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December: Christmas Decorating

The holiday season is here and we’re focusing on Christmas decorations for this month’s A Year of Details Challenge.

I love Christmas but every year I find this time to be equally stressful and enjoyable. There is so much to do, so many events to attend, so many gifts to buy and wrap, not to mention the stress of figuring out WHAT to buy.

As with all things, being prepared is a big help. This year I sat down with a notebook and made a list of all the things I love about Christmas and look forward to (decorations, music, cookies, wreath-making event). Then I made a list of all the things that stress me out about this time of year (planning all the presents that our family gives, my expectations not being met). I wrote down what my ideal holiday would look like and I’m trying to do what I can to make the enjoyable things take precedent and minimize the stressors.

Decorating for Christmas is one of the things I like to do early so I can enjoy the feeling of Christmas for the whole month of December. It is one of the things I enjoy, although truth be told, the couple of days when I get all the stuff out and it’s all over the living room can make me rather agitated.

So here are a few tips on how to make decorating go smoothly so you can enjoy the process and the results.

1. Clean the house first

Before you get out all the decorations, I suggest tidying everything first. Figure out where you want to put the tree. If necessary, move the furniture or shift things around to accommodate. If you know that your fireplace mantle or certain shelves will be decorated, put away the things that live there the rest of the year. Make a fresh, clean space to add the Christmas adornments.

2. Know what you have

Now it’s time to take out all your Christmas decorations. And I mean everything. This task can be daunting so set aside time for it. My Christmas decorations are stored in the basement and I have often made the mistake of bringing up just one box at a time and decorating as I go. There were always boxes I didn’t bother to bring upstairs, leading to some boxes lurking for years in the storage area, full of things I no longer needed or wanted. Which leads me to the next point…

3. Declutter

It’s important to actually open up all the boxes and see what’s inside. If you have random things that you don’t even like, it’s time to get rid of them.

As I mentioned above, the thought of doing this can be off-putting, but I encourage you to turn on some fun music, make yourself a coffee or a cup of mulled wine and get to it. Having a favorite Chritmas movie on in the background is also a help. Once this step is done you will feel lighter and more organized.

4. Select a limited color palette or theme

Now that you can see all the decorations that you love and want to keep, decide what color palette or theme you want for this year. I like to stick to 2-3 colours – and then I know when I see new decorations what will and won’t make a nice addition to the collection. This year I have decided to stick to neutrals like white and gold, wood, and greenery.

A good tip is that keeping things neutral will work with any room colour scheme. These colours are timeless as well, so you are less likely to grow tired of them over the years and have to purchase new things.

A theme may be based on your decor style, such as Scandinavian or Farm house, or it could be based on a shape, symbol or collection. I have a lot of trees and stars throughout my house at Christmas. Repetition creates cohesiveness.

5. Less is more

Just because you own decorations doesn’t mean you have to put them out. After choosing my color scheme of neutrals and greens, I put everything else away. I have some really beautiful red decorations that I don’t want to part with because next year or the year after I may want to use them. I packed them back up in one box and stored them away nice and neatly in my basement. Only because I have the organized space to store them do I keep them.

6. Don’t buy anything yet (or not at all!)

It’s all too easy to be tempted to buy an array of different decorations, only to later find out that nothing goes together or you have no place to put them. I have often come across beautiful ornaments in a shop and bought them on a whim, only to later realize I didn’t have a space for them so I would end up adding them to an overly crowded shelf.

The last two Christmas seasons I set myself the challenge of not buying any new decorations besides fresh greenery. This year I won’t be as strict, but I set out ALL of the decorations I already have first. Now I can see if I have room for anything else and if I feel anything is missing. I saw some beautiful green paper trees at Søstre Grene and, now that all my decorations are up, I know that I could put them on the window sills in my living room and dining room. Plus I know that they will match my color scheme and theme for this year.

Have fun decorating and I will be back mid month to show you my tree. Wishing you a joyful and stress-free holiday season!



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