Thursday, December 13, 2012

How to Un-tacky your Christmas Decor

Last year, I promised myself I would post Christmas decor pics in a blog, but I didn't.  It may seem counter-intuitive that I tend to slack off on blogging during the holidays, but it's quite the opposite.  In fact, with a three year old and growing family, it seems the holidays are the busiest time of the year, and hence, I rarely have time to blog.

But I did grab some pics from around the house so you can see the progress we've made in the holiday decor.  Just from this year to last, we've made huge strides, and now I have some tips to share with everyone.  Honestly, I am not perfect, and I'm still getting to know my house, but I have learned from mistakes and lots of practice, so hopefully you can find this helpful!

Tip 1: Find a place for the tree where there is adequate space, and it is not blocking major walkways (or the tv). Also, bigger is not better.  Both the height and the fullness of a tree can compete with your room if too big.
Last year, we got an enormous tree, and I put it in front of the window.  But you couldn't see the television anymore, and it took up about half of the entire living room.  Bad idea!
This year we moved the tree to an out-of-the-way corner of the great room, and opted for a much smaller tree (only 7').  It seems to fit the space perfectly, and now we aren't stumbling over presents or struggling to catch a view of the tv or fireplace.  
Tip 2: Start by placing ornaments you love on the tree first, and avoid clutter by opting out of hanging ornaments you don't love.  I've always thought that trees with a wide arrangement of ornaments were much prettier, and I've found you can have a variety if you tie everything in with a matching tree-topper, ribbon, tinsel, large bows or flowers, and lights.
I went with a white and gold theme, and then just added the ornaments.  It seems to have worked nicely (much prettier in person).
Tip 3: Presents aren't just for around the tree. In fact, I find that too many presents around the tree are annoying and difficult to maneuver, so we put presents everywhere.  Presents for friends go on the piano, presents for people visiting Christmas day go around the tree, and Santa's gifts go on the fireplace.

Tip 4: Hanging Christmas lights may be a man's job, but don't let them go to the store and pick out the decor.  You might end up with an explosion of tacky Christmas chaos.

This is what my husband did to the house last year...
This year, I made my husband use all white lights, and complimented his efforts with white lit trees, lit garland, and fresh leaves.  Now it accents the house, not competes with it.
For fun, I topped my antique lantern with a festive little tree.
Tip 5: Crafty is cool.  We found this craft project at Michaels.  It was just a plain wood Advent Calendar.  Everyone in the family painted a few of the boxes to their taste, including my three year old, and look how imperfectly cute it turned out.  Plus, it was a nice holiday bonding experience1

Tip 6: You can deviate from the color palate...a little.  The holiday colors in our house are white and gold with touches of grey and burgundy.  But our stockings are Oregon Duck's green and yellow.  Somehow, it works, but I think it's because both our house and our holiday colors, are pretty basic.

Bonus Tip: Use your stockings to store seasonal breakables in boxes when putting away holiday decorations.
I tied in the clashing stockings with gold garland and a wreath I made to match.  Aren't the stockings adorable? My aunt made them for us years ago and I just love them to death

Tip 7: It's the little touches that make it count, not the giant Christmas village displays.  Adding garlands to your favorite pieces, filling glass jars and votive with pine cones, and displaying gifts and ornaments on shelves and bookcases give a Christmas feel with out the tacky clutter.

I added seasonal garland in gold, green, and red, to my favorite tabletop hurricanes, and then filled them with gold pine cones.
Pinecones, ornaments, ice skates, and Christmas books all make for a nice book shelf display, and cost no extra money to buy!
Something as simple as some yuletide-looking logs can bring festive to your decor.

Tip 8: Use what you've got.  Sleds, toys, Christmas books and magazines...all these things are festive.  Put them on display and show your unique taste!

I love Christmas home and garden magazines, so I put them on display on the coffee table.  Plus, it give guests something to look at while you are busy in the kitchen.

This cute little toy of Noah's now makes for part of our Christmas decor.  This, paired with some colorful lights,  a snow globe, and Christmas books complete a holiday kids room that my son loves.

Tip 9: Don't forget the bedrooms!
Some cranberry garland and red sheets was all it took to winterize our master bedroom.

A strand of Christmas lights, a Cars snow globe, and some books about Santa were all it took for my son to fall in love with his festive room!

Tip 10: Move out what you aren't using.  Replace non-seasonal decor, with seasonal decor, and pack the non-seasonal decor in the Christmas boxes until after the holiday.  Also, move furniture and other pieces out to the garage temporarily to make room for large items, like the Christmas tree.  Less is more...especially because holiday decor is so visually overwhelming.


  1. Would love to see these delights in person. Your pictures seem to be too bright to allow definition to show. However, it's obvious that your taste is still flawless. Been a long absense from your blog, but I needed some holiday tips to implement when my boys come home, and I'll be taking credit for everything I use. Thank you. Caz.

    1. LOL! After uploading the pics, I decided I'm investing in a new camera! My photography skills, coupled with the terrible camera on my phone, leave much to be desired. I always take the photo and think to myself, "That looks so much better in person." :(