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Christmas Decorating Tips for a Festive Holiday Season

The holiday season is officially here–it didn’t take me long to unpack my decorations and start decking the halls! Kate here, and the day after Thanksgiving is the official beginning of my Christmas decorating adventure. This year I snapped some photos of the action and compiled a list of tips for celebrating the holidays in style. When it comes to decorating, there’s no one “right” approach, but honoring your own personal style as well as the layout of your space can help ensure that your holiday decor makes a big statement. Here are a few more ideas for a festive holiday season…

Let Your Holiday Style Evolve

Does your holiday style change from year to year? Mine has certainly changed over time! In general, I prefer a retro-meets-modern approach, but during the past few years, my main focus has shifted from a strictly vintage look to the incorporation of bright colors that evoke a hint of Memphis-Milano style.

One of my favorite holiday decorating tips is to let your holiday decor change over time as your preferences shift. I’m not talking about spending hundreds of dollars on new decorations each year. In fact, you’d be surprised at how the purchase of a handful of new ornaments can really freshen up your holiday style. Do you buy a couple of new pieces each year? One year, I bought a bag of inexpensive miniature trees (shown below), and I enjoy creating a tabletop display of Christmas charm with these items each holiday season:

Sometimes making a decor change can involve rediscovering old pieces and freshening them up with one or two new items. Below we see several glass ornaments gifted to me over the years by my mother. I’d packed them away, only to find them again and marvel at how well they fit into my current Christmas style. The yellow metal snowflake ornament is a newer find from CB2.

A change in Christmas decor can be a gradual evolution over time, fueled by the purchase of one or two new items each year. Embrace your changing tastes, and let your unique style shine through, even if it doesn’t reflect the latest retail trends.

Consider the Size and Style of Your Interior

I wanted to begin this post with the fun side of decorating, but let’s also talk about practical details. I know–they’re inevitable! For one, consider the size of your home. I’m not going to be a stickler and tell you that small residences aren’t big enough to fit large Christmas trees. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

But if you’re a person who doesn’t like a cluttered look or who prefers a less-is-more approach to holiday decorating, consider opting for tabletop trees or a lean pencil tree, especially if you’re short on space. While living in a studio apartment and then in a small duplex, I displayed my ornaments on a trio of vintage-style tabletop trees in shades of silver and white. Metallic ornaments completed the look.

As time went on, I really longed for a larger tree, so I purchased a silver pencil tree and filled it with ornaments I collected as a teen and a young adult. Here are a few of them below:

My metallic tabletop trees now take up residence in the dining room, where shades of silver and gold are prominent. In our living room, the pencil tree really shines, especially since it’s covered with ornaments that reflect the bright, geo personality of the space. That’s another factor to keep in mind: the style of your home.

When deciding which room to adorn with certain holiday items, try to mirror the style of your space. For example, if you have a traditional living room, this may be a great place for your collection of antique ornaments. Coordinating holiday decor with the style of the room is in no way a hard and fast rule, but keeping it in mind can help clarify your mission and make holiday decorating seem much less overwhelming. It certainly helped me decide where to place my decorations of different styles!

Don’t Forget the Special Touches

What makes your home feel special at Christmas? Is it classic glass ball ornaments? The sparkle of silver tinsel? Incorporating the latest trends, such as mixed metallic tones?

For me, it’s finding pieces that are both unique and have meaning. For example, these ornaments below were a gift from my mom. I love their unusual shape, as well as their vivid tone.

If your holiday decor could use a refresher, try ordering a few new pieces. As mentioned, I picked out these metal snowflake ornaments from CB2 earlier this year. They were from last season, and when they went on sale, I just couldn’t resist. They’ve completely revived our Christmas tree decor, adding just the right dose of vivid color.

What tops your Christmas tree? The ornament below was another gift from my sweet mom. I decided I wanted to use it as a tree topper, so each year, I use silver twisty ties to secure it to its lofty height, and each year it is a bright spot in my holiday!

Do you get creative with (or sentimental about) any of your Christmas decorations?

Establish Decorating Traditions

Just as important as decorating your space is the pure enjoyment of the holiday decorating process! Yes, it’s supposed to be fun. If it isn’t fun, it’s time to re-evaluate. One way I get into the holiday decorating spirit is by treating myself to a delicious snack or drink while unpacking my ornaments and putting them on the tree. Often it’s hot chocolate, but this year I discovered these prosecco and cranberry mimosas, and they’ve been one of my favorites of the season!

My hubby and I are also big believers in decorating at the level you’re comfortable with. For example, I love coming up with the decorating concepts and planning out each detail. He prefers hanging a few ornaments and keeping me company while I finish executing my master plan! I know it sounds funny, but it works for us, and that’s become our happy tradition. Everybody wins!


Sometimes I play holiday music or put on a Christmas movie in the background while we hang the ornaments and unpack the rest of the Christmas decor. Here’s a shot of our living room after this year’s big decorating session. As you can see, we enjoy a bit of a minimalist, geometric look, with plenty of color. I always get questions about the artwork in this space, so I’ll go ahead and reveal that the poster on the wall is by Sonnenzimmer:

And here are the metallic trees in our dining room, along with the vintage-style miniature trees in green. The gold cubes on the wall are from CB2, and they’re on display year-round.

Thanks for letting me share my Christmas decorating adventure! I wish you and yours a glorious holiday season!

Kate Simmons

Kate Simmons is a freelance writer and design blogger with a love of all things decor. She spent her childhood writing stories and working on interior design-themed DIY projects. Kate’s published writing reflects her special interest in how design has changed through the decades. Her blog Mirror80 ( http://mirror80.com/) explores the fashion and [...]

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