Get your red velvet thinking cap on, it’s time to start putting your best holiday decorating ideas into action. But before you begin hauling boxes full of holiday cheer down from the attic, let our list of decorating do’s and don’ts save you from getting grinchy.
Do Be Safe
Frayed wires on light strings, cords that are trip hazards, or any decor item that blocks your home’s entryways are definitely not some of our favorite things. Check lights for loose bulbs and wires that protrude or appear broken. Follow all manufacturer’s recommendations for use, and limit the number of connected strands. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends plugging no more than three strands into a single extension cord. Also make sure that cords are safely secured and out of reach of any curious four-legged family members.
Reduce the risk of a holiday fire by using only heat-safe candle holders, and remember to extinguish all candles and turn off all lights before leaving the house and at bedtime. In case you still wear a nightcap and live in the 19th century, please don’t decorate your tree with real burning candles.
Don’t Be That Neighbor
Every neighborhood or apartment building has one–that neighbor who leaves their musical light show set to the theme of “Here Comes Santa Claus” blasting and blinking all night long. Yes, it is the season of overindulgence, and your neighbors probably do enjoy the way you decorate with gusto. But be a pal and turn the strobe lights off at a respectable hour. Please.
A 24-hour light show is also a true waste of energy. Even if you can afford the power bill, the environment can’t. You don’t want your holiday home decor to be this year’s biggest contribution to global warming. That’s a one-way ticket to the naughty list, after all.
Do Be Creative
Who says your Christmas decorations can’t be pink and brown? Display a forest of brown metallic trees throughout your home and accent them with stars covered in pink glitter if it makes you happy. The key to festive decorating isn’t in the color choice, it’s in the repetition of your theme.
Yes, there are traditional colors for the winter holidays, but no rule says you have to follow tradition. Add a splash of yellow to your blue and silver Hanukkah or a punch of puce to your Yule. Your creative spirit might even inspire some new holiday decorating ideas among family and friends.
Don’t Set Yourself Up for Failure
Dreams of the perfect holiday home decor can quickly turn into a nightmare if your expectations are too high. Bulbs break, trees have a bare side, and gingerbread houses crumble. Don’t miss out on the joys of the holiday because ornaments aren’t all facing the right way. Relax, let the kids help and keep in mind that minor disasters sometimes make the fondest holiday memories.
Do Get Fancy
If now isn’t the time for using Grandma’s good china, when is? Whether you’re hosting a family meal or a swanky cocktail party, there’s no need to rack your brain for holiday decorating ideas; look on those high shelves where you store the things you want to keep safe. Skip the paper plates and dust off everything that shines and sparkles.
You don’t have to have Martha Stewart’s resources to set a beautiful table; you don’t even need plates that match. Tie all your treasures together by using coordinated table linens. For example, if your best pieces are a mishmash of colors and patterns, choose elegant white cloth napkins and a matching tablecloth to give the table a cohesive look. On the flipside, if your special occasion dishes are understated, go for bold linens and table decor that will add the holiday glamour you’re looking for.
If some of your favorite items are so precious that you can’t even think about passing them around the table, but you’d still like to display them during the holidays, use them as part of your decor. Imagine the charm of an antique silver chafing dish filled with pinecones or a set of crystal glasses lined up on the mantle, each holding a single red glass ornament. Adorable!
Don’t Commit a Storage Fail
Tangled light strings and boxes of broken ornaments stacked in the garage? Not on our watch! When it’s time to put everything away, do it right. Investing in special storage containers for all of your Christmas decorations helps protect them year after year. Take a few extra minutes to repair anything that broke, make a separate pile of items you no longer want, put things away neatly, and label containers clearly. With a little care, next year’s holiday decorating will be as easy as jingling a bell.