Christmas Decorating Interview with Tara Dennis

It’s Christmas Week on the Blog!

interview tara dennis christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas: the tree is up, we’ve started the advent calendar countdown, a wreath welcomes visitors at the door and the house is filled with music from two of my favourite Christmas music albums (Michael W Smith Christmastime and Christmas, The Special Edition (2011) by Michael Bublé).

The festive season is a time for creating magical memories for children, and I believe they carry these memories well into adulthood. What a beautiful investment! To help kick start the Christmas season in my home this year, I had help from the lovely DIY and Decorating Expert, Tara Dennis.

Tara provided me with useful insights into Christmas decorating with the handy 3M Command Clear Hooks range. These hooks are awesome, especially around this time of year. Get some, and go crazy! Or, you can enter the giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win a prize pack.  Trust me, you’ll love them, and because they can be removed with no damage to walls, you can put up all those seasonal things that make the house pretty and festive, and then just take them down — easy — after Christmas.

Christmas Decorating Interview with Tara Dennis

What are your three favourite things about Christmas?

Summer, lazy days and family.

Do you believe festive decorations in the home at Christmas time play an important part in creating lasting memories for both children and adults?

Absolutely! Over the years, my mum went to so much trouble to create Christmas magic and it always felt incredibly special and exciting. I have carried that with me and always make the effort for my family to create beautiful memories for them too.

Tara, how do you decorate your home at Christmas time?

A tree is non negotiable. No matter where we are we have to have one. We went skiing in Europe one year and even made one out of a twig. I always love a wreath on the front door, it’s a nice and friendly welcome. We love lights, the more the merrier and each year we have a new colour theme to mix it up.

The Command TM Clear Hooks from 3M are perfect for Christmas decorating. What are 3 ways to use the hooks around the home in the lead up to Christmas?

Gosh, only three ways, I can think of hundreds. Hang your kitchen utensils to get them within easy reach for Christmas baking, try creating a bauble or light tree for a change, hang a wreath, along with strings of Christmas cards.

bauble christmas tree

Kelly:  This is a small Bauble Christmas Tree I made with the 3M Clear Decorating Clips. You can put it directly on a wall (like Tara’s gorgeous red bauble tree at the beginning of this post) but I wanted to use mine outside with the kids too, so I put the baubles on a canvas.  See the tutorial here: Bauble Christmas Tree.

christmas decorating -- christmas cards

Kelly:  I used divine twine between two 3M Decorating Clips across the window to hang our Christmas Cards.

Christmas Tree: real or fake?

I like both. There are some incredibly good looking fake trees now but I do like the smell of a real one. I’m also a little partial to alternatives to suit the space and have been known to create bauble trees and ones made entirely of lights across a wall where space is at a premium.

How can you mix up the colour theme at Christmas, so each year has its own personality (without the need to buy everything new again)?

Have a stash like I do of classic colours as a base to build from such as gold, silver and white. You can then throw in a new colour each year with a few affordable baubles and mix it up. Try gold and pink for a twist on tradition, next year you could do silver and pink or maybe just plain metallics in gold and silver. As years go on you can keep adding other shades for new looks and for that my budget tip is to buy for next year in the January sales when they’re half price!

Is it better to start with a centre feature for the Christmas table as inspiration and work around that, or decide on colours/theme first and then look for items that fit?

I like to work to a theme and use it to dictate how I decorate the table. Keep it simple, work with limited colours and add layers of colour easily with runners, napkins, crackers and festive centrepieces.

What are some ways to use nature into the house at Christmas time?

I love vases of fresh, plain greenery from the garden. A palm on its own can make such a statement as can a bunch of magnolia or camelia leaves with their glossy green foliage. Gum or eucalyptus leaves are so Australian and look as good as they smell. And don’t forget rosemary in the kitchen, try a jug filled with long fragrant stems along with some olive leaves if you have them.

rosemary in a jar

Kelly: I love using nature in the home and this week, I put fresh rosemary in a tinted jar next to the kitchen sink. Sometimes, it’s these simple things that bring bursts of happiness to the day.

3M Command Clear Hooks Range Giveaway

*Giveaway ended. Congratulations Susan, Bianca, Symone, Kim, Georgie*
I’m giving away five (5) 3M Command Clear Hook prize packs. Each prize pack is worth $36.35 and include the entire 3M Command Clear Hooks Range:
  • Mini Hook
  • Small Hook
  • Medium hooks
  • Utensil Clips
  • Decorating Clip

3m clear command hook range

To enter

To enter, leave a comment below with a favourite way to decorate the house at Christmastime.

Terms and Conditions
1. Giveaway open to Australian residents only    2.  One entry per person.  3. Employees or family of the Promoter are not eligible to enter  4. Giveaway open from Sunday, 2 December 2012, 12:00 am (AEST) and closes Thursday 6 December, 2012 10 pm (AEST) 5. Winners will be selected on the creativity of their answer  and all decisions are final.  6. Winners will be notified via email by Friday 7 December 2012, and first names will be updated on this post in red font.


I was not paid for this post. I love, and use the 3M Command Clear hooks in my home.


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  • Reply
    Susan Stephenson
    December 3, 2012 at 5:41 am

    We have just re-painted the house, so damage-free is a strong attraction!

    Truthfully, my favourite way to decorate the house at Christmas time is with things kids make. Long after the baubles and streamers have gone, that special papier-mâché angel with green and purple wings will still make me smile, and remember.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Our “Christmas tree” is a few fallen branches (no leaves) spray painted silver. I arrange them in a big pot, and hang our baubles etc. We have a star we hang from the ceiling on fishing line so it hangs suspended over. It looks fantastic! And each year is different.

  • Reply
    Bianca Moore
    December 3, 2012 at 7:49 am

    We do exactly what Tara Dennis recommends when it comes to the baubles on our tree. Over the last couple of years we have bought red, green (lime), gold, silver, black, pink and blue baubles. every year we put a different combination of those colours on the tree. One year we did blue, pink, green and silver. This year we did traditional red, green and gold. Next year we are being really bold and doing black, gold and silver. We have a VERY limited budget but our tree always looks fantastic!

  • Reply
    Jane Wardle
    December 3, 2012 at 8:06 am

    I have to tell you I could be the world’s worst home decorator. So when it comes to Christmas, I am happy if I manage to put something together that doesn’t look as though the Tasmanian Devil has been let lose in the room.
    I honestly need all the help I can get and 3M looks like it might be my new best friend!

  • Reply
    cherie sinclair
    December 3, 2012 at 8:24 am

    i try to keep it simple for example i dont do tinsle as it begins to make thing look cluttered but hey each to there own but i can say over the years i have probley used the entire range of 3m and have been happy all the way the only thing i cant find on the market ( hint hint ) is magnets with little bulldog style clips on them would be perfect to put up lights ect around my bulk heads as the metal bead on the corner is perfect to hange stuff on 🙂

  • Reply
    Mel Jones
    December 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

    I love to make my own paper lanterns and hang them around the house.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 10:24 am

    I normally like to decorate our tree in the traditional red and gold … this year Miss 16 had other ideas, it’s turquoise and silver, with purple as well! The first two colours were inspired by our own home decor – not sure about the purple though it’s a nice accent!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 10:25 am

    PS Kelly if you get a chance, would love you to come & check out my new blog http://www.redlandcityliving.com!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 11:42 am

    If we’re talking exterior, three words:

    Clark Griswold Style.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I love to put out our version of a Christmas wreath on the front door. One year we strung all our gold and purple baubles together for on the tree with fishing line. The next year when they came out of the bag they were all tangled up in a lovely grape like bunch, we have never been able to untangle it but it looks lovely on our front door.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I keep it simple with a few elegant decorations, so the house doesn’t look over done, cluttered or plain trashy.

  • Reply
    Narelle Rock
    December 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I love to have all the things the kids have made and school and Kindy over the past 10yrs on display, brings back so many wonderful memories, and will another one starting kindy…there are plenty more to come, I can’t wait!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I let the kids decorate their own rooms (which is always quite interesting) but they love making signs to put on their door etc. The tree is totally overloaded with various ornaments that the kids have made over the years as well as ones we have collected on travels. Not a designer tree but we love it!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    I love to curl tinsel around things – the TV cabinet, bookshelves, the balcony rail, anything that stays still long enough. Watch out cat!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I like a clean, elegant look, so I don’t go overboard with decorating the whole house. I have little children too, so keeping decorations simple is the key to not spending every night returning everything to its right spot after being moved! A favourite decorating tip of mine is to put lots of pretty baubles in clear glass vases, bowls and jars – to use as table or benchtop centrepieces.

  • Reply
    Amanda Sabatino
    December 4, 2012 at 10:06 am

    My girls and I decorate the house together. This year we’ve filled a large glass vase with baubles in red, green and gold for the dining table, placed some beautiful angel ornaments around the house, and my three year old has been busy making paper Christmas trees.

  • Reply
    Tracy H.
    December 4, 2012 at 10:08 am

    It’s hard to do a ton of decorating since we have a toddler but we do have a Christmas tree and stockings!

  • Reply
    Heather G
    December 4, 2012 at 10:10 am

    I love to hang lots of tinsel and fairy lights above all the doorways to brighten the house up. I also hang small baubles from the ends of the tinsel to ‘fancy’ the ends up.

  • Reply
    Georgie Taylor
    December 4, 2012 at 10:10 am

    I am a confirmed Christmas-aholic….I love having a tree with all the trimmings, hanging my nativity tapestry wall hanging near the front door, having any Christmas cards on display…we have wall hangings, a Santa “how many sleeps until Christmas” wooden craft hanging and evergreen swags to add colour to the walls as well as our Nativity scene on display for the kids to play with….I love to have some fun, beautiful reminders of the season in every public room in the house…my latest project has been creating beautiful paper snowflakes which can be hung anywhere or even decorate the tree…. 🙂 Christmas is my happiest time!!! Merry Christmas everyone!!!

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 10:17 am

    i love to have my hall table as my centrepiece with my table decos on it, then in the loungeroom theres the chrissy tree, and not far from that is my 9 yo daughters silver tree that she decorates.
    i also like to hang my scrapbooking layout of the family santa photo shoot- so it all looks lovely n festive at our place.
    we put our decos up around late november, just to admire that lil bit longer!
    ho ho ho and merry chrissy to all

  • Reply
    Sharon Fawcett
    December 4, 2012 at 10:19 am

    I let the kids have a free rein on decorating the house at Christmas time. So the house ends up being a wonderful busy mass of colour and Christmas cheers. But the thing I love most is when they make their own decorations and put them around the house, along with numerous notes to Santa and his elves.

  • Reply
    Camilla Wanders
    December 4, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I used black cardboard to create a display of all of our Santa photos together – it’s great to see how much the kids change from year-to-year (and also how much I have changed, in the years when the kids were too scared to face Santa alone!)

  • Reply
    Leia Knibb
    December 4, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Ahhh christmas! 🙂 Love decorating at christmas time, both indoors and outdoors. We especially love decorating the outside with christmas lights for our young son, and others in the Neighbourhood to enjoy. He’s 3.5 years now and loving the christmas lights even more this year. its a ritual going outside to look at our lights at least once every night. 🙂 We also like to use command hooks as strips for inside and outside decorating! Very handy indeed! But, we always seem to run out and can always do with some more! I use them for normal home decorating also throughout the entire year! Would love to try out making a christmas tree on the wall as in your blog! What a fabulous idea! Now…only to find a blank wall!!! Could be a problem! ;p

  • Reply
    Kat M
    December 4, 2012 at 10:30 am

    We have the kids handmade ornaments on the tree and Christmas pictures stuck all over the house. Each year the kids receive a new ornament from their lovely aunty to hang on the tree and they get so excited to open her parcel to see what she has sent them!

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Wall stickers from Aldi this year are whats made our house look like Christmas, the kids loved putting them up. never even thought of the 3m hooks for other decorations

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 10:42 am

    our house looks like the spirit of christmas had a huge sneeze. with four kids decorating each year gets bigger. They make make make the maost amazing creations that we keep and put out again each year. We also take the kids to the local art market each year to choose an orament and we put their name on the back so when they leave home they will have their own decorations to take to their new home. we all love christmas and anything that stands still has been given the christmas treatment.

  • Reply
    Christianne S
    December 4, 2012 at 10:45 am

    We are renting so a damaged house is not a good thing. I’ve always loved Christmas but dreaded decorating for fear of wrecking the house. I’ve been getting into it more and more since my son was born and encouraged him to put home made decorations up. This year we have no car to get to the shops so I have been using sticky tape on everything (homemade advent calendar, stringed Christmas pasta etc). I’m starting to panic for when I have to take it down, these hooks would be a great, stress free way to help celebrate the Christmas cheer 🙂

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I love using natural materials – driftwood, raffia – to create a natural feel to our Christmas decorations. Throw in a few Aussie shell mobiles and some decorations made by the kids.

  • Reply
    Deb Jays (@Deb3Jays)
    December 4, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I just love making every room look as Christmasy as possible including the kids bedrooms, hanging tinsel from there window sills etc, I may go a bit overboard my husband tell me, but it is worth it, especially love displaying what the kids have made at school or kindy, it is really special. Never thought about using the 3m hooks for decoration you learn something new everyday…lol 🙂

  • Reply
    Dorothy @ Singular Insanity
    December 4, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I love hanging tinsel garlands all over the house. Around door and window frames, pictures and draped around furniture. We also have lots of Christmas lights inside the house, including in the boys’ bedrooms.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Love Christmas… I try and keep it simple, since I do most of the decorating. This year decided not to put a tree up (Have twin girls at the terrible two stage and it will be trashed). My favarite tradition I have started with them is their santa stocking above the fire place and my homemade advent calander. My favarite outdoor decoration is my cows pulling santas sled, (we run a dairy farm so that will explain the cows). Also have started doing crafty things with the girls for their grandparent (they love hand printing).

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 11:37 am

    My favourite Christmas decoration is also my least favourite decoration, you see it is an almost life-sized reindeer. It looks awesome in the lounge, by the Christmas tree, surrounded by presents during December. The rest of the year it is in the study taking up way too much space. I should have known that when I couldn’t fit it into the boot of the car properly that there would be no where to store it in the ‘off season’ so it is left in the study only to be used as a cat climbing object or as part of a fort for nerf wars.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I am loving the decals at the moment so the walls look great and not too much clutter. I always keep some 3M hooks handy just to be able to change the decor with simple hanging art. A change is as good as a holiday they say…….

  • Reply
    Helen Wilkinson
    December 4, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I love to bring out all my decorations passed on from when I was little and hang them on the tree along with all my kids homemade decs they make at school! That’s what Christmas is all about! It’s just magical!

  • Reply
    Wendy D
    December 4, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I hang my daughters xmas ornaments that she made at childcare and her picture with santa in the middle.

  • Reply
    Clara Bush
    December 4, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I love fairy lights, I like to put them all over the house. The kids think it is magical (although hubby doesn’t always enjoy the job). I also get the kids to do some art on canvas each year and hang them up too.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Our decorating is a mix of shop bought and handmade from the kids. It goes wherever it fits and lands! The stockings go out (the cat even has one of his own), and there is always me singing a Christmas carol or two or three… It can be messy, noisy and sometimes chaotic but the results are always beautiful.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    We are currently homeless (been living with in-laws for over a year!) but this year I have decorated the house with Mr 3.5’s own advent calendar- each day he gets a story and an activity in a bag and each bag is numbered and we’ve strung them up around the house- so a useable Christmas decoration!!! Plus many of the activities are Christmas decorations we have hung up around the house to add to the Christmas cheer:)

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    We decorate the tree with lots of glittery gold and red decorations to the non-classic CD 24 non-stop Christmas Carols – It was my favourite as a kid and when I had kids my brother somehow found a copy for me, so now my kids also get breathless with me singing along – Tree-trimming night is such a happy, happy time. Other than that I love tealight candles and fairy lights, our stockings hung in a row and a big bowl of stone fruit and mangoes!!

  • Reply
    Jane McIntosh
    December 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    because I have a little one, I put the christmas tree inside the playpen. Then its double the fun because we get to decorate the play pen too!!

  • Reply
    crazy muma
    December 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    We make sure the Christmas music is pumping and that there is lots of singing and dancing going on while we decorate in a very eclectic style of kinder made, shop bought and decorations given as gifts are displayed all around the house.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    We have 3 yo daughter who loves doing crafty things. So we have lots of hand made christmas decoration by her. ….. 🙂

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I love to make things with the kids, and use nature, but we do summer style decorations rather than traditional Christmas ones… We currently have paper sunflowers, paper vines, paper fairy and butterfly chains, paper suns and bees, and vases full of real bottlebrush and dandelions, clear glass bowls full of rose petals, bottlebrush flowers and leaves, dried orange peel. We’ve got various bits and pieces like feathers and red, orange and yellow crystals everywhere. And soon I’ll be putting around bowls of fresh summer fruits as well for decoration… I’m hoping next year to have an actual fruit tree sapling to use as the Tree…

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I love to decorate all the rooms of my house, the children don’t have a lot of bench space that isn’t taken up by nicknaks and toys so being able to hang a few decorations in each of their room above their personalised christmas trees is a great way to help them celebrate when they are in their own space.

  • Reply
    Louise Irvine
    December 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Our son loves putting up the Christmas tree and decorating it. He loves making his own Christmas decorations. We have some outdoor lights too.

  • Reply
    Melissa Meyer
    December 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Well besides the obvious tree, I like to decorate the top of our bookcase in the dvd stand. Christmas pictures, advent calendar, tinsel, garlands, stockings – whatever comes to mind at the time. This year I also made a felt christmas tree for my toddler to decorate and redecorate with through out the month – it is currently hung using command velcro tab things 🙂

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    To be honest, I’m pretty lazy with house decorations – we just do some fairy lights and tinsel in the corridors. The last time I put a Christmas tree up, it didn’t get packed up for six months so I don’t think I”ll be doing it again anytime soon.

    My little girl’s favourite way though to decorate the house would be to draw on the walls with a red texta (as she’s done several times already)

  • Reply
    Kim m
    December 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    We use the 3m hooks to hang icicle lights from the lounge room ceiling, near the Christmas tree, it looks great.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    I go all out at christmas with decorating. 3m hooks keep my walls from being tortured 🙂

  • Reply
    December 5, 2012 at 12:12 am

    This year I got 75′ of pine garland from the farm where we get our Christmas tree. I’m planning to drape it, along with white lights, around our sunroom. I couldn’t figure out how to do it last night – command hooks!

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