Deck the Halls – Cozy Christmas Decorating Tips

Decorating for the holidays is the calm before the storm in our house. December schedules are not filled up yet, the holiday plans are trickling in, but not to the point of being full, and the anticipation of what’s to come is so exciting! 

Here are my top 5 tips to help guide you on your holiday décor journey.  As with all my articles, my advice is to keep it simple. But simple varies from person to person, especially when it comes to holiday decorating! As with a new home build set-up, a large reno redo, or a quick one-room refresh, my number one go-to decor trick always applies. ‘Step back often.’  Walk out of the room and come back in. Look at how your ideas have come to life and how your newly added décor adds to the space. Do you love it? Does it flow nicely with the room? Yes, and yes? Perfect! Move on to your next holiday masterpiece! 

Often when we leave a room and re-enter, it’s basically a fresh set of eyes on your work. Instead of being hyper-focused on the branch that has too many decorations hanging on it, we can actually see what others see when they walk in! There are no rules for creating holiday magic in our homes, but let’s be honest, we all love a few tips to help us execute our plan. As long as you’re happy with the finished product, mission accomplished!

Have a Plan

Everyone usually has a general idea of where they want their Christmas décor to be located within their home. Figure out your main focal areas and what you’d like to see there. The Christmas tree location is generally set during your first-ever visit to the home before you moved in! It’s robotic to walk into a home that you will soon be living in and scope out the ultimate Christmas tree location! Then we move on to the other focal areas: the fireplace mantle, the stair rails, the front entrance, the doorways, etc. Once you know the ‘where’, the ‘what’ usually comes pretty easy. 

Whether you’re a creature of habit or someone who is always up for something new, there is no right or wrong when it comes to holiday décor. You do you, and whatever that is, is perfect in Santa’s eyes! 

Prepare in Advance!

I sound like a home staging broken record… Minimize and Declutter.

Once you have a general idea of where you want to see Christmas decorations, it’s time to clear out those areas to make room for this season’s finest! Always replace smaller items on shelves and tables, rather than add to what is already there. By adding Christmas to the everyday décor, you are cramping the style of your holiday items and therefore cluttering up the space. We want your temporary additions to stand out, not squish in. 

An easy way to manage this is to store your normal décor in the storage containers that you use for your Christmas décor. Once the holiday season is over and it’s time to put everything away, you already know where your normal décor is and it’s just a simple swap-out in the containers. 

‘Tis the season to fully commit to your temporary winter wonderland!

Choose a Theme

Unless there is something you have your heart set on, whether tradition or just the latest trends, choosing a theme can be overwhelming! We all have a stash of Christmas decorations that we won’t part with or not use. No matter the theme you choose, these nostalgic pieces are always welcome! After all, it’s Christmas! There are no set rules! You don’t need to start fresh with your décor, but it helps to have an idea of what you want to see when you walk down the stairs every morning during the holidays. 

The go-to themes are always amazing. Your classic Christmas – bright red and green delight! With this look, you’ll see lots of colour, loads of traditional character and all the glam that you’d expect to see in Santa’s very own North Pole! Bright red Santas, candy canes, gumdrop-coated gingerbread houses, and playful elves, just to name a few! 

Another great theme is a rustic farmhouse look with lots of wood, greenery, burlap ribbon, warm white Christmas lights, and of course the DIY décor which can turn into some of the best holiday traditions… string popcorn, dried sliced citrus garland, homemade tree ornaments fresh out of the oven, and a touch of twine on everything to finish it off. 

A third popular option is the amazing natural elegance of gold and silver décor. White lights mixed with oversized gold and silver tree decorations, layered with white accents to warm up the metals and make them pop at the same time. This look is sophisticated, timeless, and stunning. There are so many themes to choose from or create a mix of a few. I love the rustic farmhouse DIY look, but with 3 Christmas-loving kiddos we need lots of the red and green from Santa’s workshop themed delight running through the house! It works! And in the words of my Christmas-obsessed husband… “I don’t want to have to look around the house to find Christmas. I want to see Christmas everywhere I look!

Layer Up

As with any décor setup, the best way to work through to the finish line and love your end result is to layer as you go. Take your time and start with the big items first. I love completing the tree first. This sets the stage and I feed off that for the rest of the house. 

Every year my Christmas décor vibe is a bit different, and I use the tree as my décor beacon. Once the tree is up, move on to the mantle, stairways, and doorways. When the big areas are complete, move on to the next layer. Accent your open shelving with subtle décor, and any open areas that may be perfect for a splash of Christmas. Keep your design principles intact when it comes to grouping, positioning, and layout. 

To finish off your decorating, it’s important to add that cozy layer! Throw pillows, throw blankets, candles flickering to the soft background Christmas music, and, if you are lucky enough to have a chimney for jolly old St. Nick, be sure to have that wonderful fire burning. Nothing cozies up our home, warms our hearts, and heats our Christmas-filled living rooms more than a glowing crackling fire in the fireplace! 

Create Tradition & Enjoy

I saved the best for last. I believe the joy of in-home Christmas excitement is all wrapped up in the core memories of the little things that seemed unimportant at the time but feel oh so big in our memory bank. After all, that’s what memories are… the things significant enough to store in our busy brains. Often when we reminisce about holidays in our past, our hearts explode with love, excitement, and probably a pinch of longing for days gone by. We work hard to keep pieces of those memories alive and well each year as the season hits.  Tomorrow is a new day, and this year is a fresh holiday season to fill with joy, laughter, and treats… lots of treats! Enjoy the walks down memory lane and be sure to create some new ones along the way. 

We all have different approaches to holiday décor, but in the end, it will always look great and feel cozy. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

by Megan Callahan