Simplify Holiday Decorating in Five Easy Steps














If your house is like mine, holiday decorating takes on a life (and a storage unit) of its own. This year I was struck with the number of storage bins dedicated to the festive madness, and I wondered if I could do more with less. After all, being more efficient with holiday decorations would give me everything I wanted on my Christmas list: more time, more money, more space, and more sanity.

The best tip for simple, yet impactful, holiday decorating is to think perennial with annual flair. Much like garden beds that benefit from the occasional temporary flowering plant, you could use a few basic statement pieces and let the creativity flow from there. This way you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time the season changes; simply rearrange, add holiday fillers, and enjoy your brilliance.

  • Wreathes. A basic grapevine wreath could transition from holiday to holiday with a few simple additions. For the winter festivities, add evergreen herbs like rosemary, bay, and tarragon. You could also brighten it up with ribbons or candy canes. Add a simple velvet bow, and you are in business.
  • Bowls and Vases. Remember, these items were invented to hold things, so make them work for it. Glass ball ornaments make lovely holiday filler, particularly if they won’t fit on the tree. For a more natural look, consider pinecones, garland, or holly leaves. Cinnamon sticks make a wonderfully aromatic addition as well.
  • Compotes. Large glass jars with lids, compotes are a decorator’s dream. They can hold their own (and so many, many other things) on dinner tables, buffets, and mantles. What they can be filled with is limited only by your imagination; consider using peppermints, holiday cookies, tinsel, sleigh bells, or a swirl of magnolia leaves.
  • Lights. Sometimes all you need are a few well-draped holiday lights to strike the right mood. The glow of a strand of warm-white holiday lights balled up inside an unused fireplace lends a bit of whimsy to an otherwise dark space. They are also beautiful draped with garland over a mantle or curled up in a compote. Some of the new LED lights come with battery-operated packs that give you more outlet-free flexibility.
  • Serving Dishes. You don’t necessarily need holiday-themed dinnerware to show off your festive spirit. Consider tying red ribbons to stemware or letting the food and the centerpieces showcase what the season has to offer.

The best part of working with static pieces is that you aren’t tied to the same style year after year, and no matter how you embellish, your holiday décor will still effortlessly tie into your home. Another added bonus? Your house doesn’t only have to come to life over winter’s “celebrity holidays” but will have the ability to add seasonal charm throughout the year without a lot of effort.


What holiday item (Candy canes? Garland? Stockings?) gets you most in the spirit?


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