Melinda Myers is a gardening expert and television and radio host

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO  - Use nature-inspired decorations that provide enjoyment throughout the holiday season and beyond.The holidays can be a wonderful, yet stressful time. Reduce stress and enhance your family’s enjoyment this season by increasing the benefits of holiday décor by taking a few simple shortcuts.

  • Add some holiday plants and extend their life this time of year. Place plants in a cool, bright location away from drafts of hot or cold air. Water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil moist. Pour off any excess water that collects to prevent root rot.

    Save time and improve your plants growing conditions by placing pebbles in the base of the saucer or foil to elevate the plants above the excess water. Or purchase one of the saucer inserts, like rubber grids.

  • Spruce up indoor plants with holiday flowers, spangles and lights. Place a few cut flowers in floral picks filled with water. Place these in one or more of your houseplants for some seasonal color. Or add one of the miniature poinsettias, kalanchoes or cyclamen to a large planter. Simply sink the flowering plant, pot and all, into your houseplant container. Replace the small flowering plants as they fade or the seasons change.

    Add colorful stems, ribbons and winter branch lights to your houseplants and planters for a bit of seasonal sparkle. Branch lights are also a festive way to light an entrance or bathroom.

  • Use nature-inspired decorations that provide enjoyment throughout the holiday season and beyond. Colorful stems, white painted allium seed heads and wooden stars can add beauty throughout the holidays and much of the year. Luminaries can be used to light the entrance to your home or the path to your outdoor living space during warmer months.

    Use a few roosting pocket birdhouses to decorate trees and greenery and then move them outside for the birds. These decorations can provide beauty way beyond the holiday season and remove some of the pressure to take down all of the holiday decorations by a certain date.

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