How to Decorate for Christmas

How to Decorate for Christmas

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Many people love decorating for Christmas -- there are some simple guidelines you may want to follow to make sure your decorations look great!


  1. Keep things simple. Many people have way too many decorations both inside and outside their homes. Less is more.
  2. Keep your decorations balanced throughout the house. Many people tend to crown all their decorations in one place; this is not always a good idea.
  3. Avoid inflatable decorations. The neighbors pets may deflate them, or a sudden storm may relocate them at your neighbors. If you choose to use them, make sure they are securely tied down, and think about removing them if severe weather is in the forecast.
  4. Use lights. This means a string of icicles across your roof or around a column, not spot lights or lights on every last thing in your yard. You may have a tree you want to light in the yard, or you may want to buy some of the wire framed figures like reindeer or snowmen, but be aware of the space these require, and the power they use. This also applies to indoors, use a few strings of lights on your tree with lots of other non-electrical ornaments, tinsel, and handcrafted ornaments if you have children who are "crafty".
    • Choose white lights, colored lights (single color or multicolor), or both in equal amounts. Many people have a mash of random lights; this does not look good. This goes back to balance.
    • Turn off the lights occasionally; do not leave them on 24/7. A good guideline may be as follows: Outdoor lights are suggested from an hour before dusk until midnight. Indoor lights might be on from 4pm[16:00] until midnight on weekdays and 8am[08:00] to midnight on weekends. On Christmas Day itself, all lights may be left on throughout the whole day if you like.
  5. Finish the job. Don't let your tree be half bare, if you want to wrap an outdoor tree make sure you can even cover the entire thing, all the way to the top.
  6. Put your indoor tree in front of a large window that overlooks the front yard. This is an easy way to add cheer to your yard without leaving the house.
  7. Place candles in windows. Try battery-operated or electrical bulbs that look like candles so you don't burn your house down. This is another easy way to add cheer to your yard without leaving the house.
  8. Put a wreath on the front door. Make sure it is securely attached and tasteful, not overstuffed with junk or too large. Again, decorate the outside - from the inside. If you want, you may buy some foil giftwrap, maybe green or red with Christmas designs to cover a door, giving it a welcoming Christmas look.
  9. Time things right. Do not put up your decorations too early or take them down to late. Many people seem to be in a race to get decorations up earlier every year, so here are some suggested dates for putting up the decorations and taking them down:
    • no Christmas before Thanksgiving; Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) is early enough for decorations to be displayed anywhere, even in your home.
    • no Christmas after January 6th [epiphany] but it's best to take the majority of stuff down by New Year's. This also applies to the wearing of Christmas related clothing or accessories, the playing of Christmas music, and the airing of Christmas TV shows.
  10. Avoid mixing and matching icons. A nativity scene may not be appropriate very close to a Santa Claus and his reindeer display.
  11. Be original. Do not copy your neighbors. If you like something they have done, mimic it, but make sure to also do something additional that is unique or only do part of what they have done.
  12. Do not compete. No one else should decide what your yard or house looks like, it's your property and your money so it's your decision, do what you like.
  13. Use common sense and care when erecting outdoor diplays or attaching lights to the eaves and roof of your home. The job of installing them can be dangerous, and emergency room visits are common for holiday decorators.
  14. Keep electrical cords out of walkways, wet locations, and pinch points. If you don't have exterior electric outlets, do not be tempted to run the extension cord out a window or door where it may be damaged, and do not try to light more lights than the cord is rated for.


  • For the Outside:
    • Choose a few permanent elements to use year after year, examples include: a string of icicles across the roof line; a string or two around a column in a spiral type fashion; a "cage" style light grid on a bush; two reindeer near a tree.
    • Choose another few smaller elements to use for one or two years, examples include: a wreath on the front door; an extra string of lights around a door or window.
  • For the Inside:
    • Choose some permanent ornaments to use year after year, these can be simple shiny colored balls or ornaments that have a personal significance; remember not to use too many.
    • Choose one or two new ornaments to add each year, perhaps one new one for each member of your family or each child[make it a tradition]; make sure they mix well with the ornaments you have.
    • If someone gives you an ornament as a gift and you don't want to keep it, put it on the tree for that year only, then dispose of it[by next year they will probably have forgotten]
    • Every few years, evaluate the ornaments you have, discard those you no longer want or those that have no significance. Remember less is more and keeping the number of ornaments reasonable will look much better than using too many, also it will make it easier to enjoy those that you love.
    • Lights on your tree are not absolutely necessary, if you wish to leave them off, feel free to do so.
    • Garlands are a tricky subject. A popcorn garland might be fun to make and nice to look at but difficult to clean up especially if you have young ones or pets. Feel free to lose the garland all together, also get creative, some people find a festive ribbon to drape in a tree or make their own and knit or crochet a custom decoration. These techniques can also be used to decorate a banister or indoor column.
  • It's often much better to have a few expensive, well made decorations than too many cheap, tacky decorations. Well made ones can last for years to come and be appreciated time after time. Good examples of this include Austrian crystal tree decorations.
  • Christmas markets, especially European ones, are a great source for gorgeous handmade decorations.
  • Don't buy all your decorations at once, if you are decorating for the first time, buy a few inexpensive decorations. Then, after the holiday many stores will have drastically lower prices on many things. Buy a few more at this time each year until you feel you have enough decorations. As with the ornaments, periodically analyze decorations. Discard the ones that you no longer enjoy, might be broken, or that no longer serve their purpose. Keeping these fresh is almost as important as keeping them balanced and meaningful.


  • Use safe methods of hanging lights. If you use a ladder, be careful, and use it properly.
  • Use only outdoor rated extension cords for exterior lights, and do not try to attach too many lights to one cord.

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