Join the ranks if you are in complete awe that December is here and that the days till Christmas are quickly dwindling. With the blink of an eye, the holidays will come and go. Maybe it’s the holiday decorations in the stores pre-Thanksgiving or the spring-like weather in December, but I am feeling some angst these days. No matter what the reasons are, we are scrambling around like crazies to get our homes ready for the holidays.

So you can imagine how comforting it was to see the simplicity of Leigh and Brian Reames’ home, fully decorated for the holiday. At every turn, I found inspiration and some basic, “You can do this too” decorating ideas. We’re not talking Martha Stewart’s “How to make a holiday nut wreath,” but some practical tips like how to take your clippers to the holly tree out back or wrap bows around your everyday planters.

If you look closely at this mantle, what makes it appealing is its simplicity. Leigh used her existing vases and added seasonal red berries. The boxwood wreath can be found at local Christmas tree lots with ribbon from floral shops. The garland was cut from Leigh's backyard.

If you look closely at this mantle, what makes it appealing is its simplicity. Leigh used her existing vases and added seasonal red berries. The boxwood wreath can be found at local Christmas tree lots with ribbon from floral shops. The garland was cut from Leigh’s backyard.

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The stockings were hung by the chimney with care … Stockings are always a wonderful gift for new families.

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Holiday pillows can be found everywhere and add the perfect complement to this love seat. The moss wreaths can be found at local floral stores.

If there is anytime to get out the silver polish, it's during the holidays. This gorgeous tea set with the paper whites and holiday garland add so much to the buffet.

If there is any time to get out the silver polish, it’s during the holidays. This gorgeous tea set with the paper whites and holiday garland add so much to the buffet.

Leigh’s approach to holiday decoration is to keep it simple. What she means by that is don’t fret the small stuff or feel pressure to spend a ton of money on decorations.

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To add dimension to your holiday flowers, add some berries, pine bough and ribbon.

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Take enjoyment in what you already have in your cupboards — now that’s a concept! Use what you have and embellish it. On a recent visit, Leigh laughed and mused if she and her friend Kathleen Estes started a company, they would call it, “Cheap and Cheerful.” Both women love the thrill of the hunt as they scour local stores for good deals and creative inspiration.

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What’s not to adore about this whimsical display of penguins from Leigh’s personal collection? The fake snow is a fun addition.

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Adding small holiday touches like the garland crown truly completes the picture.

They also adore digging through what they have and fluffing it up for the holidays. By this she means, pull out the gorgeous vase or silver piece from your mother and fill it with red berries and ornaments. To create a special touch to your home, add greenery (from your yard, if you can) to your mantles, sideboards and special displays.

Red tulips and these wonderful Dr. Seuss-like carnations create a wonderful tablescape.

Red tulips and these wonderful Dr. Seuss-like carnations create a fabulous tablescape.

Another piece of sage advice is to collect Christmas decorations from antique malls or local stores, and use them year after year in different settings. Local flea markets have a treasure trove of collectibles — everything from tinsel trees to ornaments from the ’50s.

Mint julep cups filled with boxwood clippings are an easy way to add greenery to your favorite holiday Santa.

Mint julep cups filled with boxwood clippings are an easy way to add greenery to your favorite holiday Santa.

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These playful elves from the ’50s were gifts from Brian’s grandmother.

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Santa’s adornment on the family’s antique grandfather clock is fun and festive.

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The mantle on the outside porch showcases antlers from Leigh and Brian’s son’s hunting trip and garland from Leigh’s backyard.

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The “Merry Christmas” adornment fits nicely with the rustic fireplace.

When you meet Leigh for the first time, you quickly understand where the cheerful part comes in, but it took some prodding to get her to elaborate on cheap. She finds great deals at local retailers’ after-Christmas sales or on Etsy. Even Target, Michael’s or TJ Maxx provide great bargains when it comes to holiday decor. If you spy something you love but don’t want to pay full price, wait until the holidays are over to add it to your collection. Patience and a good eye can create a lovely holiday home for years to come.

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Adding a string of lights here and there adds a lovely touch to this holiday display.

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This simple linen runner with mint julep cups and flowers finishes the look of the family’s dining room table.

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Elves dance on this cake platter, together with an antique silver vase and pine bough.

Even Leigh’s Christmas tree is filled with ornaments her children made or ones she collected through the years.

Even Leigh’s Christmas tree is filled with ornaments her children made or ones she collected through the years.

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The holiday tree is from Restoration Hardware. At night, it adds a wonderful glow to the room.

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The pine trees can be used in multiple ways — on a mantle or sideboard. The pine cones were collected from family trips.

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Happy Holidays from Duke!

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Happy Holidays from Eddie!

Most important, enjoy your family and friends this holiday season. Take a deep breath, mix up a poinsettia (and we don’t mean the plant), and have a blast decorating your home. And remember, keep it cheap and cheerful! Happy holidays!

Photography by Leila Grossman of Grannis Photography

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