A Guide to Decorating for Christmas

Christmas is the time of year that we spend with our loved ones, but preparing for the big day can be stressful.

Trying to find the perfect gifts for your family while prepping for that five course feast can leave you feeling a bit Grinchy. Even though the weather outside might be frightful, these Christmas decorating tips are sure to make your holidays delightful!

Exterior Decorations

Decorating your home’s exterior is a simple contribution to the holiday spirit of your neighborhood and will bring joy to your guests as they arrive at your annual Christmas party. You may be thinking that you don’t have enough time in your busy holiday schedule – we know you are mentally preparing yourself for dealing with your mother-in-law – but trust us, these simple tricks will brighten both your mood and your street.

Traditional Exterior by Wilmington Photographers Jay Greene Photography

String Lights

There is nothing more magical than hundreds of twinkling lights strung from your beams. But sometimes too many lights can make your house stand out in a bad way (think Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase). So what is the key to creating magic, not migraines? We recommend focusing on one area of your home and keeping it simple. Do not try to incorporate every holiday decoration, instead focus on one and make it shine. This can be achieved by stringing lights from the large trees in your front yard and adding some lights to your beams. Holiday decorations are great, but leave the obnoxious blow up Santa in the garage and opt for some elegantly-lit reindeer if you don’t want to go over the top.

Traditional Exterior by Charlotte General Contractors Plattner Custom Builders, LLC

Add Wreaths

Instead of hanging the same decorations every year, try out a customizable decoration such as wreaths and garlands. Wreaths are an iconic Christmas decoration and are fun to pair with the lights you hung. We recommend placing the wreaths in spots that fit well with the rest of the house and decor. This can be achieved by adding one big wreath as a main attraction, or use many smaller ones to draw attention to your large windows.

Traditional Exterior by Chicago Paint & Wall Coverings Light Up Your Holidays

Play up Porches

Not interested in stringing lights from your home or trees? Create a magical entrance by focusing on your front porch and lighting the path that welcomes your holiday guests. Use Christmas lights to enhance architectural aspects of your home. If you have columns, wrap lights around them to show off their majestic presence. Add festive decorations to your front porch such as poinsettias, nutcrackers, and angels for extra holiday cheer.

Traditional Porch by Austin Interior Designers & Decorators Dawn Hearn Interior Design

Interior Decorations

Your home’s exterior welcomes guests as they arrive, but the interior of your home is where they will spend more time admiring. The perfect tree placement and a welcoming hearth will enchant your guests and make your holidays magical.

Traditional Living Room by Little Rock Interior Designers & Decorators Tobi Fairley Interior Design

Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree is the most iconic Christmas decoration and it is also the one that can be the most hassle. But never fear, we are here to help you have a stress-free Christmas. The key to a hassle-free Christmas tree starts with placement. You want it to be the center of attention but you want to make sure that it is near an electrical outlet, away from major walkways, and far enough away from furniture that the cat might use as a launching point. Did you know that cats hate the smell of citrus? Hang orange slices at the bottom of your tree to keep kitty from trying to climb it.

Traditional Family Room by Chicago Design-Build Firms John Hall Homes

Christmas tree placement is critical, but let’s get to the fun part: decorating the tree! There is an art to Christmas tree decorations and it starts with a theme. Are you going for a family tree that you will hang your children’s school projects on or do you want to wow your guests with a chic, modern tree? Whichever you choose, remember that coherence is key. It is best to find a theme that is easily recognizable and festive. Try decorating your tree in all silver. If you are an avid bird watcher, try out a bird theme! Your Christmas tree should reflect your style and personality so don’t be afraid to get creative.

Traditional Home Office by Austin Interior Designers & Decorators Dawn Hearn Interior Design


The fireplace is the heart of the home. Its warm glow will beckon your family to gather around for Christmas Eve’s reading of A Night before Christmas. The hearth is the magical place where children will anxiously hang their stockings to be filled by Santa, thus it must be decorated accordingly. Use garlands and lanterns to frame your fireplace or use wreaths to accentuate architectural accents.

Eclectic Living Room by Webb City Media & Bloggers Michelle Edwards

Dining Room

Don’t forget to decorate your formal dining room! This is where your culinary talents will be enjoyed by guests and family members, so it should reflect your superb decorating as well. Try bringing your Christmas tree theme into your centerpiece arrangement. If you are going for a natural theme, bring the outside in with an evergreen centerpiece. Don’t forget to polish that silver! Now is the time to bring out your beautiful silver serving set that has been in your family for years. If it is too precious to use, display it on a buffet table as an elegant decoration.

Traditional Dining Room by Austin Interior Designers & Decorators Dawn Hearn Interior Design

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

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