The holidays give us an excuse to jazz up the house with stuff we don't normally "wear" -- essentially, it's dress-up time for our living spaces.
Colors that pop and finishes that sparkle help set an exuberant tone for parties, while a softly glowing tree or table display is a quiet, often ethereal delight. They enhance the conviviality of the holidays, whether your home is embracing revelers and peppermint mojitos, or just the dog and a cup of hot chocolate.
Mercury glass, once relegated to the high shelves at antiques stores, now is mass market, and that is great news. The finish is a little more understated than silverplate, so it mixes well with rustic and refined accessories.
At Target, find copper and glass-etched candle pillars. Crate & Barrel has jewel-toned mercury glass candleholders.
Amp up your tree's "wow" factor with whimsical, glitter-iced whales, narwhals and polar bears, and intriguing bejeweled insect ornaments, all at Anthropologie. West Elm offers an edgy yet beautiful chain-link crimped aluminum garland, as well as glass balls filled with confetti or feathers.
You will find starbursts, dimpled glitter balls, antique glass polka-dot orbs, and baubles in copper, sapphire and graphite at Crate & Barrel. Find here too an unusual garland made of colorful vintage saris.
For a nice old-world look, Restoration Hardware has hand-blown, antiqued-glass, onion-shaped ornaments, and beaded snowflakes, while Garnet Hill offers a set of creamy glass bead and pearl stars.
No space for a bushy evergreen? Try Target's slim profile tinsel tree, perfect for apartments or entryways.
Glitter-crusted tree cones lining the middle of your dining table on a puddle of Epsom salt snow are a chic alternative to traditional centerpieces. Finish the table with blingy chargers and faceted, ornament-shaped place card holders from Target.
If you are going to go festive, go all in: Homegoods has a peacock feather wreath that could dress the sideboard, along with little silver dusted birds and white feathered balls.
When the dishes are done and peace and quiet reign again, curl up with Restoration Hardware's faux lynx or coyote fur throw, or Wayfair's chinchilla or mink throw. Pottery Barn's faux sheepskin throw is fluffy luxury, and there's even a matching pillow. Overstock.com's got washable faux cashmere throws that are soft and snuggle-worthy.
With the lights turned low and the decorations providing shimmer and shine, the season's magic is right at home.
* www.target.com -- mercury glass candleholders, $14.99-$19.99; chargers, spreaders and ornament placeholders, $1.99-$9.99; slim tinsel tree, $48;
* www.garnethill.com -- glass bead and pearl star ornaments, set of 3, $48;
* www.westelm.com -- crimped metal garland, $39; confetti-filled glass ball, $8;
* www.anthropologie.com -- insect jewel ornaments, $18; whale/narwhal ornaments, $16;
* www.overstock.com -- washable cashmere throws, $47.99-$75.99;
* www.restorationhardware.com -- fur throws, $99; handblown glass ornaments, $12-$32; glass snowflakes, $12-$26.