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christmas lights overkill

Christmas lights and decorations that can probably be seen from space. We submit that this may be too much. What do you think?

Holiday decorating is somewhat of an art form. With all the cheap or tacky decorations available at your local retailer or home improvement store, deciphering what’s in good taste is difficult. However, tasteful decor isn’t as difficult to obtain as you think. By following a few simple rules, your home transforms from an eyesore to a warm, inviting place for friends, family, and yourself.

1. Choose subtle lighting

Adding lighting to both the interior and exterior of your house adds a level of warmth to the cold holiday weather. But, you don’t have to be Clark Griswold. Actually, we submit that it’s best if you aren’t. Outdoor lighting is something that is easily overdone. Avoiding any gaudy lighting, such as a seven-foot tall, lit, inflatable Santa, and going with something more subtle can often lead to a better holiday atmosphere.

Instead, use rope lighting around windows, walkways, gutters, and trees to add simple illumination. Add some colored lights to white lights, but not too many. Inside, adding the warm light of  candles and lighting a fire appeals to not only sight, but also smell.

As far as exterior lighting, this  isn’t just about your property. But, it’s also about avoiding a decorations arms race with your neighbors too. Remember, this is a season of peace on earth towards all.

2. Take cues from nature

The mantle above your fireplace is the proverbial centerpiece of holiday decor. To accentuate it, consider adding some holiday cheer by adding garlands, ornaments, or tasteful figurines that are derived from natural motifs or even natural materials themselves. Pine cones left over from autumn centerpieces, grasses, leaves, and other items like holly berries are great go-to natural decor with their own sense of subtlety.

If so inclined, make the decorations yourself or with your family to share some holiday spirit with everyone. Your decor as made by the ones you love can make for something that endures beyond a decorated Christmas mantle. It helps in the creation of cherished memories of the season, too.

pine cones and christmas decor

3. Trust in your tree

The Christmas tree in your home is an important part of any holiday decoration. Using a real tree adds a nice, piney scent to the home, while fake trees don’t require cleanup and last from year to year. Once you’ve made a decision, decorate the tree based on your own individual tastes. Because everyone’s tastes are different, it’s hard to define what’s tacky.

However, fake snow and excessive lighting detracts from the ambiance of the tree. Instead, decorate your own ornaments or hang edible additions, such as flavored candy canes, thus appealing to several senses. And remember to trust in your tree. Douglas firs and Scotch pine trees, very popular for use during the holiday season, are uniquely beautiful without the decorations. So, one thing to consider is using fewer baubles, and letting that natural beauty (once again) shine through a bit more.

4. Make “welcome” the key motivator in table decor

Part of the fun of the holidays is enjoying a nice meal with friends and family, so there’s no better place to add some festive holiday decor than the dinner table. Adding gold and silver in the form of candelabras, dinnerware, ornaments, or glass beads adds a glow to the table, without being too distracting. Also, adding red and green in the form of flowers or plants, such as a poinsettia, gives an element of nature and adds texture.

One thing to keep in mind with these ideas, and others you have on your own, is to make each place setting a welcoming space. This all plays into the holiday spirit, which has always been about welcoming those looking for a place to rest for the night. Make your Christmas table decor do just that.

Christmas place setting table decor

5. Don’t be a hero

The most important aspect in all of holiday decorating is knowing when enough is enough. When you’re decorating, the tendency is to think that you haven’t done enough. But, chances are, you have. Fewer great pieces and visual focal points are better than many mediocre pieces, or good ones that don’t complement one another.

If in doubt about whether to include extra lighting or two dozen Precious Moments figurines, always exclude them. Not only does it make your home look less cluttered, but it’s also less distracting and leaves you with less to clean up after the holidays.

Plan it out, and have fun!

Before putting out your holiday decor, establish a plan of how you want each room to look because it will save you some time. Have some fun with it. Give each of your family members a chance to add his or her tastes to each room or assign each a room to decorate. Even though decor is important, there’s nothing better than family time.

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.