If your children are anything like mine, they’re asking to bring out the Halloween bins in August and the Christmas decorations in October. Though our children’s enthusiasm can be contagious, not everyone enjoys decorating or can afford to make it a priority in their busy lives. However, children often enjoy marking the changes of the seasons, and these memories will stay with them for years to come. The goal of holiday decorating should be to make every guest at your home feel welcome. Whether you’re hosting a larger number of guests or small get-togethers with your immediate family, a well-decorated home helps us all get into the holiday spirit.
The good news is you can have a wonderfully festive holiday home without going overboard. Here are some simple steps to help prepare your home for the season.
With more of us entertaining outside these days, it’s a perfect time to spruce up your exterior spaces. The first thing guests notice when they visit your home is your front door. Fall is a great time to update the paint color on your front door, and a bright green is a modern choice. A simple wreath or swag of fresh greenery further transforms a plain door or fence gate.
In order to simplify seasonal decorating, consider investing in some large planters by the front door. These planters can be filled with mums in the fall and swapped out with evergreen trees to make a seamless transition from fall to winter. In the backyard, a string or two of lights are a wonderful addition to your patio space and can be left up all year to introduce some festivity whenever guests gather. Think about adding a dusk-to-dawn timer for automated accent lighting every night of the week.
Choose a color palette.
Neutral colors are easily accented with bright colors, and the current white trend in home decor works well with holiday shades. Some well-suited color combos I recommend are blue and silver, green and red, gray and red, and any combination of metallics. Since the color green is prevalent in my home and we celebrate Christmas, red is a natural accompaniment. Don’t be afraid to try something new each year. Holiday accent pillows, throws, area rugs, and kitchen and bath towels are an easy way to introduce new colors to your existing palette.
Set the table.
The holidays bring people together, and one way to be party-ready at all times is to set up your home for easy entertaining. Arrange a centerpiece on your table at the beginning of the season and it will carry you through the holidays. For Thanksgiving, it can be as simple as some gourds and a cornucopia or some votives or hurricanes filled with chestnuts. For a more elaborate centerpiece, try incorporating fresh greenery, colorful ribbon, and candles at varying heights for winter holidays. During the next few months, festive linens, napkins, and table runners (instead of tablecloths) can also help your holiday table stand out from other times of the year.
How about the holiday mantle?
An easy and beautiful way to bring natural elements indoors is to incorporate fresh greenery into your mantle. For an update on a classic look, fresh evergreen swags can be accented with large ribbon and small LED lighting. Add two large poinsettias to either side of the mantle to help make it a focal point of your home. If you don’t have a mantle, try some creative styling on a front entry table or add decorative items to the top of a bookshelf. Sometimes I’ll decorate a lighting chandelier, too, to draw the eye up.
Incorporate family heirlooms.
One of the most unique ways to decorate is to incorporate any family heirlooms you may possess. This brings a personal touch to your décor and is most often what guests will notice first when visiting your home. You might tie holiday ribbons on your grandmother’s champagne flutes, display your family menorah in a proud place, or showcase the hand-embroidered napkins your great aunt lovingly passed down to you. The mix of old and new should be embraced and celebrated throughout your home.
Get the whole family involved.
To ease what might seem like the burden of holiday decorating, share some of the responsibilities with your whole household. Working together can often add to the merriment! Older children can assist with more complex tasks like hanging lights, setting the table, and mantle styling while younger children may enjoy decorating their bedroom or play spaces. Small touches such as religious figurines, a winter garland, or holiday textiles can make a big impact with a small investment. Local thrift stores are a great resource for affordable seasonal decor.
However you decide to decorate for the season, keep in mind that the ultimate goal of holiday decorating is to create an inviting and comfortable space for you, your family, and friends. Here’s to a lovely holiday season!
Photos: Leah Walder