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The Best Step-by-Step Guide to Holiday Decorating

Christmas decor

The Best Step-by-Step Guide to Holiday Decorating

Happy holidays! Decorating for the holidays is an exciting and fun thing. Check out our step-by-step guide to decorating for the holidays!

Key Points

  • Pick a theme before you do anything else. Your theme will guide your budget and shopping experience.
  • Child- and pet-proof all decorations.
  • Keep drinks and food handy for all your helpers!
Holiday Decorating Checklist

Holiday Decorating Checklist

1. Pick a theme. Keep in mind space constraints, and any small children or pets in the household. You'll want to keep any objects that your children or pets could hurt themselves on well out of reach. Practice good cord management; don't leave cords dangling where they can be tripped over or chewed on by pets.

2. Set a budget. Make it realistic. You'll need to allocate funds depending on how large your home is, and how elaborate you want your decorating to be. It might be helpful to shop around to see what you like and what it may cost. Don't leave a lot of room in your budget for impulse shopping. It can be very tempting to pick up those pretty ornaments, but for the sake of your wallet you should stick to only what you need.

3. Recruit helpers. Decorating an entire house for the holidays alone is a daunting task, and not much fun. Recruit your spouse, children, friends, or whoever else is willing to put in a hard day's work. You supply the cookies and hot buttered rum!

4. See what you already have. Go through all your decorations. Keep what you know you'll use. Discard anything that is broken or that got ruined in storage. Be sure to check all your lights! Consider donating or passing along anything that you don't like or that doesn't fit your new theme. Before getting rid of anything that's still in good shape, consider whether you see yourself using it again in the future.

5. Clean your house the day before. You don't want to be dusting and vacuuming while trying to decorate. Starting with a clean house will make your life easier. Have your family help you tidy up. Make sure spaces are cleared for any decorations, and that all of your decorations are in accessible places. If any of your decorations need to be cleaned up, do that in advance.

6. Assemble all your materials. Pick a central location that's easy for all your helpers to access. Make sure young children aren't allowed to handle anything fragile or expensive.

7. Tackle the biggest job first, while you're all still fresh and well-rested. You can always do the little jobs yourself another day if need be. If possible, delegate tasks to different people. If you have several helpers, not all of them need to decorate the tree. Some of them can decorate the mantle, hang up the wreath, or work on outdoor decorations.

8. Remove packing boxes and materials as you go along. You'll avoid a huge stack of empty boxes at the end of the day.

9. Take photos of any elaborate displays that you'll want to duplicate next year. Keep a notebook as well. Write down what worked, and what didn't. It'll be much easier to put together that 100 piece Victorian village next year if you have pictures and notes to help you along.

10. Remember to take breaks as needed. It can take a while to decorate for the holidays, so it's important to pace yourself. Keep water and other drinks handy for anyone who might need them, as well as snacks that can be picked at throughout the day. Trail mix is a great option. Keep breaks to a reasonable length so you aren't wasting time; 15 to 20 minutes is sufficient.

11. Don't let children handle anything electrical without supervision. It's best for adults to handle these decorations, as children may hurt themselves or damage the decorations. If your child wants to help with electrical decorations, find tasks for them that don't endanger them or the decorations. Children under five should not be assisting with these types of decorations.

12. Know when to quit. In some cases, it may take you more than a day to get all your decorations done. Keep an eye on all of your helpers, as well as your own energy level. Once people start to get tired and cranky, it's time to end for the day. There's no requirement to get everything done as soon as possible! Prioritize making it fun over getting as much done in one day as possible.

13. Keep a broom handy in case any decorations get broken. Sometimes, accidents happen. An ornament may fall off the tree, or a box might get dropped. If something breaks, you'll want to clean it up as soon as possible. To help avoid broken decorations, have adults carry everything and supervise children while they handle fragile objects. Keep pets restricted to another room or a part of the house you won't be decorating.

14. Sit back, relax and have a happy holiday!

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