Holiday cheer is about renewal and uplifting spirits. So what are we to do when we open those dusty old boxes filled with the same old decorations? Now is the time to revive our spirits and freshen our thinking. Heather Peterson is a decorator who can design on a dime. Here are some fresh thoughts from Heather on what to do with those old decorations.

(credit: Target)

(credit: Target)

Repurpose the Plain Ball Ornaments

Everyone seems to have them lying around. If your color scheme has changed or the ornaments are chipped or scratched, just paint them with chalkboard paint. (Black would be sharp, but you could stick to the holiday theme with green, too.) Let your family each draw their own holiday pictures on them—Rudolph, anyone? Or create a chalk monogram for every member of the household, and don’t forget the pets. If you don’t have a tree, use them as place cards on the table at your holiday celebration and let the guests take them home at the end of the night.

Spruce Up an Old Wreath

Put a bird on it. Heather used vintage-looking, clip-on bird ornaments as favors at her wedding, and guests had a great time clipping them to anything and everything, from wine glasses to neckties. Why should an old wreath be any different? Choose birds of a color, clipped all over a wreath to bring on the charm.

Related: Best Artistic Photographers In Minnesota

(credit: Jupiter Images)

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Modernize a Menorah

Get in on this year’s big paint crazes: dip-dye and ombre. For the dipped look, tape off a line about halfway up the menorah and apply a couple of thin, even coats of spray paint to the bottom. Go traditional or try trendy neon. Contrast is key. If your menorah is made of a natural material like wood, try a metallic. Pair silver or gold with matte black. You can always repaint it next year.

For an ombre effect, where colors fade from deepest to lightest hues, pick up eight sample pots of paint in gradations like navy to baby blue. Paint each candleholder one color, going darkest to lightest from left to right or bottom to top.

Of course, if your menorah is a family heirloom, try these techniques on something else!

Away in a Manger

Do you have a dated, dusty old manger? Make it blanc de chine. Simply spray prime all of the pieces, then spray them in a high-gloss white. If there are drips, gently sand, wipe clean and apply another coat. Your set will look like Chinese porcelain, pretty and simple, and it won’t clash with the rest of your holiday decor.

Related: Best Places To Buy Local Art For Less Than $100

Wrap it with Paper

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Don’t throw away those too-small scraps of wrapping paper. Instead, create a papier-mâché snowman. Pick up styrofoam balls in three sizes from your craft store for each snowman and thread them on a dowel for your base. Go to town with a mix of paper strips in complementary patterns and colors. The result is a patchwork snowman.

About Heather:
Heather Peterson Design, LLC.
(612) 834-2752

Heather is a prolific writer and picture taker. You can see more of Heather’s simple and easy decorating ideas on her blog. For example, go to Heather’s December 2011 archives for do-it-yourself stockings to hang on your fireplace or her thoughts on breaking tradition with a new kind of tree. Also check out Heather’s thought-provoking pictures on Pinterest.

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at