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EIGHT Simple Ways to Make

holiday decorating

Less Stressful

So you say you love the holidays!! Me, too!!

But sometimes you feel like the pressure to decorate for them (even though you think it is fun and festive)  just adds to your feelings of stress and overwhelm this time of year. You aren’t alone, my lovely friend.

It can be really frustrating to be caught between a busy schedule and a thousand responsibilities in your regular life … and the desire to create holiday happiness at home with your family without losing your mind.

As someone who has moved 20+ holiday decorating bins all up and down the eastern seaboard (courtsey of a military life), I know a little bit about loving the holidays AND about drowning myself in the effort to get everything decorated ‘just so’.

I’m not interested getting rid of all my decorations or becoming a holiday minimalist. No, thank you!  That’s never going to be me. But I HAVE figured out a few shortcuts to make decorating my home a fun and managable experience. Which is the way it should be!!

If you love holiday decorating but getting it done always feels overwhelming to you, try one of these simple and straightforward strategies. And be sure to let me know how it went in the comments below!

1. Use consumables.

Candles, soap, paper plates & napkins are  available for every holiday you can think of.  You can buy seasonal sprinkles to add a dash of joy to everything from cookies to Sat morning pancakes.

Real pumpkins, poinsettias, live wreaths, holiday candies or colorful fruit: all things you can bring in with minimum fuss that will enhance the holiday atmosphere. BONUS: you don’t have to find a place to store them later!

2. Replace everyday items with holiday ones.

Replacing everyday items with a holiday version can add a ton of festivity to the house without a big hassle. And since they are things you use anyway, you already know where they go!

Seasonal dishtowels or hand towels, tablecloths, spatulas, coffee mugs, pillowcases, coasters, even shower curtains- all add to the holiday spirit without a lot of decisions about where to put them or how to display them.

3. Limit the tchotchkes.

Those sit-around decorations can be soooo cute. But before you know it you have more tchotchkes than shelf space!

And you have to make decisions every year about where to put them, how to arrange them, and where did you put that stand you needed to prop this one up?

Eliminate some of the tchotchke stress by either:

a) limiting the number of tchotchkes you own. Choose one bin or shelf in a closet where they will be stored. 

b) limiting your tchotchke display to one location. Decide you are going to display them in this one china cabinet or that one bookshelf only.

Limiting your options a bit (either in storage space or display space) eliminates some of the decision fatigue that can be a huge culprit in how overwhelmed you feel.

BONUS: grouping your things together instead of spreading them all over the house makes a more dramatic display!

4. Choose specific decorating locations.

Expanding on the theme above of  limiting the tchotchke display to one area, choose a pre-determined location for each type of your holiday decor. And then keep using those same spots each season.

For example: Hang the garland on this one window or bookcase. Decorate the shelves in the kitchen. Replace this one picture.

And use those same locations for Halloween, then Thanksgiving and Christmas, etc.

The goal is to eliminate some decision fatigue. Trying to come up with a new and more amazing display idea every season saps the energy you need to actually enjoy the holiday itself!

5. Only use what you really love.

At the risk of sounding a bit like Marie Kondo, are you decorating with things that really light you up? Or are you decorating with the same things every year out of habit?

Look at your decorations as you pull them out. You know what you really, really love. (It’s often what you always put up first.) Those special decorations will become even more appreciated when they are the superstars of the holiday and not lost in a sea of other decor.

More isn’t always better. Sometimes it’s just more. (Do you know what movie that line is from? Sabrina. One of my favorite movie lines, ever.)

Let go of what you aren’t in love with. When you get out your decorations next year you will be excited about every single one!  (That feels really great, btw.) This will also make it a lot easier to…

6. Limit your storage space.

One way to minimize your decorating fatigue and stress is to make a conscious choice about how many decorations you are going to own.

I’m not suggesting you become a minimalist, unless that’s what you want to do. I’m just saying that determining that you are going to have one extra-large bin of Halloween décor and that’s ALL can make storing and displaying it less overwhelming.

Then you will have some parameters when you are looking at that cute tchotchke at Home Goods. Will it fit in the bin? What will I have to get rid of to make room for it? 

Keeping only what you really love and limiting your storage space both foster a new mindset about decorating.

Now you have to intentionally choose which decorations are most important to you. Curating your collection this way means you will get greater enjoyment out of decorating.

7. Take a picture.

If you put things up and really love the way they look, then take a picture!! It will save you countless hours in the future trying to remember and replicate what you did previously.

And don’t forget to save it somewhere you will actually be able to find it. (Like taped to the underside of the lid of that box of decorations. Or in a special photo album on your phone.)

8. Let go of perfection.

You may not get around to doing everything you wanted to do. This year I didn’t get the Halloween bats, which I adore, put up. I just got busy with other things.

But guess what? The bats will be waiting for me next year. It’s okay to do what you can do and let the rest go.

Give yourself permission to enjoy what you HAVE done and not guilt yourself about what didn’t happen this year.

If it is important, make a note to start earlier or do something different next year. But don’t let what didn’t get done ruin this years celebration.

Ready to make things merrier??

I love-love-love decorating for all the holidays. But over the years I have learned that I enjoy it much more when I make a few things a little simpler for myself.

What is managable for you today will change as you move through the seasons of your life. Things that seem overwhelming this year may be completely managable a few years down the road. And all that is totally normal!

Just like in other areas of life, how you go about creating a happy holiday needs to grow and change as your life grows and changes.

Embrace some simple changes that wil increase the amount of enjoyment you have in preparing for a happy holiday at home!


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