Simple tips for beautiful holiday decorating

Check out my latest Home Inspirations column in the Fort Myers News-Press for tips on stress-free holiday decorating.

News-Press, November 27, 2010 by  Wrenda Goodwyn

Ready or not, Santa is headed to southwest Florida. With only a few weeks to go, it is time to get your decorating plans together.   And "plan" is the key word!

When I moved to Florida one December many years ago, it just did not seem like the holidays. Each year at about this time, I would set out to decorate every square inch of my home in an attempt to fill my house with Christmas spirit.  I missed the white candles in every window, fireplaces and beautiful "real" wreaths and trees that were the tradition in Virginia where I grew up.


This holiday season, like many others, I will be enjoying our beautiful white beaches and blue waters. The colors found in sea glass are my themed holiday decor this year. It all seems very much like the holiday season to me now. Just different.

When I began my decorating business, everything changed. I realized that simple really is better when it comes to the holidays. I have had years to practice that philosophy in my own home and in those of my clients. I have grown to love Florida at Christmas.

There are advantages to a more simple (but beautiful) decorating scheme. It is prettier. There is less clutter. You can appreciate the quality of your decor rather than creating visual overload with too much. An added benefit: there is less to put away when the season is over.

My tips for a simple and easy holiday plan include:

Large wreath on the front door. I love shells on a twig or vine wreath. Something that says “Florida.” Trim with a colorful bow.

Use real plants. Poinsettias (red, white and pink) on the front porch, in the entry and throughout the house.

Snowmen on antique mantle
Snowmen on antique mantle

Group special collections together. Rather than having them spread throughout the house. My snowmen go on an antique mantle that I found at a flea market. My Santa collection is arranged together on a pine sofa table.

Trim the tree(s). This is the fun part. At my house, a main tree packed with decorations collected over the years goes in the Florida room. A small tree goes into my office (nautical ornaments) and an even smaller tree goes in the bedroom (miniature ornaments). White lights on all the trees. Pretty and warm.

Color theme for gift wrap and garland. Select one color for the wrap for gifts that go under your tree. This year mine will be turquoise with white ribbon. I will trim the tree with turquoise ribbon that I purchase at Jo Ann Fabrics or Target. This provides a color theme that ties the tree and the gifts together without having to color theme all of your ornaments.

Candles. Place them all over the house. Try to pick one color and stay consistent throughout. Mine this year: white. 

Voila! Your house is done.

So light some candles. Hang the stockings. Watch “It’s A Wonderful Life.” And enjoy a beautiful holiday season.

— Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more holiday decorating tips and photos, visit