Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Guest Post: Decking the Halls and Kissing Balls by Ana Bosch

~Ana Bosch is here with an awesome post, so be sure to comment and share your decorating skills~

Growing up, I was never a big fan of decorating for the holidays. To me, it was just another routine chore: drag the cruddy old artificial tree up from the basement, spend a few hours trying to untangle the tumbleweed of tacky neon lights, and then hang up the usual sticky ornaments that seemed to smell mysteriously like mold and cat urine. The end result never looked good, but it didn’t really matter because no one really cared.

It wasn’t until about five years ago that I finally gained an interest in holiday décor. To be totally honest, I didn’t have a choice in the matter. I’d landed a job as a product developer in the field of holiday décor and collectibles, so if I wanted to be good at my job, I had to get educated.

At first, I fooled myself into thinking that holiday décor was just my job, and that it wouldn’t affect me as a person. But as I sat in my cubicle designing kitschy atrocities like Santa Claus carrying the baby Jesus, or suicidal snowmen gathering around a campfire, or dachshund nativity sets, little did I know that the holiday cheer was seeping into my pores and infecting my bloodstream. Before I knew it, I found myself getting excited at the sight of glitter and snowflake ornaments and Christmas villages.

After working in the industry for a few years, I finally decided that I would actually put in an effort to make my house look suitably festive for the holiday season. Really, I had no excuse not to. I had enough free samples from my job to turn my house into a replica of Santa’s workshop, after all. But my personal aesthetic was at odds with the company I worked for, and let’s face it, I wanted to have fun with my decorations. I also didn’t want to spend a whole lot of time or money, so I took every chance I could to spruce up my existing decorations rather than switching them out for Christmas. The end result was an odd mix of classic and… weird.

So now I’m going to share some of my favorite tips and tricks for holiday decorating:

1. I like to have a color theme when I decorate. These are a few of my favorites, although I’m partial to the “Elegant Christmas” palette. I use these colors as a guide when I’m picking up ornaments and picks and accents.

2. Nice tree skirts are really frickin’ expensive! I prefer to use a cheap, ugly, tacky tree skirt, cover it with fake snow, and put together a nice winter village. Now, this example isn’t all that special. I used a village from my job because I happened to have spare samples. But this year I plan to improve on it by picking up a few cheap plastic dinosaurs.

Beware: pets are likely to get the most enjoyment out of your fake snow.

3. Anything can be made into a Christmas decoration if you throw a bit of festive foliage behind it. This works especially well with white porcelain statues. Here you see my lovely Reclining Deerman, which I purchased from Melabo on Etsy. He stays out all year round, but during the holidays, he gets a pine and holly backdrop.

4. The same goes for Santa hats. Throw one on anything, and it’s instant Christmas. I’m using a ferret hat because, yes, I happen to have ferret hats lying around the house. But you can just as easily make them out of paper or cheap fabric and craft pompoms. Watch while a simple Santa hat transforms this traumatizing dog toy into a traumatizing Christmas dog toy:

It’s like magic!

5. Nativity sets are always better when you mix and match. See how much classier my dad’s old Boehm nativity is with a bonus sheep from The Bradford Exchange’s Thomas Kinkade outdoor nativity set?

6. When decorating your tree, always make sure the size of your ornaments complements the size of your finials.

7. Inflatables are more fun when they’re only partially inflated.

As is always the case with my decorating endeavors, I start out classy and gradually go downhill. But hey, at least I have fun this way!

I used my holiday décor product development background as inspiration when writing Lucky, my newly released Christmas novella. Martel, the main character, works at a company that designs holiday products. Among other things, he gets to discover the joys of kissing balls, which are one of the more unfortunately named pieces of holiday décor out there.

How about the rest of you? What are your favorite pieces of holiday décor? What are your decorating secrets?


Ever since Martel Heller rolled his first dreadlock, his love life has been blessed. For seven years he’s had the luxury of cherry-picking the hottest men available. But when the dress code at his new job forces him to hack off his lucky locks, his good fortune comes to an end.

 To make matters worse, if Martel shows up at the company Christmas party alone, his creepy coworker Phil will know he’s single. As a last resort, Martel enlists his best friend, Felix, a fashion photographer, to hook him up with a model. Then plans fall through, and Martel ends up stuck at the Christmas party with the last person he expects—but as the hours pass, he wonders if he's finally learned what it means to be lucky.

Purchase Lucky 


  1. Ana! I am loving this post!
    That deerman is to die for!!! WANT! The ferrets are just TOO cute :) They melt into the snow with their fur color.

    Your quirky ideas reminded me of this Christmas ornament my friend got in NY last year :D <3 Bruce the merman hairdresser! It's completely ridiculous :D

    1. OMG, that merman hairdresser is awesome! I wish I knew the story behind who came up with it and why! And yes, that deerman was one of my best Etsy purchases ever. :)

    2. And there are more! :)

    3. Oh wow! Gotta love the name, "Diamonds of the Sea!" Those are hilarious.

  2. What good tips that you've given to us. I like to do a small little scene with miniatures: small tree with some presents underneath etc. Hallmark had Nativity pewter ornaments that I had purchased etc. It saves a lot of space since my place is small.

    strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

    1. Man, I'm a sucker for miniatures! And pewter. :) That reminds me, I haven't been to Hallmark yet this year, so I must make sure to go before Christmas!

      Thanks for stopping by!


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