I am a less-is-more kinda gal. Our decor is minimal rather than jam packed. I am quite sure this is a reflex reaction to my mother’s house being crammed with furniture, albeit very nice furniture, but nevertheless too much for the space (IMO).
However during the holiday season, my decorating can be over the top! I love glitter, and sequins and sparkly-stuff, and Christmas decor is when I indulge in the sparkling lights and twinkling decorations of the season! And one of the places I really indulge is in decorating our banister for the holidays!
You need a few materials before you begin to decorate your banister – garland, lights and holiday decor. I use pre-lit garland. It isn’t worth the aggravation to me to put on unlit garland and then add light strings. I buy extras after Christmas when they are 50% off, and store them “just in case” a string goes bad in the future. They usually cost $25-$30, so I pay half that.
I also use zip-ties and a cutter.
Make sure you test your lights before you hang them! If you take away nothing else from this post, make sure you do this.
I hang the garland on the banister, and attach it with zip-ties. This allows me to use fewer strings of pre-lit garland as I am not wrapping the garland around the railing, but laying the garland on top of the railing. Since my banister railing is skinny, I have a tail from the zip-tie after I pull it tight. I clip that zip-tie tail off with a cutter.
When my garland-lights are up, I turn them on! I may have just tested them two seconds ago, but hey you never know. It is much easier to swap out a dead string now then after I have decorated it! I then work on decorating the garland – with the lights on!
This is my array of decor. I buy at JoAnn’s on sale, various Christmas stores, Pier 1, you name it, if it sells glittery flowers, picks, sticks, ribbons, bows I buy and then store the decor from year to year. Each piece costs anywhere from 50¢ to $5, so this isn’t exactly heirloom quality, and it only lasts a few seasons.
Some of the decor has clips on the backside, some short stems, some very long stems that I cut down. To attach the decor, I insert it within the garland, or clip it to the garland. I don’t use wire – there really is no need. The pre-lit garland stems are bendy and pliable, so the decor can be stuck into the stems and it will stay.
I just insert willy-nilly as I think it will look good. Taking a step back and looking at the railing as a whole once you’ve inserted 4-5 pieces helps you get a sense of scale and balance. It is also extremely important for a “big picture” person like myself – I have a tough time on occasion seeing how the parts should be placed to achieve the finished product in my mind.
I build up from a base working a section at a time. I add and add until I get the effect I am looking for. You want a few pieces to stick up, and a few to come down… and for that I use long glittery sticks or hoops or flowers.
It is very important to not make yourself crazy over filling in every hole. There is evergreen garland and light there – let some shine through!
I have a curved banister so it is difficult to take a picture of – but this is truly beautiful in person!
It is very pretty unlit too!
Remember, when you decorate a banister like this, you aren’t using the railing to help you go up or down the stairs while it is decorated. Keep that in mind if you have elderly, infirm or small children who need to use that railing to make it up and down that staircase.
Inevitably a piece of decor may get whacked and knocked down. The beauty of decorating this way the piece can just be stuck back into the banister decor, and you are on your merry way!
You can’t get an easier Christmas decoration. There isn’t anything to glue or put together, and it changes yearly with the addition or subtraction of decorating pieces! Believe me, if I can do this, anyone can. Start off small – I didn’t have all these pieces when I first made this 7-8 years ago. I’ve accumulated them over the seasons. But decorating a banister for the holidays can really make a beautiful holiday decoration during the Christmas holiday season!
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