Holiday Decorating Inn-Style at Clamber Hill
How do you decorate a 9,600 sq. ft. country inn for Christmas? Well one way is to hire it out but that's expensive. The other way is to do it yourself.
If you choose the later option, it helps if you happen to be the daughter of a florist who grew up helping her Daddy out each Christmas season. It also helps if your are a hoarder who loves Christmas. For example, when people know that you love Nutcrackers, they start giving you Nutcrackers as Christmas presents. Or if you set out a couple of snowmen that you just happen to have, people start giving you snowmen and then before you know it you have a collection to work with!
But you also have to be smart about it. Once you have the start of a collection, you can add to it and mix in less expensive items with the more expensive ones. Many of the Clamber Hill Nutcrackers come from Seiffen Germany where the Nutcracker tradition originated, but other smaller ones come from the local dollar store and my father found me two really great large ones at a church fair in South Athol MA!
I used to decorate the Christmas Tree with personal ornaments that special people had given me, but to my dismay I found that guests at Holiday Parties rearranged things ....so continuing on the lines of smart decorating I decided to do themes for the trees with inexpensive ornaments. Cruise the after Christmas sales and plan ahead for the next year! Sometimes I do the same theme two years in a row, but often I mix things up. Reindeer on the trees, stars in the Wintergarden......or perhaps Reindeer and stars together in the Living Room!
And you cannot decorate without ribbon! That's just a simple fact. But you have to be smart about ribbon purchases. I purchase only double wired ribbon because it is easy to work with. And I buy ribbon in quantities of 50 or 100 yds at a time. A) because it is less expensive in quantity and B) because I need that much to do a room. Many stores sell small rolls of ribbon at extravagant prices. But you can often buy 50 yds for $7 or $8, which is a deal! Pick a color theme and go with it! There is so much you can do with ribbon. Lay it on a mantel, weave it through a garland or make a holiday bow!
And save your ribbon. Take your bows and garlands apart and re-roll the ribbon and you will have it again for the next year!
Speaking of bows and garlands....don't forget to use wreathes and garlands in your holiday decorating. You can use a mix or fresh and artificial. The fresh are not hard to make...just time consuming. And I have gotten away from fresh since we've had the Inn as the decorations need to last for five or six weeks now. But I do work fresh greens into some of my garlands and make fresh arrangements for each of the rooms using a mixture of evergreens and holly picked right off the Clamber Hill trees.
You can also, not decorate without lights. But again be smart about it. Christmas lights go on sale, after Christmas. Stock up while they are inexpensive and store them away for next year. And you have so many choices....white, red, green, blue or multi-colored. And don't forget about candles or tea lights. Like ribbon, tea lights are often sold in small packs that are expensive, but you can purchase bags of 150 or 200 for $3 or $4. Stock up since the tea lights tend to disappear after Valentine's Day and don't reappear until Thanksgiving time. Work those in too...just be safe and smart about it. I don't light any candles unless they are in goblets to keep them safe. The Dollar Store is a great place for finding small goblets for tea lights and anything with etching or carving helps throw the light.
And then there are the behind the scenes necessities for Holiday Decorating. My two main tools are pipe cleaners and fishing line! Pipe cleaners are great for everything from making wreathes, hanging garlands, attaching lights to wreathes and garlands, making bows and even attaching bows to candlesticks! Fishing line is great for hanging things in windows.
So by now, Clamber Hill has a Nutcracker Collection, a Snowman Collection, a Reindeer Collection, a Star Collection, a Snowflake Collections, a Santa Collection, a Christmas Tree Collection and probably a few more. Each year I use the collections in different ways to decorate different rooms. I do it in the week between Thanksgiving and our Open House or between Thanksgiving and our first Holiday Party. Our December guests, to the Inn and to the Restaurant, always enjoy coming in the month of December to see how Clamber Hill is decked out! Each year I say I am going to cheat and just decorate the same as last year, but each year once I get started I do everything differently from the year before. Don't get me wrong, I do recycle....the ribbon, the collections, the lights, the garlands, the wreathes...I just use them in different ways in different places....and add a few new things each year.
If you're are intrigued and want to see the results of the 2011 Holiday
Decorating, you are invited to the Clamber Hill Holiday Open House on December
11th from 1 to 4 pm. Please note: All photos are from past
years! This year's photos will not be published until after our
Holiday Open House! Clamber Hill is centrally located in Petersham, Massachusetts which makes it easily accessible from all parts of New England.
And if you can't make our Open House, Clamber Hill is running three different Special Packages during the month of December.... maybe one of them will be just perfect for you! Choose between our Romantic Getaway Package, our Shop & Wrap Package or this year's new package "I'll Bring a Cheesecake Home for Christmas".
And the last chance to see the inn decked out for the Holidays will be New Year's Eve. And of course Clamber Hill is running a special for that also. If you enjoy the holiday season, you will enjoy Clamber Hill. We hope to see you soon!