Christmas Decorating the Organized Way!

Margaret Riley decorating organizing

“Ho-ho the mistletoe”…..Yes, you are going to have that song (and the rest of it) dancing in your head for the rest of the day! I could mention other songs, but I’m not that evil to torture your mind with endless music haunting your brain. It is the season for all those Christmas songs and to have it play while you are decorating. I live in Southwest Florida where the weather is in the 80’s and very hard to get into the holiday spirit, along with Christmas shopping, wearing shorts and flip-flops. I know the stores turn on their air-conditioning to the lowest setting forcing us to purchase cool weather items and to add to the holiday spirit to trick us into buying more.

Early in the season, we start to think about Christmas decorating. Do you do the same decorating year after year? Do you need to decorate the entire house? Do you buy all new decorations? Will you concentrate on a theme or a specific color? After reading all these questions, aren’t you glad we put this in our early December issue? Let’s get out those decorations that are stored away.

I hope you didn’t store candles or waxed items in those boxes or plastic tubs then put them out in a non-air-conditioned garage or up in the attic. If so, don’t be surprised to find a mess! Did you remember to wrap your lights around a piece of cardboard so they won’t be tangled and a nightmare to undo? Did you do the same with garland? Do you need to purchase garland? One year for garland, I did a paper chain (kept kids busy!) and another year I did teddy bears hooked together (took a while to create, but so worth it with a teddy bear theme). There doesn’t have to be garland on your tree, but if you decide to use it, analyze it all to see if it is tattered. You are entitled to have a shopping trip for Christmas decoration replacement.

Are you one that likes to have the tree decorations all the same color and/or theme? It does make decorating challenging but so well worth it!! I always have a tree adorning hand painted ornaments that family and friends have given me. Some years I have a Wizard of Oz tree and a Gone with the Wind tree. I have a friend that has carved me an ornament every year for 30 years and even a tree topper! It is a very special tree. His wife has woven me some miniature baskets so those are on that tree as well. Be inventive with your tree! My son does his tree in Hallmark ornaments that he has collected along with those I contributed to him since birth. Maybe you can start a new tradition in having a family member give you a Hallmark ornament every year. Down the road you will have enough to fill a small tree plus you will have collected memories, too!

Let’s start with the lights. First plug them in. Are any lights working? If not, replace with new bulbs. I prefer purchasing light strands that when one light goes out, the remainder stays on. Sure does save you a lot of time and helps prevent the onset of gray hair (or increase what you have!!). If you are ready to put the lights on the tree after checking bulb outages, wrap them back onto a piece of cardboard. This makes it easier to decorate your tree. I always put on my lights first…sets the mood for decorating! If you decorate more than one tree (I sometimes do 5 trees), put the lights on all of them first.

Next add the garland or you can do it last. Before you proceed, put the top on the tree. If my tree is over 5’10”, I put the top on before I set the tree completely up. It will sure save you a bunch of grief and keep you from knocking items off the tree. Before you put the ornaments on, be sure the tree is in the location you desire or is accessible to electrical plug-ins. If you have to use extension cords, consider having a strip bar. And extension cords need to be approved for your lighting. If in doubt, ask a sales associate in a store for assistance with your specific situation.

Ornaments can be fun or a chore! I seem to have more ornaments than branches. I hate putting in the backside of the tree as I want everyone to see the wonderful ornaments I have collected. Some thoughts about ornaments: 1) Do all the ornaments the same (red glass balls, snowballs, etc.); 2) Purchase an ornament where ever you travel to as it will give everyone something to talk about plus pull a memory out of their hat; and 3) Do a theme. I’m sure you have many more ideas!

Tree done! Hooray! Oh, don’t forget that you may want to put a skirt around the base to catch any pine needles that might fall if you are using a live tree. And make sure you can easily water it every day! Let’s move on to other decorations.

Are you decorating a mantel? Add evergreen garland, balls, and stockings. Or maybe a snowman collection! Are you decorating just one room or more than one? One friend of mine has a nutcracker collection that she places on a tiered table in one corner. Do you have a Christmas village? You can place that on the mantel or on a table somewhere in the room.

How about wrapping those wonderful paintings you have hanging on the wall? Add a ribbon and a bow to have packages hanging around. After Christmas, it will be enjoyable to view all your painting treasures with a new spirit of enjoyment. My sister has done MANY Christmas counted cross stitch pictures and replaces every wall hanging with her beautiful works of stitchery.

Simple but elegant is glittery garland on your chandelier along with ornaments handing from it. The dining room decorations can simply be holiday placemats or tablecloth on the table with a simple centerpiece. Hmmmm….might be an idea for a future article for Christmas centerpieces. Anyone like to contribute? Email me!

Are you decorating outside? Time to call in the troops to help you there! Kids love to help and hubby will be an asset in hanging all those lights. My former husband would always state, “Look at all those extension cords!” when we passed by a house with tons of light! People love looking at outside lights, and it was a tradition to drive around viewing lights with a stop for a yummy goodie afterwards.

No matter how you may enjoy your decorations, make them YOU and let the family assist! Have a decorating night with cookies and hot cocoa. Create memories for everyone! Take photos of each year and have an album to look back on how you decorated. Years down the road when your children come back home, try to decorate like you did in their young years. They will love the reminiscing of a long gone year!

Happiest of holiday giving to each of you! Remember to sit back, take a deep breath, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Homes always seem warm and fuzzy when decorated! So pat yourself on the back for a job well done!!



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  • na on

    pinks, purple mauves, lilacs and yellows and oranges are not Christmas, they are more for Easter.


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