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The Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Decor

The Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Decor

No matter where you live, or in what type of home, there’s excitement about decking the halls for the holiday season. And, even though you may or may not choose boughs of holly as part of your home’s holiday decor, there are many things you can do—and should avoid doing—to achieve the look you want.

The Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Decor


Plan ahead.

Get a jumpstart on planning your holiday decor by starting the process in late October or early November. Otherwise, you may quickly find that items or colors you want are long out of stock. Begin planning at least a month earlier, and jot down notes as you go.

Bring the outside inside.

Use twigs, pine cones, and even wood as accessory pieces in spaces like your living room or dining room to weave a thread between the inside and outside. If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, this theme will work even better.

Make scents of it.

Speaking of the outdoors, the smell of pine—usually from a real tree—often elicits thoughts of the holidays, as do other classic scents like cranberry, vanilla, and peppermint. Perhaps no other time of year is so associated with the olfactory sense, so use that to your advantage.

Walk the fine line between too much and too little.

Can anything really be too much during the holiday season? Uh, yeah. And it’s usually easy to spot: for example if there are more inflatables than lawns showing in your yard. On the opposite end of the spectrum, going for a minimalist vibe can look quite classy, but it can also look quite empty. To prevent the museum look, choose three or four decorative pieces per room.

Choose a theme and stick to it.

This doesn’t mean that the theme must be the same every year. In my house, for example, we have a history of alternating multicolored lights and white lights on the tree and then expanding that theme through the rest of the room. Likewise, you can choose to run the theme or color palette throughout your home, or you can choose a different one for each room or each floor. Keep in mind, however, that if you choose to decorate room by room, it will be better if the rooms are separated rather than having an open-plan layout.

Transition your furnishings.

You don’t need a complete overhaul for the holidays (other than perhaps rearranging your furniture); adding touches to the holiday will do the trick. For example, you can add some throw pillows in textured fabric to your living room couch that match your overall holiday decor, or swap out the neutral duvet on your bed for a cozy, plaid flannel one.

Focus on tree spacing.

There are two different spacing considerations if you have a tree. First, don’t crowd your tree by placing it too close to furniture or the fireplace (especially if it’s real since you’ll need to water it). Also, make sure it’s in a prominent place, such as in a corner or by the main wall, and you’ll get bonus design points if you can also see it from the outside.

When it comes to what wraps the tree, the garland, and the lights, take your time to ensure they are balanced from top to bottom. The dreaded “tree gaps”—seemingly cavernous holes where there are no decorations and no lights— are real

And then there are the ornaments and other trinkets, which, if not spaced properly, can look like a hot mess. If you are going minimal with one to three colors, such as gold and red ornaments with white lights, separating the reds and golds is easy to do. If your ornaments have a wide array of colors, your primary focus should be making sure that like colors, hues, and styles are distanced from one another.

The Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Decor


Overdo scents.

The downside of aromas is that, depending on what you use, they can be downright overwhelming. Even one peppermint candle can soon overpower your senses and your home. If possible, put natural items, such as the aforementioned pine cones or peppermint leaves, in a bowl or jar, or create a DIY potpourri of your own liking.

Limit your color palette.

Which two colors make you think of Christmas? If you answered “red and green,” congratulations—you and just about everyone else answered the same. (The same would apply to the expected colors of Hanukkah.) It’s all right if you love classic holiday color combos; they’re awesome. Just don’t hesitate to add a splash of another complementary color here and there, or, if you’re feeling daring, go for a completely different color scheme, like a monochrome pink or purple palette. If you can dream it, you can create it.

Lose sight of your own tastes.

It’s tempting to buy decor when you’re out shopping, and it’s obviously OK to do so. However, to emphasize your style, consider personalizing your overall aesthetic by adding a DIY craft, such as a homemade garland, here and there to display your own personal touch. Here’s a fun way to take personalization to the max: purchase a meaningful ornament every year at a vacation destination. Your tree will become a scrapbook of memories.

Forget about your doorways.

What’s one of the first things that people see when they walk into your home? A doorway leading from one room into another, often through a hallway. Make your first impression eye-catching by framing such doorways with lights or cards attached to a green garland. If you choose the former, make sure it matches the rest of your surrounding decor.

Leave everything up too long.

For many people, the holiday look will get as stale as an old fruitcake after several weeks. The natural cutoff for Christmas is usually after the New Year (new beginnings, after all), although it may vary based on your family or faith tradition. Keeping any winter holiday going until late January will definitely make your home look tired—and make you look like you’re desperate to cling to the holidays.

The holiday season is one of the best times of year to transform your home, both inside and out. By following these few simple principles, you can achieve a cohesive, memorable look that everybody will love and create inspiration for years to come.

Easy Easter Traditions

Easter is one of the most exciting holidays of the year, as it’s not only another opportunity to eat plenty of sweets, but a celebration of the coming spring season and a welcoming of warmer days ahead. Of course, no Easter celebration is complete without a little egg dying and egg hunt, but there are plenty of other festive traditions you and your family can adopt to make the holiday a memorable one.

Start an “Easter” garden.

Easter is one of the first indications that spring has arrived, and what better way to celebrate than by starting your own garden? Plenty of wonderful-smelling flowers come into bloom around March and April, like lilies and hyacinth, which are perfect additions to a garden. You could also try planting your own fruits and vegetables, too, which you’ll be able to enjoy in a few months when summer arrives!

Make Easter bread.

This colorful confection is an Italian Easter tradition that is completely manageable, so kids can help out! There are a few variations on the traditional recipe, and you should feel free to make it your own, too—so long as you don’t forget the decorative dyed eggs.

Watch one of the classic Easter movies.

Though there’s no real explanation for it, it seems that every year there are a plethora of fantastic movies on television throughout Easter weekend. The Ten Commandments is always an obvious choice, but in recent years The Sound of Music and other classic films are among the must-see programing throughout the holiday.

Host a nontraditional egg hunt.

While most people have their egg hunts during daytime hours, it’s even more fun (and challenging) to hold the egg hunt at night. Kids will have a blast searching for eggs with only the light of the moon and a flashlight to guide them. This activity may be best reserved for older kids, but younger kids will love to assist them in the search. Have fun switching up the traditional egg hunt!

Take a quirky family photo.

Taking a group shot on Easter is no new tradition, but you can turn this practice into a wacky family ritual that everyone will love to do year after year. Try throwing in some goofy costumes or props, like bunny ears, to create memorable pictures you’ll cherish.

Out of the Box Gift Wrapping

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who like to wrap presents and those who don’t. If you’re the latter, the task of getting tangled in paper and ribbon is the most tedious part of the holiday season, but with these alternatives, you can wrap all of your gifts with ease!

Brown Paper

Have some lunch bags or grocery bags to spare? Cut them so that the paper is spread out as big as it can extend, and use just like regular wrapping paper. You can even get a little more creative and incorporate your own design using stamps, paint, ribbon, buttons, or any other craft material you please!

Wax/Parchment Paper

If you have an overload of parchment or wax paper left over from baking cookies, don’t let it go to waste. Use crayons to give your paper some color, or leave white for a frosty look, and wrap your presents with a layer or two of the paper.


Before putting your newspaper in the recycling bin, try using it as wrapping paper instead! Page through the next edition for any striking images or interesting articles, cut them out, and get to wrapping.

Make Your Home Safe For The Holidays

The holiday season can be a busy time, making it hard to prioritize the safety of your home. Take the right precautions now so you can make the most of your time celebrating with loved ones at home.

If you’re planning on staying home and hosting guests this holiday season, the tips below can help you check your safety list twice and feel at ease.


Cooking and baking are a central part of any holiday celebration, but food preparation can also be the source of multiple safety hazards. Before you stir, bake, or fry your favorites, consider the following precautions.

Replace batteries

It should go without saying, but you must maintain your smoke detectors year-round. It’s especially important to replace the batteries before your holiday cooking. Many people try intricate, unfamiliar recipes during the holidays, and it only takes a moment for flames to start in your kitchen while you walk away to use the bathroom or turn your back to prepare something else.

Clean your appliances

Use a bit of elbow grease to refresh the interiors and exteriors of your appliances to reduce the risk of fire from leftovers like grease or crumbs. However, before you do, check that your cleaner is safe for the surfaces of your appliances. Some common agents in all-purpose cleaners are not safe when heated and should be avoided in hot spaces. To play it safe and help your wallet, make a homemade cleaner, such as a 3:1 water and white vinegar solution.

Monitor your food

Food safety never takes a holiday! Check any ingredients lists on new foods or recipes for allergens that members of your household or your guests might have adverse reactions to. When you’re ready to cook, it’s wise to invest in gadgets like a meat thermometer to double-check that your recipes are ready to serve. Additionally, after your meal, promptly put any leftovers in the fridge or freezer so they don’t spoil.


Many people love to go all out with lights, a tree, and candles to bring home the holiday spirit—all of which can be safety hazards if they aren’t set up and maintained correctly. Spend a few extra minutes during your decorating to keep your pieces beautiful rather than dangerous, as below.

Contain candles

The warmth, light, and scent of candles bring joy, and, because of that, they are a decorative staple for the holidays. However, at this time of year there are more than twice as many candle fire calls across the US as normal. To mitigate this risk, invest in sturdy holders, use clear surfaces, and never leave candles burning while you’re sleeping or away from the room. If you prefer candles for the ambiance over their scent, consider flameless candles, which provide the same glow without the fire hazard.

Tend to your tree

A Christmas tree can be a central point of decor that you look forward to dressing up with your loved ones. But you can take a few steps to ensure your tree looks its best without ruining your holiday. For example, keep your tree well-watered. A well-watered tree is less likely to catch fire, and you can prevent a tree fire by positioning it away from any heat sources, unplugging lights at the end of the night and while you’re sleeping or out of the house. Lastly, try not to overload your tree with too many lights and ornaments.

Manage plugs

Do not attempt to cram all your plugs into one outlet. Plan your decoration placement to strategize where you’ll need extension cords. Check that your lights and electric other decor are a proper wattage for your outlets. It’s better to have less decor to avoid tripped wires and burnt outlets. The best way to mitigate the jumbled look and safety hazard of crowded outlets is to use pieces with rechargeable batteries wherever possible.


Winter can be full of unexpected weather that can change plans and make the roads near your home unsafe, and holiday plans can add stress to the mix. Make sure your home and household are prepared in case bad weather strikes.

Control heat

Have your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned before you roast your chestnuts in an open fireplace. If you don’t have a fireplace and plan to use space heaters, be sure to keep them away from flammable objects. They should be away from all surfaces and set to oscillate, if possible, to distribute the heat evenly.

Stock up

The best way to prepare for a snowstorm or extreme weather is to stock up on necessary supplies. Items like salt, shovels, and a generator can ensure your holiday guests aren’t stranded or left in the dark.

Check your seals

Take the time to check the seals on your home’s windows and doors. If you can fix the seal yourself, do so before you decorate to save the time of redecorating. Consider hiring a professional to check and repair any cracks, and invest in draft stoppers so your heating bills don’t ruin the holiday spirit.

Have a safe and happy holiday season by keeping these home safety tips in mind.