Deck the Halls

Most of us have our old faithful holiday decorations that we pull out every year, but there are excellent opportunities to liven up your decor (or even start from scratch) this season!  

Lights are a staple of holiday decoration, but they’re notoriously tricky to keep neat and tidy in storage– and that’s not to mention the hassle of putting them up in the first place! For an easy and gorgeous way to show the whole neighborhood your spirit, consider calling the professionals.  

Northern Lights, photo by Paul Bikis

Local business Northern Lights is a passionate group of mountain climbers/lighting enthusiasts who would love to help you design and achieve your own personal winter wonderland. They bring the lights, maintain the displays for the season, and then take them down and store them. Pacific Northwest ProWash will do the same thing, and they can also clean the outside of your home so that it sparkles even after December! 

To get an early start looking for those little touches and knick-knacks that help you fill every corner with cheer, check out our local thrift scene. Places like Penny Lane and Bellingham Antique Mall are sure to have one-of-a-kind trinkets and vintage conversation starters for you to put on the mantle. 

If you’re less into the hunt and more into the magic of seasonal store displays, there are plenty of shops that would love to furnish your cozy Christmas. Petals & Blooms Decor in Ferndale has merry slogans, jolly gnomes, and other sweet decorations available for you to dress your space. 

Specializing in contemporary yet authentic design, Ideal is a great place to look for more subtle decor that still gives off warm, cozy holiday vibes. They also carry housewares, books, and toys, so you can get a little gift shopping done while you’re there! 

Petals & Blooms Decor, photo by Kelly Pearce

More Than Just Eye Candy: Four Ideas for Edible Decor 

It’s a long-standing Christmas tradition to deck the halls with edible decorations! This specific subset of visually appealing treats are a great way to fill your home with holiday scents and spend time with your family as you cook and bake the necessary ingredients. 

  1. Gingerbread houses are perhaps the most iconic of all delicious decor. They’re often big centerpieces for the middle of your mantle, windowsill, or dining room table. You can purchase kits to make them from just about anywhere, or you can whip up a few sheet pans of sturdy gingerbread and go all-custom. After you glue your house together with hard-drying royal icing, there is no limit to what other candy you can use to make your cookie dream-home. (Side note: If you need inspiration, the Port of Bellingham puts on a gingerbread house contest every year– this year’s theme is “Holiday Magic.”) 
  2. If a classical Christmas is your goal, you absolutely have to gather the family and form a popcorn garland train. Part of the collective American memory, popcorn garlands are inexpensive but time-consuming labors of love. Make or buy some unsalted and unbuttered popcorn, then leave it out for a few days so that it becomes strong enough to handle. Use fishing wire or dental floss to string it into a garland. Apply a fixative to help it stay pretty for the whole season, and voila! You can also dye the popcorn or add dried fruits for extra-fun touches. 
  3. There’s also a lot of tasty potential when it comes to ornaments. You can go as simple as hanging candy canes on the boughs of your tree, or you can graduate to things like marshmallow snowmen and holiday shaped sugar cookies. For the snowmen, you’ll only need toothpicks to hold the body together and your choice of black dye or firm-drying icing to make the little face and buttons.  
  4. And don’t forget the exteriors! Edible decorations aren’t just for us, after all. Get the kids involved in a little arts and crafts by making peanut butter pine cones. This is a little messy and a lot of fun. You find some pine cones outside (be careful of the pointy spines!) and slather them in peanut butter. After they’re all coated, roll them in bird seed and hang them in the yard using festive twine.  

Add a Touch of Ambiance

Now that your house is looking fantastic, it’s time to encourage some sensory seasonal memories– starting with the music. Nab some Christmas albums on vinyl from Black Noise Records in Bellingham or Lost in the Groove in Mount Vernon. 

If you aren’t big on baking, you can still fill the air with holiday scents. Cinnamon brooms get popular in fall and last all the way through winter for their delightful diffusion of spice. Simply hang it on the wall and enjoy it for about a month! Alternatively, pay a visit to Wonderland Tea & Spices to stock up on peppermint tea, clove, nutmeg, and other spices for some practical pantry items that can double as all-natural potpourri.  

Candles add a soft warm light and colorful accents to your holiday set-up, and they also can add very specific scents to your home. Check out Essentials Northwest, a local Bellingham maker whose holiday candle collection includes scents such as sweet brandied pear, peppermint mocha, smokey open fires, and woodsy birch and cedar. 

Poinsettias are always loud and proud Christmas heralds, with their bright red and lush green leaves. You can also use bouquets as lively, beautiful decorations and gifts. A New Leaf Flower Shoppe is a Bellingham company that can deliver custom holiday orders to your door. M&M Floral & Gifts has plenty of pre-made holiday bouquets that you can shop online. 

Of course, the show stopping flora at most any Christmas celebration is going to be the tree. Be it douglas, balsam, or fraser, your Christmas tree will create a gorgeous center around which your family can gather. Alpine Meadows Christmas Tree Farm in Deming has a large variety of trees you can cut down yourself, and even makes sure to have extra-large trees brought in for those who might need one over 8.5 feet. Small’s Northwest Evergreens is a smaller tree farm in Ferndale that also offers wreaths, a gift shop, and complimentary drinks! 


This is an excerpt from our November/December feature, Classic Christmas.