Christmas Decorations Challenge!

claire_de_lunaDecember 8, 2007

So we're having horrible weather and stuck inside. This seems like the weekend to get out those Christmas decorations and make an effort, but I know myself and will hate the idea of putting too much away when it's over. (That's when it really seems like clutter!)

Here's a question and the challenge...What ''decorations'' instill the most Holiday Spirit at your house? If you chose to downsize decorating this year, what would you choose to make the most effort on, and where?

I'm picking a large dwarf Alberta spruce outside my kitchen window and putting lights on it this year instead of having a Christmas tree inside. I have a green and red berry lighted wreath to hang on the gable end of my gazebo. The Christmas stockings will have to come out, and I'll cut some holly for green arrangements. I have a light, wooden display rack that I hang Christmas cards on that we receive, and a red bowl that was my Grandmother's I like to use. I have a small feather tree that fits on a tabletop, but I'm not certain I want to bother with it this year. Beyond that, I'm not yet sure, but am thinking I'm keeping it very simple this year.

What decorations spark your Holiday? If your challenge is to ''Keep it Simple'', what would that be at your house?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

To only put up two trees this far I stuck with it. My mom puts a tree in EVERY room- even her laundry room and bathrooms (they are only tabletop size though) and it is so hard for me not to do it too- we love christmas trees and decorations!

It isn't so much the decorations it's the act of unpacking them and putting the trees up that really get the family in the spirit. The kids dance around and "help" put things up and they have a great time.

If I had to keep it simple- one tree, stockings, and my door wreath. But I just can't do it!!!! Must have lots of shiny lights and glistening ornaments- it's an addiction :)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 12:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have an agreement i will have only five boxes of Christmas 'stuff'. For the first time ever, out lights and wreaths went up just after Thanksgiving (normally we choose the coldest, windiest wettest day of the year!). Inside the cards are put on the mantel as they arrive. The Christmas tree and decorations go up the weekend before Christmas, and come down on 12th night. If i had to really choose what i would want - well, a wreath for the front door. A tree with baubles etc ( we actually have three generations of things that go on the tree - we try to pick up something for the tree whenever we travel too), and the Christmas stockings. Anything else would be a bonus!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 8:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

After one Christmas that didn't happen becvause I was in the hospital, I now do only three things and consider it enough decorations-a tree for the family, a Nativity set to remind all of the reason for the season, and a wreath to welcome friends. All the rest of my decorations stay packed away.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 9:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I haven't downsized so much as streamlined the putting up and taking down process. Don't want anyone to throw anything at me, so I'll just quickly admit that I organized and culled my ornaments and decorations a few years ago. One of the biggest timesavers is I labeled extension cords and packed them with items that need one, along with name of room/window, etc. I used lots of ziploc baggies to keep things tangle-free.

We have two trees -- one in the living room with antique/old family ornaments, and another in the dining room with bird ornaments. We have a couple of small lit ceramic houses that are based on old buildings in my husband's home town. There is a large glass brandy snifter that I fill with glass ornaments (mom did this when I was young). There's also a collection of cardboard houses that were hand made in the 1930s, and I create a little village display on the upstair's landing. It is one of my favorite things. We have candlelights in the windows, and my husband puts a few lights on two bushes outside and a wreath on the front door.

We've held a large holiday party every year for the past 12 years but this year we're skipping it!! We plan to get together with friends informally. I think I appreciate this gift to myself more than anything!!


    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 12:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Simple at my house (actually just a 740 sq ft apartment - 850 sq ft if we'll include the balcony - which simplifies things by itself) means what will not impede functionality (pick only one thing up before we can have dinner on the table for example), will not be dangerous for our toddler and baby and will be out of their reach.

So... we don't have a tree since there is no floor space for it, not even a tabletop. I decorate a fake evergreen garland as I would a tree (minus the lights, because it is directly over the baby's playpen).

We also have a wreath on the door, decorate the windows, some of the doors and the bathroom mirror. I still want to make a few paper decorations for the wall above my toddler's bed and the only festive touch in the kitchen will be a seasonal towel and oven mitt.

If the link below works, you can take a peek at what I did this year.


Here is a link that might be useful: my christmas decorations this year

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 3:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love the tree in every room look, so last year I packed up the little trees-lights and all, into a big bin with their extention cords if needed.

This year, pop the bin, sit the tree down, plug it in and poof! cheer!

I have a bin of glass ornaments that will have to wait til the little misters here are old enough to not crash their "men" or "brrmmmm brrmmmms" into it!

Then for the outside it's wreaths on the uppers, 1 on the pole light, 2 beside the door and garland around the porch. that fits in 2 bins (with their cords as well)

If I was planning to simplify farther, I think I'd get a bin with those dividers for the individual ornaments so could lose the boxes for the glass ones. But I didn't get those out this year so I may make that an "inventory" job when putting the rest away this year. That way I'll get everything into one bin, maybe the glass at the bottom and the ones we have on now at the top.

And a plan for the spring. Himself wants to tear out the overgrown "schrubbbbbery" so I'm thinking of a pair (or more) of dwarf alberta spruce in the front for christmas time decorations out by the road.

Happy Christmas and all the rest!


    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 7:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mvastian, very nice, I like your photos, especially the bathroom decorations. That's a room one rarely sees decorated, yet it should be, since that's where everyone goes. Haha.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 9:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you Jannie! I like to have a festive touch in every room.

Oh, this year I invested in 2 boxes with the second tray and dividers inside especially for ornaments (I kept the one unassembled for later on, when we have more room and we can put up a tree) so this year packing will be much simpler, no more wrapping in paper towels and plastic lunch bags!


    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 10:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm cutting down on the amount of ornaments I use on the tree. I have a lot from my childhood that frankly, I just don't really like, and don't enjoy looking at. So those didn't make it onto the tree this year, and when I take everything down the weekend after Christmas, those ornaments will be "culled". I'm buying two ornament storage totes (with the sections for each ornament) so that I don't have to pack all the ornaments into thier individual boxes anymore to make it easier to put things away and get them out next year. I have some light strings that may get "culled" as well - it seems like I never use them anymore, and don't really have the desire to go to the effort.

I put up a few less lights outside this year - just a few strings of candy canes, and my 4 little sidewalk trees. My two nativities are gracing a bookshelf and the entertainment center, and I put a little village and our train up in the basement. My hubby's scooby-doo tree (tabletop tree with scooby ornaments) is up in his pool table room. The DR table will get its customary christmas decor, and the bathroom will get it's little tree, and I always tape christmas cards around the door frame to the kitchen as they come in. The kitchen doesn't get christmas decor - just whatever goodies happen to be in the glass cake/treat server on the counter (oatmeal cookies at the moment). The mantle is decorated with stockings, garland, and a few other little things.

And that's it. I have three boxes of decorations for inside, and three for outside (two of which each hold just two little trees each), which is plenty.

(Uh...honestly, we don't have room for more Christmas, because Halloween is our main holiday, and the storage room is literally busting at the seams with Halloween decor).

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 11:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We do one tree. Always a live one. I sometimes wonder if I'm nuts, because there's SO much clean-up, but I hate the look of the artificial tree (no gaps for ornaments to dangle in), and so stick w/ the labor-intensive real one.

I want to go back to cutting our own tree just after Thanksgiving, and enjoying it longer (it isn't any messier than the ones we buy mid December, sometimes it's less).

I have a ceramic Santa my mom gave me that *has* to go out.

And I sort of have a nativity scene. But I want one like my mom and dad had, and it's hard to find. I want a ceramic-sort-of version that you can add pieces too every year, but they don't really exist. Now they're all plastic, which would be OK, but I don't love the color scheme--too brown. I need to find me a ceramics hobbyist, and have one made the way I want. Someone who'll be around to add on a camel next year.

Stockings, and that's about it.

in fancy years, I used to put garland over the archway and over the mantel, and would like to try that again some year, but I haven't felt I had the time to fuss over it.

Sometimes I take all the regular mugs and swap them w/ the holiday mugs. I may not bother this year; depends if the kids insist.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm with you, TC. We always do live trees, and I can't give it up. We've had trees that we bought early that lasted well into New Years with few needles falling, and we've bought trees closer to Xmas that dropped needles quickly. I think it's the luck of the draw. Although we always do a fresh cut before plunking into the stand, and that seems to make a big diff.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 12:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is how I did my un packing Christmas Decorations,
First thing I did was set out a empty box So I could add some of the decorations I knew I no longer wanted and I knew someone else would still have time to enjoy them, All things still in good shape, Light's I knew we were never going to hang outside anymore, I was surprise I ended up with 2 boxes and I put them close to the front door, so I knew I would take them to a second hand retail shop, I'm into that ( Less is More ) and I'm doing real good !
Just wanted to share ! I hope I helped someone,

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 2:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Egads, I meant TS, not TC.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 3:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have been keeping it simple for a few years now. I began by culling my ornaments, and now only use the ones with the most sentimentality, like the ones inherited from family and the ones my kids made when they were little, along with the ones I consider prettiest! I have also inherited many candles for the windows and such, but I don't bother bringing them out anymore. Last year I was ill and not able to decorate at all, so this year I was excited to be able to. I put up an antificial pre-lit tree to which I added extra lights. I prefer a live tree, but as I live alone now, it isn't always easy to do, so I passed on it this year. My two doors get cheered up with wreaths. My collection of Angels goes on top of the China Cabinet, and the Santa collection goes in a bathroom on shelves. A tiny tree (it is only about 8")with lights goes in there too. The tree made of cotton balls that my DD made when she was 6, always has a special place of honor. It is actually quite beautiful! The various candles, towels, and Christmas dishes usually come out as well. I hang the cards on the front door as they arrive. Finally, I hang many paper snowflakes in the windows. I only learned how to make them a few years ago and I seem to be addicted! The good thing is they can stay up long after Christmas!
~Merry Christmas all!!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 4:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OOPS! I forgot to spell-check! I really CAN spell. The "antificial" should be "artificial". LOL

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 4:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tina, we all knew who you meant! I used to put up a live tree every year, so I could use my clear glass antique tree stand. It would always house a Charlie Brown type of tree, but I loaded it heavily and it turned into a big deal every year. I 've outgrown my space for an indoor tree, which is why we light the one outside.

pink, we also know you can spell! (No one is judgmental here as far as spelling goes.)

Well, the boxes have come down, but the only thing that's gone up yet is the outdoor wreath. Maybe tomorrow...we're looking for ice to accumulate tonight, so I'm going to be stuck at home. I can't seem to get going this year.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 7:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can see I better get busy! The only thing done so far is the front porch, with a fresh wreath on the door, decorated just about the same way every year, and a small tree (undecorated) that sits on the porch chest. For about 3 years, I've been intending to give that tree away, but I put it out last year and liked the way it looked - nice and simple.

I packed up many ornaments last year - ones I didn't like any more, but to tell you the truth, that box of stuff is still lost somewhere in the basement. I've got to make time for a thrift shop run.

Other than that, I have switched to a smallish tree that sits on the front window seat. That helps a lot, since it doesn't take too long to decorate. The rest of the house gets Santas, creches, and whatever I can pull out of the boxes to make everything cheerful. I really think more decluttering is going to happen after Christmas.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 11:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We live in a small appartment. I don't have room for a full sized tree and we are not that big into decorating. This year we are getting a rosmary bush that will be decorated with tiny decorations and then after the holiday it will be put into soup. I am also planning on getting a bit of cedar to hang on the inside of my front door now that Mom is done visiting. She is allergic to it but I love the smell.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 11:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We remodeled and added space and extra counters. So my theory is--if we don't have room to put something up in this house-out it goes.I found a family that is happy to take clothes, decorations, etc. and distribute whatever they don't want to their family and friends.
I have already contributed Christmas shirts, sweaters, tablecloths that are orphan sizes (I no longer have that table)I am getting rid of the tiny little hand towels decorated for the holiday. I am using only big fluffy hand towels that are new. If I have napkins that have no matching tablecloth--they get contributed. As for stockings, I only need one per person--the rest go. I don't care if they formerly belonged to the Queen Mother.
For gifts I am asking for live plants because we re-did the garden, and I am not picky--a gardenia, a rose bush, whatever.
Because everything was packed away for over two years, if we are not thrilled to see it again--out it goes. I can't believe I had a full, floor length red skirt with giant blue pandas appliqued on the hem. Thankfully I don't have old photos with me wearing it.
I had some quaint hand made decorations I did in my artsy craftsy period. With the time I spent I should have taken up oil painting or something.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 8:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I also want to simplify the seasonal decorating, but I love the chance to make the house look different -- glitzy and colorful instead of soothing and streamlined. I enjoy doing the deck the halls thing, but what bothers me is putting it all away. There's just two of us in a 1700 square foot house. Indoors I set up a 4-foot fake tree, and a 12-inch ceramic tree a favorite aunt made 40 years ago. I put away mugs and bring out Christmas mugs and glasses. I have a couple sets of placemats, some ornaments I place in glass bowls on the mantle, and a fake wreath on the door. I've switched to nets of lights on a few shrubs out front. They are easier than strings, go on fast, and don't tangle. I store the extension cord and timer with the lights.

I used to do more. Real wreaths around the house inside, candles, homemade garlands, stockings, framed favorite cards that replaced other hanging art, pointsettias, centerpieces, and even Santa rubber ducks in the bathrooms! I dreaded those first weeks of January.

Besides trimming down the trimmings, I found that storage is key to sanity. I have two large storage bins, one marked Gift Wrapping, for sale stuff I buy after Christmas and leftover ribbons, etc., and another box marked Tree Trimming. Ornaments get wrapped in tissue and set there. I also use 5-gallon plastic tubs. They stack and are easily labelled -- Christmas kitchen, Ceramic tree, Outdoor lights.

One thing I've learned to do to fine tune our Christmas celebrating is to make a list of suggestions to myself after the holidays, suggestions that I'll read around Thanksgiving time next year. This has been a big help to someone who wants to get carried away with cooking and decorating, forgetting from year to year how long everything takes.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 10:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just like pink overalls I write suggestions for the following year on my 2008 calendar. Reminders of when to address Christmas cards, ideas for when to have a party linked to our town's Christmas fireworks, etc. I write suggestions about taking photos in November that I can use for christmas cards. I remind myself to get dressy holiday clothes in November because usually they don't have my size by December 15. I am not suggesting that I actually do get all this stuff done, but the reminders are there.
Unfortunately by the time I do get everything done and gorgeous it will be Valentine's day.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 7:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The same thing we've done for several years now: put the holiday cards we receive on the mantel. We gave away all the decorations over 10 years ago and couldn't be happier. (No kids in the house.)

I keep 2-3 outdoor puffy red bows and if i'm so inclined I tie them on the lantern light fixtures out front and on the black metal gate. No time this year to do it, and I hope we'll be in a new house next year and will end the tradition, but usually I buy the cheapest, gaudiest fake antlers I can find I fasten them to the mailbos (a joke with my neighbor across the street. He always complains, but this year he's whining about where my antlers are.)

Open the rear blinds and drapes, so we can see our big, old hollies and the beautiful red nandinas we planted in front of them. And to watch the birds eat and bathe, hoping for a little snow (rare--in Atlanta, GA) to dust the scene. We have red cardinals all year here, and goldfinches and lots of other birds, so it's a lovely scene.

So, unless I get around to it, what I'm downsizing this year is the mailbox antlers.

What gives me the most holiday spirit is taking time to really see the bounty we live in and the miracle that we're all here at all. The Natural world, rather than arranged decorations help me reconnect with the joy of the season. Now I just bring in an extra big supply of birdseed and maybe some special wildlife treats. And spend time sipping hot chocolate and watching the animals in the pinestraw feeding areas. The closest we'll come to any manger scene at my house, I suppose.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 2:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'll wait to after the weekend to buy my tree. This year I'm getting a cut tree, decorating with old-fashioned lights and tinsel. My husband dislikes the tree we've had for several years, a pre-lit fake tree.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 2:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been gradually downsizing for several years until last year I only needed 2 boxes for storage. That's probably the minimum because one box holds DH's window candles.

I finally admitted [to myself] that I'm not a knick-knack type person, and I don't really enjoy many of the "decorations" so common to this holiday. When I was a teenager, I had begun buying or crafting an ornament or two each year, and I will tell you that while sentimentality may have a place, most 50-year old ornaments do NOT look as good as new. This year's tree is half the size of last year, and it will have only the ornaments I truly like -- no commemoratives, no faded or chipped baubles, nor ones that I just don't like. Choosing to keep only what is special has let 6 large boxes of ornaments and other decorations go out my door.

There will be a simple fresh wreath on each door and a more relaxed me inside to greet visitors.

Have a Happy Holiday!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 1:17PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Best life lesson I ever learned
Best life lesson I ever learned was at 25 years old...
Get rid of cookbooks, and cook more?
About a year ago, I got rid of most of my cookbooks...
Please recommend a good paper shredder
I have a little one that can shred two sheets (max)...
How do you let go of stuff that's worth money?
On the "share your success" thread, taft...
Getting rid of part of an item- WWYD
Okay, here's the question: I have a larger, aluminum...
Sponsored Products
10'x14' Colorful Anatolian Kilim Oriental Rug Hand Woven 100% Wool Sh20578
1800 Get A Rug
Darya Rugs Ziegler, Beige, 4'1" x 6'2" M1780-124
Darya Rugs
Missoni Home | Kaduna Pillow 16x16 - Quick Ship
Blazing Needles Microsuede Back Support Throw Pillows (Set of 2)
$20.00 | Horchow
Ren-Wil MT744 Portrait Mirror in Dark Brown
Beyond Stores
Wildwood Antique Brass and Crystal Buffet Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
Modern Indoor/Outdoor Bath Mat: Accent Rug: Garland Rugs Jazz Chili Pepper Red
$29.97 | Home Depot
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™