SPEED DECORATING FOR CHRISTMAS
Does this phrase bring you joy or fear at this point it in the year? Despite my greatest efforts, each Christmas season I find myself wishing I just had a little more time to fit it all in. In my head, everything is all planned out - I will be sure to go caroling with the kids, bake loads of cookies, decorate the house, get the gifts, wrap them all, send the cards....need I go on? Never mind all the parties, plays, school performances, and - yikes - the kids get out of school early and before my shopping is complete!
With so many directions to turn, sometimes I realize that some things might have to give a little bit. One thing I have realized over the last couple of years is that I love a decorated house at Christmas....but I don't love decorating the house for Christmas for hours on end. There are so many fun things to do (and I do consider decorating fun!), but I realized that I needed to streamline my Christmas decorating to free up time for other things we also enjoy (did I mention cookies!?).
I figured I might not be alone and that other people might be looking for some tips on how to get your house in order quickly for the holidays. Disclaimer note: Clearly, you can spend a LOT more time and energy on additional things that can add to your home at Christmas. I am giving you a strategy to knock out the basics and still create a beautiful environment for Christmas. If you have more time, go enlist your husband to string a million lights on your house if you want!! :)
Okay, here it is - hope this helps!
- STEP ONE: Buy Fresh Poinsettias, Pine Garland, and Your Tree
I buy a BUNCH of poinsettias every year. I also buy garland (I love fraiser fur garland and also white pine, but any evergreen works). This year, I did not even buy the garland as I usually have to end up cutting it. I simply asked for the branches from the trees that had already been trimmed at the tree farm. They were FREE and then I just trimmed the pieces that I needed.
Filling your home with fresh pine is going to make it smell like Christmas right away. The flowers are beautiful, intensity colored, and so pretty. They make everything feel like Christmas and fast. I find them to be such a punch of color for a minimal cost.
Estimated Time: 60-120 minutes including drive time
- STEP TWO: GET EVERYTHING OUT
For real. Just get it all out and put it where you can see it. Pillows, flowers, garland, trinkets, signs, angels, stockings...everything. You will be much more efficient if you just focus on unwrapping everything and just getting it all out, than if you try to place each item when you unwrap it. Plus, you can develop a mental plan for things when you see them all at once.
Estimated Time: 60 minutes.
- STEP THREE: FIGURE OUT YOUR MANTEL (or where your stockings are going if you don't have a fireplace)
Start here because it doesn't take as much thought - you know those stockings need to be hung (by the chimney with care, right?). Get them up and then fill behind with flowers, garlands, and pick a few trinkets to top it off. Check. Now you have some momentum...
Estimated Time: I suggest you give yourself 20 minutes.
- STEP FOUR: START PUTTING GARLAND AND FLOWERS UP
Consider all flat surfaces as a home for pine needles and flowers. Put them up and line things with the garland. It will be easier to do that first before putting things in front of them. Add in flowers and you have a great canvas for most everything.
Estimated Time: 30-60 minutes.
- STEP FIVE: ADD REMAINING GREENERY TO EXISTING ARRANGEMENTS
One of my favorite steps. We have a lot of florals/greenery that are already up in the home. Adding quick berries, cinnamon sticks, or evergreen branches to them offers instant Christmas and takes very little time.
- STEP SIX: GET THE TREE UP
Get the tree in the stand, stable, and lighted. Enlist some help with this. Once it is in place, get the lights on.
*NOW, all evergreens are up - if you want to stop and sweep, you can. I personally wait until the end!
Estimated Time: 30 minutes
- STEP SEVEN: CREATE VIGNETTES WITH YOUR CHRISTMAS DECOR
Now you take all your little Christmas decor items and place them. They will be grouped together throughout your home - often odd numbers work well here. Set a time limit on this - even make it fun and challenge yourself. Your time will depend on the volume you are working with and the size of your house, but try to give yourself one hour to get it all up. If it is imperfect, you can tinker with it the rest of the season. For now, it just needs a home.
Estimated Time: 60 minutes
- STEP EIGHT: CHANGE OUT THROW PILLOWS
Throw pillows are so quick to change and can completely transition your sofa from "happy Fall Y'all" to "Merry Christmas" in about one minute. I like to keep a neutral basis for most of my pillows and then toss in a couple of pillows for each season to pull it all together.
Estimated Time: 10 minutes
- STEP NINE: DECORATE THE TREE
Get the kids, cocoa, and Christmas music and decorate that tree. My husband and I unwrap ornaments while the kids place them. We don't require perfection. If you do need more order, then you might need to adjust and be the ornament placer :) Enjoy this time.
Estimated Time: 60-90 minutes
- STEP TEN: LIGHT A CANDLE AND HAVE A DRINK - YOU'RE DONE!
Take a moment and relish in your home. Beautifully decorated and in under 6-8 hours. Easily achievable in a day and you will have a home completely ready for the holidays. Adding that Christmas candle is the final nod to the senses - making it smell like Christmas! Well done and enjoy the holiday season - you deserve it!!
What are your Christmas decorating tips? Do you plan ahead better than I do? Do tell!