Ask Jennifer Adams: Freshening up traditional red and white for Christmas decor

Q: For Christmas, I have all these old, wooden handmade ornaments made by relatives, such as miniature toys, children's blocks, lots of red-and-white wooden candy canes, bird ornaments, strings of red beads, etc. I want to keep most of these decorations, but is there a way to make them look more modern?
- W.T.
A: Sounds like you have a great treasure in ornaments. I'm always looking for the newest trends to share, and one thing I'm seeing a lot of these days is old-fashioned, handmade ornaments that look like toys. So you are already ahead of the game.

I'm sure you're not feeling very trendy if you've been using the same ornaments for years. Ways to modernize and add sparkle to your holiday decor could include using a faux tree and boughs that are white, along with lots of tiny, twinkly LED lights also in white. Satiny silver, gold, or copper metallic ornaments will help bounce the light around and contrast the rustic handmade quality of your decorations, too.

Perhaps just use all of one type of ornament instead of the whole collection - such as all the candy canes, or the birds, and leave the little toys and others for next year.

Another great way for you to have fun and to freshen your collection: Paint or buy some ornaments or flat, cutout shapes with chalkboard paint, and hand-draw designs or personalized messages. The soft-black chalkboard paint and the white chalk mix nicely with classic red and green, as well as the handmade quality of your own ornaments. Make little signs, nametags for your table or stockings, or even place mats or a table runner for holiday dinners.

Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality. To contact her:AskJennifer @JenniferAdams.com

@JenniferAdams www.jenniferadams.com