I thought I’d share a series of posts on one of my favorite pastimes: Decorating for the Holidays. From trees to garlands to centerpieces– for some, decorating can be a daunting task. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, and whether you love or dread decorating, I hope you’ll find a few of my suggestions helpful as you begin adding a little magic to your home.
Here we are, one week before Thanksgiving and if you haven’t already, its time to start thinking about decking the halls. I want to start with a few tips that might help spark some creativity before you either haul out the old decorations stored in the attic or hit the stores in search of the perfect holiday items.
Most important: Let your creative juices flow! Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Express Yourself!
Best Tip of the Day: Use Ribbon and Picks & Stems* to hide imperfections and add the finishing touches to your holiday decor.
Five Things to Consider Before You Start:
1. Cost– It might be a good idea to have a budget of how much you want, or can afford to invest in your decorating. It’s very easy to spend more than you intend if you don’t nail down an amount as you start your planning.
Do a little research before you buy anything. What may seem like a simple idea could end up costing you a lot more than you anticipated. Ten ornaments are not going to decorate your whole tree and three strings of lights aren’t going to be bright enough. Be prepared to purchase more than you originally thought you’d need or have a backup plan if you run out.
You can save a lot of money on future decorating by shopping the after Christmas sales where you can usually save 70-90% off retail. In recent years, a lot of retailers are marking down decorations by 50% a week or two before the holidays just to clear the shelves.
Some stores have sales running now. If you wait until after Thanksgiving weekend, you are probably going to pay premium prices. AND– the longer you wait, the smaller the selection.
For the Christmas Fanatic— Keep your eyes open year round for items that might be used seasonally. I’ve found lots of end-of-season clearance bargains where I can find large quantities of items for pennies on the dollar. I have a Victorian house so it’s easy for me to incorporate spring, wedding, and other specific floral bunches and floral picks & stems* into my holiday decorating. I also have at least one Christmas tree that I decorate with a natural or woodsy theme, making many fall clearance items a perfect addition.
2. Storage– Be realistic about how much space you have for storage. Many holiday decorations are fragile and require careful packaging and storage which takes up even more space. Christmas trees take up a lot of space. I know a lot of city apartment dwellers still prefer buying live over investing in an artificial tree because of limited storage space.
3. Time & Space– Decorating can be time consuming. It can also be very relaxing way to spend your free time if you aren’t in a rush. If this is your first year decorating or you are trying something new– allow for more time. I suggest taking the time to get organized and sort out what you have before you actually start decorating. I always find I’m missing a box or have less of something than I remembered. There’s nothing worse than getting deep into a project and discovering you don’t have enough to finish. When computing your time equation, don’t forget the time you’ll need to take it all down after the holidays are over and store it away.
You can do wonderful things in a smaller space if you put some thought into it. A small tabletop tree in a loft can be as equally effective as a 10 foot tree in a larger home. A few small additions to your space can do wonders to create that holiday atmosphere.
4. Theme– Are you going to have an individual room theme or overall theme to your decorating? A color theme, perhaps? Themes are great but can be limiting, especially if you are on a tight budget. Keep in mind that trendy styles and colors might not satisfy you in future years. Consider what will work best with your year-round decor and lifestyle first.
When considering color, remember green ornaments don’t stand out on a green tree. Also, colored lights can be a challenge. I found years when simple red or green Christmas lights were impossible to find! Make sure you have enough before you start!
5. Purpose or Repurpose– As much as I love new decorations, I find it’s more fun to find new uses for old ones. There are elements of my decorating that stay the same from year to year and others that I always change, at least make alterations. I often use items in my holiday design that aren’t specifically intended for Christmas decorating.
Try to incorporate items you already have into your holiday look. The everyday items on your mantle or table don’t necessarily have to disappear until January. Unless you want something completely different, try adding a little garland, artificial poinsettias, a few ornaments… and you can achieve the same festive look.
Holiday decorations that may start to look tired and worn and don’t stand up well on their own, may still work perfectly as part of a larger grouping or display.
Keep in mind that effective Holiday Decorating does not necessarily mean you need to completely transform your space into something different. Try simple accessories and you may be able to achieve the same results. No matter how elaborate your decorating plan becomes, don’t let it become so overwhelming that you aren’t able to take the time to relax and enjoy the beautiful atmosphere you’ve worked so hard to create.
*Picks & Stems– Artificial flowers, berries, fruit and baubles used to accent floral arrangement.
Next Up: Selecting and Prepping Your Christmas Tree