. To empty them, remove their caps and use tweezers or a cotton swab to access their contents.
4. The Glamorous Life
Give old or unattractive holiday table decorations a glamorous makeover with silver, gold or white spray paint. Everything from cheesy plastic reindeer to a poorly painted Christmas village looks better when dressed up in a fresh coat of paint. Take the pieces outdoors or to a well-ventilated area and paint them atop newspaper or a plastic tarp.
Gold and silver add an air of elegance, while white offers the perfect winter theme and pairs well with just about anything. Our favorite metallic color this season is a warm rose gold. Even sprigs of plastic holly can look stunning with a fresh paint makeover. Group painted items together around a centerpiece, tall candle or even a cake stand. Mix in a few pinecones, and grapevine orbs, painting some and leaving others au naturel.
5. A Novel Idea
Decoupage smooth, boring ornaments with pages from damaged vintage books for a little literary inspiration. While the decoupage medium is wet, sprinkle on fine white glass glitter for a sparkly touch. Top the ornaments off with small wooden “noel” tags or ribbon for a finished look. This is also a great way to create fancy gift ornaments from dollar-store finds.
6. Snowy Pinecone Candle Jars
It’s probably a given that you have a couple of spare mason jars sitting around the house. To turn your plain mason jars into beautiful winter luminaries, all you need is a few pinecones, a hot glue gun lace, twine, a candle and some fake snow. Start by gluing the lace to the rim of the jar, then connect the twine with the pinecones and glue it over the lace. Then, finish it off by putting some fake snow in the bottom of your jar and placing a candle of your choice right on top.
7. Glitter-Dipped Delights
Glitter-dipped anything looks great, and what better time to use glitter than for the holidays? Jazz up inexpensive or scratched ornaments with fresh paint and a glitter-dipped look for an all-out gorgeous effect. Paint each ornament with black satin spray paint after removing the caps from the ornaments. To make painting even easier, place a pencil or wooden skewer in each ornament to hold it up, lollipop style, in an old jar while you paint and while the paint dries. Once the paint dries, brush the bottom half of each ornament with decoupage medium or a thin coat of school glue. Sprinkle a generous amount of gold glitter over the glue. Ta da! Simple and simply stunning.