AS THE HOLIDAYS ARE APPROACHING, THERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU CAN DO BEFORE THEY ARRIVE TO ENSURE YOU CAN GET THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF JOY DURING THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE OF THE SEASON.
Declutter: Get your house ready for the influx of décor by decluttering. A week before you plan to take out bins of holiday items from storage, put away items that feel like they represent spring or summer. This will make room on your tables and shelves for winter décor.
Simplify: Buy yourself extension cords with an integrated foot pedal. These cords make turning on and off your lights much less of a hassle. Plug in the cords anywhere you have lights: on trees, mantle, bannisters, anywhere. To turn on or off the lights just use your foot on the pedal. No more bending and contorting behind the tree to turn lights on and off.
Plan: If you are lucky you may be able to plug your tree or lights into an outlet that connects to a wall switch. Before you decorate investigate which wall switches work with which wall outlet and see if you can arrange your décor in a way that you simply flick a switch to illuminate the room. Make sure to use extension cords that are heavy duty and name brand. Also check the guidelines on the boxes of lights. There is a suggested number of lights to strand together. Last year we ignored it and half my tree’s lights burnt out mid-December.
Be Strategic: I am here to dispel the myth that we can only decorate in December when it is freezing out. Check the weather around Thanksgiving. If there is a nice weekend in November with mild weather predicted then start then. This way the outdoor decorating will be done with much less complaining and much less frostbite!
Prep: Send the kids out to rake away any leaves that may have accumulated in the yard and prep your yard early. Set up extension cords and drape your trees and bushes lights but don’t plug them in and illuminate them until December. This way the HOAs won’t be knocking on your door with a violation in hand. Get as decorated as you can be and then add your seals, penguins, deer and blow up teddy bears to your yard in December.
Shop smart, shop often, but most importantly shop early!
Shop Smart: Download the app that the store may have and search the web for any coupons or deals on-line. Stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby always seem to have a coupon for full-priced items but often the items are on sale when you visit so you will get a deal either way. Also, consider visiting stores that you don’t think of as traditionally stocking holiday goodies. Costco, Sam’s Club and Kirklands often have unique items that aren’t carried elsewhere. If you find an item you like, consider buying a bunch. If you are buying something that would look great on your mantle then buy 2 and put one on each side. If you are buying ornaments for your tree, buy a dozen so that the shape and color of that ornament is represented all over your tree, making your tree look balanced and beautiful.
Shop Often: Stores roll out different items on sale each week. If you are looking for a new artificial Christmas tree then perhaps plan strategically to wait for the day artificial trees go on sale, but make sure to make an additional trip before then for other items that may be sold out by that time.
Shop Early: As most of us already know, retailers are lining the shelves with holiday décor well before Halloween, so I urge you to shop early! Especially if you know you need to replenish any staples like lights for indoor or outside. It seems inevitable that half of our lights die each year in storage, so now we plan for that. I love to use artificial garland on the stairway bannisters and on the mantle. Garland comes in many different styles and always seems to sell out before December so grab it when you see it.
Photo credit: Goodhart Photography