Holiday decorating has such a warm, cozy, and festive allure to it. Think: Wearing your favorite sweater and fuzzy socks with a hot cocoa in hand while playfully hanging up decorations with the kids. Of course, there’s also that perfect holiday playlist in the background and heck, why not hope for gently falling snow outside, as well.
The truth? Holiday decorating can be a major dread for some. Think: The world’s largest ball of tangled lights, not being able to find your kid’s handmade ornaments from last year and overspending on those latest Pinterest ideas.
Good news? With a little organizing, simplifying and planning, the process can be much more of a hot-cocoa-in-hand experience than a dread-inducing weekend project. Below are a few tips to try out this year to make holiday decorating a breeze.
Storing and Organizing
When it comes to getting decorations out year after year, lights are always an ordeal. Prevent all those wire tangles by putting them away in one of the many tried and proven ways: Put each string in an individual gallon ziplock or grocery store bag, or wrap strands around a piece of cardboard or large coffee cans.
Ornaments are delicate and need separating for their protection … and of course, to avoid tangling. To protect, layer newspaper in between each one or place in individual plastic cups. For extra security, hot glue the plastic cups (SOLO cups work great) to a piece of cardboard. Then stack the cardboard pieces in layers.
For those decorative candles that are just for looks, keep them looking their best by storing in cardboard paper towel rolls.
Once you have everything ready to load into boxes for the year, use the same size storage containers so they easily can stack together. This saves space and gives more organization to your stash. Don’t forget to label each storage container as you are packing them!
When it comes to decorating, keeping it simple saves time, hassle and money. Plus, keeping decorations simple seems to be a trend that’s not going anywhere soon.
Pick decor like you would a capsule wardrobe – tried and true basics that are good for more than one use. Think a red tablecloth (good for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July, etc.), and lighting that could double for backyard dinner parties in warmer weather.
Have anything in your yard that stays green throughout the winter? Use it! Make your own holiday door swag and add touches of greenery throughout the house for an authentic look and smell.
Proud of those wrapped presents? Decorate with them! Instead of waiting until the end of the season to wrap, wrap early and decorate with your labor of love.
Displaying Christmas cards received throughout the season is a sweet reminder of friends and family, near and far. Give them double duty and decorate with them! Create a card garland or get creative with a number of DIY displays.
Safely Hanging Lights
When it comes to the decorating task that tops all, planning ahead is key. Measure ahead of time, plan where the plug-ins will be and check all lights ahead of time for burned-out bulbs.
Be sure to only use lights with the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) label and double check that your lights you are planning on using outside are specifically designed for doing so.
Remember to include no more than 1,400 watts on a circuit. Tip: If the lights inside your house seem to be dimmer than usual, check your energy load. Overloaded outlets can also catch fire if too many lights are plugged in at once.
When hanging lights towards your roof or treetops, be sure to check and make sure there are no overhead power lines for at least 10-feet in all directions.
A classic a hammer and nails (and the house damage that comes with it) can easily be traded for plastic clips, zip ties or electrical tape.
Test light strings and replace any burned-out lights before hanging. Burned-out lights drain power from the entire light string. The other bulbs will also become dimmer!
Stock up on LED lights. While more a little more expensive to purchase, they use 90% less electricity than typical, incandescent Christmas lights, so your investment will quickly be made up for.
Be sure to set your lights on a timer so that they will automatically turn on once it gets dark outside and off when it gets late. No need to have them on the entire night. Your wallets will thank you!
‘Tis the Season and Happy Decorating! Remember that having fun is what holiday decorating is all about.