Here are some tips on decorating your house and Christmas tree in a stress free way for the holidays:
1. Remember, nothing is perfect. Do not strive for perfection – you will never get it. Strive for joy. Decorating should be fun and the decorations have some sort of meaning. Unless your house is in some sort of Christmas walk where people are going to come and inspect it, or you are going to do some kind of corporate entertaining, don’t worry. Make it fun, cozy and meaningful.
2. Set aside time or a special day that the family will choose the tree (if you get a real one) or unpack your artificial one, and can help you decorate. Make a fun event of it. Especially when children are young, help make it something they will remember – putting those ornaments on the tree or lighting up the tree the first time. Be sure to play Christmas music while you decorate for atmosphere – and maybe everyone will sing!
3. Get one of those extension outlets that have room for a lot of plugs, and invest in ornament hooks if you are running low! Check on your ornament hook supply, tinsel supply and anything that needs refreshing (perhaps a garland or tree topper) before you schedule your special decorating time. What about special Christmas candles? You might have burned them all down last year.
4. Likewise, check the lights BEFORE you put them on the tree. I do remember my father swearing under his breath as he tried to get masses of untangled lights onto the tree, only to find that half of them wouldn’t light. One unlit bulb is not the end of the world. If you do not have a pre-lit tree, use those big bulbs that are used outdoors for your tree. It will give you tons of light and your tree will look very colorful. If you have a pre-lit tree, check the lights before assembling the tree.
5. Invest in those plastic storage boxes. You will know which box has the lights and ornaments. Which box has the manger and the village or train or nutcracker statue. By knowing where everything goes, you can place it in the room that is being decorated with the items. The plastic boxes will hold up through the years as well. (You can find them at Target, Walmart or some Dollar Stores.)
6. Enjoy personalized ornaments. Maybe the kids have made paper ones at school, make you have made other craft ornaments; perhaps you bought ornaments on various trips; maybe you inherited some ornaments from your mother or grandmother that have a story. Really enjoy them and share the experience with everyone. It makes the tree more full of meaning.
7. When in doubt, add tinsel. Tinsel is that old fashioned ornament that now goes by the name of “icicles” It is long, streaming bits of magnetic garland, usuallysilver. It is best on real trees as it does not come off easily. The tinsel will give your Christmas Tree the finishing touch and cover up any gaps or uneveness.
8. Light up the tree, sit back and enjoy. Take a breath and listen to Christmas music and have some fun looking at your work completed! If it’s cold, maybe have some cocoa.
9. Depending on your tradition, set out the Christmas Stockings. This is fun for kids who will be anticipating Christmas Eve and Christmas morning goodies from Santa. And it is part of the decorations! If you have a fireplace, hang them safely. If not, find the special place just for those stocking!
Decorating your house should be fun. Not everything will be perfect, things will go wrong, but go with the flow. The important thing is not that all the lights light or that the decor is perfect, it is the memories that they evoke now and in the future!