Interior Thinking: Holiday Decorating Do’s and Don’ts


By: Robin Meyer

With the arrival of the holiday season, many people are retrieving boxes of decorations from storage, untangling lights and dusting off their ornaments. I’ve gathered a short list of a few do’s and don’ts of holiday decorating that I have learned over my years as a designer.


Do take advantage of the extended shopping season. Many stores put out decorations early and the new and unique items often get snatched up quickly. If you are like most, this can be overwhelming so get organized and take advantage of the pre-Thanksgiving sales. You will save plenty of holiday cash and won’t have to look at half-empty, glitter-sprinkled shelves after Thanksgiving.

Do buy storage bins now to pack all of your decorations. I know from experience, they are hard to find after the season ends. This will make your life easier when you are ready for cleanup. Make sure you label the containers with a list of contents so it will be a breeze to find them next year.

Do make a shopping list because you’ll need more than just garland and tree ornaments. The first thing on your list should be a “light keeper” repair tool. It’s a quick and easy to use tool that brings new life to strands of lights that have a few bulbs out. Also, add timers and batteries to your list. Having timers for your trees is much easier then having to reach behind a decorated tree to turn on and off every night. Batteries are for the beautiful candles that come with their own timers, so you don’t have to worry about wax spilling everywhere.

Don’t have regrets. If you see the perfect ornament or ribbon, get it then or it will be gone. Check the store return policy and save your receipt in case you get home and it doesn’t look as perfect as you thought.


Do have a plan of action. Decide what needs to be done and when. If you’re going to decorate outside, check the weather forecast and try to get that area done when the weather is mild. Whichever your preference, it is always best to have a timeline of expectations to avoid holiday fatigue.

Do ask for help. Have a “decorating party” and invite friends to join in the holiday fun by adding their special talents to the mix. Make your best pot of chili, provide plenty of desserts and cheerful holiday cocktails, while Bing Crosby sings “White Christmas” to set the mood. Who says you only have to throw a party after the place is decorated?

Don’t go craft crazy. With so many websites out there advertising fun craft ideas, you could easily get sucked into the never-ending rolls of tulle and burlap. Make one craft at a time and schedule extra time for it. They are rarely as easy as they look on Pinterest.

Don’t fall into the spellbinding world of inflatables. This is my favorite don’t, because I think the billowing poof of white nylon with arms and heads swaying uncontrollably have taken over neighborhood lawns with noise pollution and lackluster appeal. Not to mention when they are not turned on you have blobs of fabric lying all over your front lawn.

The Tree

Do think about having more than one tree. I find children love having one in their room’s or at least one that shows off the timeless treasures they made. If you already have the casual tree with the souvenir ornaments and kids crafts, think about doing a more formal tree to add a bit of elegance to your home.

Do decorate with more than just traditional ornaments. Be creative with your tree toppers. Adding glitter sticks and cute characters are inexpensive ways to mix it up a bit and freshen up the look of a tree.

Don’t decorate your tree before plugging it in to make sure the lights work. If you have a few lights out, use the light keeper repair tool I mentioned previously. If the tree is dead, restring with new lights or buy a new tree. When buying a new one, make sure you check whether it has LED lights, how many lights are in the tree and the color of the lights.

Don’t expect a tree to last forever. Before boxing it up for next year, take a close look at it and decide if it’s time to throw it out at the end of the year. It’s hard to remember a year from now whether you need a new tree, so put a note on your calendar for November 1st next year to buy a new tree.

Most of all, do have fun this holiday season! If you have a sense of adventure, get organized and have a plan, you will be sure to experience all of the joy that comes this time of year. 


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