In my quest to get ahead of December, I’m getting into the Christmas decor early. I want the whole house fully decked-out, so I can enjoy the season in its fullness, before it arrives! In years past, I’ve felt the rush to get everything up and prepared—then just as soon as everything is set, the 25th has come and gone, and it’s back to breaking it all down.
So much of the holiday joy we feel lies in anticipation. Like kids eagerly waiting for Santa, we get giddy as something we’ve been waiting for approaches! But it’s hard to capture that feeling when you’re running around stressed. Or worse, maybe the only thing you’re anticipating is all the work that will go into dismantling the decor you JUST put up! 😂
This year is already so different for countless reasons. But ‘different’ doesn’t have to mean bad! Adopting a Holiday Growth Mindset will be a big help in adapting expectations to see the cup half-full. In our case, we’re foregoing our usual winter trip up to Seattle, so there’s more time at home to get into cozy Christmas decor! And this year, I’m hatching a fool-proof plan to make the whole experience feel easy.
Storage: Location, Location, Location
We store our tree, ornaments, and other decor in the garage. Most of the time, it’s out of sight, out of mind. Overhead storage racks are a must for the stuff that only comes out once a year! Home Depot has a wide range of sizes and brands, and it’s a great solution to keeping everything in one place. When the time comes, we just pull everything down and go to town!
I do my best to keep everything nice and organized, so it’s easy to keep track of. This is critical whether you store decor in the garage, basement, or keep everything in a closet or under a bed. Making sure all your decor is grouped together helps reduce the amount of time you spend looking through old storage for the right boxes.
And when it comes to boxes, I like to make mine OBVIOUS. I have big red & green tupperware that house all of our bits and baubles. They’re easy to find, and it helps preserve the magic of festivity, even in storage. As for the tree? Well, Mr. Meticulous keeps every box in the world. We tape our tree back into the original box to keep it safely with the other items. It’s nothing fancy, but I’m glad Travis thought to keep it. I’m not sure any other box would be big enough!
Trimming the Tree: Keep it Easy!
Actually, getting the faux tree was a pretty big compromise. Hello, I grew up in the PNW! I like REAL trees. But since we’re so often gone for the Big Day, it doesn’t always make sense to spend Big Money on the real thing. So in the past, we’ve skipped the tree altogether in favor of the one at my Mom’s. Or, Travis would agree to get a Charlie Brown tree for our house to appease the girls—including me. 😉
We finally picked up our fake tree at Target last year. I’ll admit, I love the flocked look! It gives the tree a real outdoor feel, like you’re up in the mountains. There’s a cozy warmth to it, and the tree feels filled-in without a ton of ornaments. This is perfect, since I prefer more Scandinavian-style tree with sparse ornamentation and maaaybe a neutral garland.
With about 120 ornaments, everything fits in just 2 Real Simple ornament cases. These little boxes store beautifully, and help me make sure my collection doesn’t get out of hand. I don’t like loading my Christmas trees up with a lot of ribbons and bows, so I love the additional visual depth flocking provides!
But the biggest win is that this bad boy comes PRE-LIT.
It. Is. A. Game-changer. The lights are wound evenly around each branch with glowing results! Usually, I get bored half-way through stringing lights and start to just wrap three or four branches at a time. My sister has a good laugh at my lighting job every year. She’s a total stickler, taking up to a week to string MILES of lights around her own 10-ft live tree. Last year was the first time she approved my lighting job. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I didn’t do it!
Garlands & Wreaths Galore
I’ve definitely come around on the faux tree, but when we’re talking garlands, I still like them fresh! The smell is so nice, and when it comes to the needles, you can always tell the difference. I do add some fake garlands and wreaths for filler around the house—but Trader Joe’s makes it so affordable to get the real deal, there’s no reason not to!
I had to buy fake wreaths for the front door, because our West-facing entryway gets HOT afternoon sun. When I have to go fake, I like Balsam Hill for their realistic look! They’re definitely not cheap, so I have plastic tupperware to store them, which keeps them from getting smushed. I recommend storing with a scent so they stay “fresh.”
Truthfully, MOST of our decor is in wreaths and garlands! I prefer the natural look, which avoids looking cheesy while gracefully celebrating seasonal changes. Plus, by staying biodegradable, I keep from adding to the amount I need to store. I think the best decor is in easy, natural details!
In fact, one of my must-haves each year is logs for my fireplace. I use white birch logs year-round, but switch to rustic cedar logs for the Holidays. I use the same set every year, stored in those red & green bins. We don’t burn them, since our fireplace is gas, but this detail adds such warmth to the home.
If you DO have a wood burning fireplace, this is a great opportunity to mindfully dispose of your real trimmings, once they’ve dried out. A glowing fire of old garlands can keep you warm well into February!
Feel Free to Part With It
When it comes to any kind of decorating, I don’t like a lot of novelty items. Cluttered surfaces make me feel stressed, so I try to limit the areas I decorate throughout the house. Selfishly, I don’t want to clean it all up after Christmas! When the kids were younger, I had more knick-knacky Christmas decor, but over the years I’ve definitely edited this down.
I think a lot of us end up inheriting an over-abundance of baubles that can make Christmas decor feel a bit like a chore. But at the end of the day, it’s YOUR house! If you’re getting ready to let go of the extras, ask yourself whether the piece in question carries an emotional charge.
If there’s no sentimental value, ditch it!
But if it feels like there’s a reason to hang onto something, consider:
- What are the pros & cons of this object?
- Do the pros outweigh the cons?
- Does this piece enrich my space?
- Will this piece help improve the relationships in my space?
- Does this piece help me feel closer to the person who gifted it to me?
- Does this piece carry a unique memory, or is it one of a dozen?
It can be crazy to think a simple item can contain so much meaning, but objects can carry great emotional significance. Whether it’s tied to a memory that impacted us, or helps us feel inspired to be the best version of ourselves, it’s totally okay to keep things because they remind us of who we were—or want to be!
The key is in creating a relational criteria to help cut down on clutter. What’s the WHY? To feel close to Grandma, you don’t have to keep ALL her 70’s tchotchkes. Maybe stick with the one that was her favorite. You’ll feel so much better about getting rid of the rest once you know you’ve fulfilled your emotional goal.
What Does “Worth It” Look Like?
One of the table ornaments I do keep are these paper houses we snagged a few years ago from Pottery Barn. Natalie LOVED them, and picked them out herself. It was her own winter wonderland, and she spends time playing with them on the coffee table by the tree. This was my relational reason to keep them, even if they’re not my personal favorite.
I always want my girls to be involved with the Christmas decor. They each have their own Christmas memory boxes, where they keep the crafts they make in each grade. This is the benefit of having two trees—which we’ll definitely do this year, since we’re home! While one can be a designer tree, the other will hold all our family memories to enjoy all season long.
And it won’t hurt that they’ll make it easy to stay organized! 😉 How are you making decorating easy on yourself this year?