Decorating for the Holidays Requires a Plan and a Strategy…

Decorating your house for the holidays is something that many of us do. Those who it falls to can often feel like this is a massive undertaking and, well, it is. Year after year it goes up. Most likely we add to it and then it comes down. The following year it’s even more work to put up and that cycle just continues. Heck, there have even been years when I question wether it’s worth all the work. This was almost one of those years it didn’t go up at all but then I made myself do it and you should too. 


Decorating your house wether for the holidays or any other time of year is a massive undertaking. Well done it can cost a small fortune, be countless hours of work, and often doesn’t get much in feedback or validation. The first step to decorating for the holidays is figuring out the why. Why are you doing it? My husband and I have been having a lot of conversations about this. With not having children and it just being the two of us I was really struggling with do I need to even bother with all the fuss.


Let me just say wether you do it for your children or not shouldn’t be the issue. You need to do it for yourself. When all the decorating is done, when it’s been a long day, when you’re sipping your cup of tea or enjoying a cocktail while reading a good book you can’t tell me that the glow of the Christmas tree doesn’t just some how lift your spirits. Sure how I decorate is not everyones cup of tea but whatever your style is I encourage you to get it set up so you can enjoy it.


Once you figure out your reasons “why” the next part and maybe the most important part is the plan and strategy. Now, chances are you have already gotten your stuff out and it was a bit chaotic.


TIP #1 – Take pictures of EVERYTHING you set up. Make a digital album on your computer, phone, tablet, whatever titled Christmas Decorating. This will save you heaps of time next year.

TIP #2 – Storage. Start investing in good storage. I love Target’s Sterilite Clear View Latch Storage Bin. These are under $10 each and go on sale often. You should have one for every room you have decorations in and several for just your tree’s ornaments. Because these are “clear view” to label them all you need to do is write the room the decorations are for on a piece of paper and make sure it’s visible. The other option I like especially for all the tree decorations is from Ikea the series is called Samla. They have an insert for their 6 gallon tub that’s great for organizing all the little bits of bobs.

TIP #3 – When possible stay away from glass ornaments. Plastic ornaments have come a long way and look really sharp. Best part is if you drop one while decorating more than likely it will be fine even are hard surfaces.

TIP #4 – Use floral wire, not hooks. A lot of us have precious ornaments and you want to keep them safe. Using a small piece of floral wire instead of the hook allows you to more securely fasten it to the branch.

TIP #5 – Wide wire-edged ribbon is great for garlands, trees, wreaths, and so on. You can now find loads of really affordable choices at stores like Costco. Best part is my bows can get all smashed up in the boxes but when I go to put them up the wire allows me to fluff them right back up.

TIP #6 – Have extension cords that are only used for holiday decorations and keep them in the bins of the rooms you used them in. Nothing is worse than trying to track down extension cords.


BONUS TIP: Artificial trees are the best way to go. I used to be a HUGE fan of real trees. I grew up going and cutting one down. We then eased into just going to a lot and picking one out. I have fond memories of all of these things but I love my artificial tree for a few reasons:

  1. You can get them pre-lit with LED lights. This means no more taking strands on and off the tree. LED lights will last if not forever, a VERY long time.
  2. You can put it up when you want. This means no more waiting until the lots open or the Christmas Tree farms open. This means you can just get it up and decorated when it’s convenient for you.
  3. You can more easily secure your ornaments to it and manipulate the branches to best display your decorations.
  4. No pine needles! No dead tree to dispose of! No trying to water the poor thing!

(Side note: If we do have a child I have every intention of having two trees. The big artificial one will be in the center of the house with all of the heirloom ornaments. In the living room I would have a real tree that would be decorated whimsically, one where our child could help, and any of the ornaments they make will go.)


Having everything organized will help your decorating move right along and go up smoothly. Not having to dig through boxes because you can’t find your most cherished decoration or for that matter your tree topper will make this a lot less stressful.


Now, when it comes to putting your decorations up you can plan on what rooms are being done on what days. You know everything you will need is in the bins marked for that room and with having pictures from the previous year you can see just how you set everything up, sort of like a guide.



Most word processor applications for computers or smart devices today are loaded with easy to use features. One of which is placing a photo in a document. To truly go above and beyond make a document. Place your photos in the document. Title the page with what room in the house it is and type up any and all notes you want to have for future reference. When you’re writing them think of it as you’re having to give someone instructions on who to do it if you weren’t there. When all your notes are done for the one room insert a page break and move on to the next one with its needed notes.

You could also take pictures of any holiday food you make and include the recipes in the same fashion. You could either keep it digital or print the whole thing and put them into clear sleeves in a binder. This can then become your holiday game plan. If you want to rope in help you can give them the pictures and notes so you can rest assured that it’s being done to how you want.

This may seem extreme but this is how high end homes are done by professional decorators. This way caterers, cleaning crews, and the like can come in do what they were hired to do and put everything back exactly the way it was.

These books and strategies are also helpful if you want to get into seasonal decorating. Depending on your climate you may change out draperies, bedding, and other linens so having it documented will keep you from having to remember everything.

It’s a lot of work at first but once you have the foundation and keep building on it this type of planning does help tremendously.

(For additional posts about any of the rooms photographed above simply click on the picture.)

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