Dressing Your Home for the Holidays

I love the Holidays and love decorating for the Holidays, but get discouraged and anxious when trying to figure out exactly what goes where…and if I can replicate exactly how I loved it the year before.  Did I pack up the decorations with care the previous year, and how do I remember where everything belongs?

Even though it can be lots of fun when you first pull your decorations , (and see  all the things you’d forgotten you had)  it can also be really nerve-racking if you aren’t properly organized with a plan of what goes where.  My friend Carolyn shared this tip which she learned from a friend…The simple solution is to color code each box and label each with the location in which it had been placed. Also, keep a notebook of Christmas decoration inventory to make things easier.  This is also a good way to begin to sort which items need to be tossed.

Keep your decorations bundled together and boxed by Room.  And when your room, powder room, foyer, buffet table, etc…is decorated exactly how you like it, take a picture, and post it on the box where you store your decorations.  Also make another copy and put it Inside the box.  This way it makes it easier, each year to not only decorate, but dismantle!  A place for everything, and everything in its place!

Additional Holiday Organizing Ideas:

Decorating your home for the holidays isn’t much fun when ornaments are broken and light strands are tangled. What to do? The best way to ensure that it will go smoothly next year is to take care when “un-decorating” your home this year.

Replace worn-out storage boxes

Sturdy, well-designed containers for ornaments, lights, and other decorations are available from home improvement stores, as well as online retailers like ornamentsafe.com, ultimatechristmas.com and ornamentbox.com. For a terrific wreath container, go to thehomemarketplace.com. Store items that don’t fit easily into ornament storage boxes in a plastic bag or cardboard box.

Containerstore.com carries a good assortment of wrapping-paper organizers that can hang, stand, roll, or slide under your bed. You may want to invest in two organizers—one for holiday paper and one for everything else.

Label every container

The label should be as specific as possible. For example, instead of several boxes labeled “decorations,” you might have one for “glass ornaments,” another for “handmade ornaments,” another for “lights,” and so on.

Sort through decorations before storing them

If something no longer suits your taste or brings you joy, discard it. Ditto for items that are broken. Hold on to anything that has sentimental value.

Create a written plan for next year

Get out your smart phone, and indicate the date on which you intend to decorate your home—and the date on which the decorations will come down. 


Holiday Decorating Tips:

1. Stay with one theme and style  for your holiday decorating. It makes shopping for decor easier and makes your space feel professionally finished. (Do not be afraid to throw away, or donate, older decorations.  It’s truly impossible to keep everything you have, but hold onto those items with a “sentimental value”.    It feels wonderful to give you and your home a thorough holiday cleansing).

2. Let your nose know it’s the holiday season. Place potpourri and scented candles near your entry and throughout your house. Or, better yet, bake some cookies shortly before guests arrive. (Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes a house smell better than fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies).

3. Choose two to three colors for your holiday palette and keep it consistent. Multiple color palettes can be too distracting. Try silver, blue and white or red, gold and brown. (Silver and blue, as shown in the ornament tree below, is beautifully elegant).

4. Create an inexpensive family tradition that involves the kids. Purchase a ready-made wreath of greens then gather items to decorate it. Use pine cones, ribbons, crystals, feathers, beaded garland or homemade paper snowflakes. (The ornaments the kids made through their childhood are always the favorites on our Christmas tree).

5. Give your space a different look and feel for this special time of year. Rearrange your furniture so the focal point is the fireplace or wherever you hang stockings. If you don’t have a fireplace, arrange the furniture to create the best layout for cozy conversations. (we used to hang our stockings on a railing off the dining room, since we didn’t have a fire-place.  When Kevin and I got married, even though we had a fire-place, I still hung the stockings on the railing, as it felt like a family tradition).

6. Colored lights can be costly if you change your color palette from year to year. Stick with white lights; they can be used with any color scheme. (I think white twinkle lights can also be used year round, especially for an outdoor summer party).

7. Start investing in a collection – something that can continue to grow through the years and can be passed on to the next generation. Check out online auction sites for vintage decorations. ( My mother started us on a collection of snow globes.  Every time we bring them out, I think of my Mom). 🙂

8. Use lots of candles. Nothing makes a room feel warmer and more inviting than candlelight. (Caution…do not put out too many candles…this is an occasion when too much is truly Too much).

9. Bring the holiday celebration into every room. Kitchens and bathrooms are a great place to put scented candles and smaller seasonal knickknacks.  (I put decorations in my master bathroom, and in the kid’s bedrooms as well.)

10. The holiday season is definitely one time where “less is more” does NOT apply. Have fun and do it up big. (I don’t necessarily agree with this tip, and each year try to put out less and less, while still trying to achieve a festive holiday home).

These Bonus tips were found on www.mrsfields.com

If pulling out your holiday decorations usually results in pulling out all your hair, don’t despair. Whether you’re decorating your table for Thanksgiving or your house for Christmas, here are 10 tried-and-true tricks to getting it right.

1. Less is more. If you’ve been collecting holiday decorations for more than a decade, you’ve probably got a parade of 18-gallon plastic bins that come down from the attic. Don’t feel like you have to display every decoration every year. Choose and use your favorites and leave the rest in storage. Next year you’ll likely have different favorites. Chances are, you’ll feel like you have fresh decorations every year and the process won’t feel so overwhelming.

2. Replace the space. Holiday decorations can sometimes look cluttered. A great tip is to replace your regular decorations with your holiday pieces. Instead of placing the nutcracker next to the globe on the end table, put the globe away for the season. Use the space in your empty bins to store your regular decorations. You’ll be pulling the bins out again after the season anyway.

3. Groupings are great. If you’ve got a hodge-podge of small trinkets, try displaying them as a group instead of placing them randomly around the house. Clear a space on a bookshelf or tray and place them in an interesting grouping. Look for similarities in color, size, or category and put them together for a bigger impact.  For example, pair snowmen with snowmen or wooden trees with wooden reindeer or red decorations with other red decorations. They will look more cohesive and can be appreciated as a collection.

4. Look in your own backyard. If you’re sparse on decorations, you don’t have to look much further than your own backyard for inspiration. Clip some branches from a low-hanging tree and arrange them in a tall vase for a centerpiece. (Spray paint them a festive color for added impact.) A shallow bowl or basket full of pine cones looks beautiful next to the fireplace. (Add some cinnamon sticks for a great aroma.) Build a garland from pine branches and floral wire.

5. Find new uses for old things. Raid your kitchen cupboards for interesting containers and textures of every shape and size. Fill a glass canister full of red and green candies for a simple, cheery decoration that also serves as an emergency snack. A beautiful salad bowl full of brightly colored ornaments looks great on a coffee table. Your crystal goblets make great vases or candle holders. The possibilities are endless if you simply look at your old stuff with new eyes.

6. Tea lights are tops. Everything looks more festive when you add candlelight. Simple tea lights are one of my favorite decorations and the easiest way to dress up any occasion. Arrange them in a set of glassware, a grouping of empty jars, in a line down a skinny tray, or in paper luminaries (glorified lunch bags). They give a warm glow to everything and are incredibly inexpensive to buy in bulk.

7. Food as decoration. Nothing is more beautiful than a bowl of bright green apples, zesty oranges, or interesting gourds. Plus, you can change it up all season long as you eat your way through each display. For a more lasting decoration, press whole cloves into the rind of oranges in interesting patterns. The smell is amazingly festive and the natural preservatives in the cloves will keep the oranges fresh for weeks.

8. Don’t forget the mistletoe. Fresh (or silk) mistletoe is easy to find this time of year and adds a fun spark to your doorway. It’s becoming an out-dated tradition that needs a revival! Don’t you agree?

9. Make room for the tree. If you display a Christmas tree, put it in a place where it can be the focal point with easy access, especially if it will need watering. Rearrange the furniture if needed. My favorite spot for a tree is near a window. You get the fun of appreciating it from inside and outside too. Plus, the lights look beautiful reflected on the glass.

10. Keep the music playing. Call me crazy, but I think of holiday music as part of the decoration. Put it on as you decorate and keep it on all season long. Music is shown to calm nerves and soothe the spirit. We all need that during the holidays, right? Plus, music is strongly associated with memories. It’s almost impossible to listen to holiday music without remembering special holidays of years gone by.

Happy Decorating!



JAYWATCH – my ongoing musings of my favorite QB Jay Cutler…While Patrick and I had a fabulous time at the game vs the Chargers  (though this picture clearly doesn’t depict the happiness POB clearly feels while partaking in a Sunday afternoon gridiron game with his old Mother)…I was extremely disappointed to hear my spunky QB has suffered a broken thumb.  Ugh!!  The Bears had finally gotten into their groove!!  The only good news is we have Oakland, Kansas City and Denver, before the last game of the season at Green Bay…and what a wonderful Christmas gift that would be to toast the Packers on their home turf!!  And here’s hoping when they say “Jay is out for the season”…that does NOT include the Post Season!  Go Bears!!

One comment

  1. Ho ho ho Terry. You starting this weekend with holiday decor? Hmmmm….busy weekend for this Thanksgiving hostess so I think holiday decor will wait. It is a chore, but Christmas traditions and decor create special memories and good vibes. I’ve pared down each year at cleanup time with a Goodwill bin…whatever doesn’t come out of the bins and that I don’t love gets passed along to some young newlywed at Goodwill still amassing her holiday decor. Happy Thanksgiving dear friend! Thanks for the decor inspiration and tips.

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