Starting as early as October, retailers of all sorts pack their shelves with loads and loads of items for Christmas decorating. Whether you’ve just moved out of your parents’ house and into an apartment or you’ve just purchased your first home, the first year that you decorate for Christmas can be a bit overwhelming. When you’re first starting out, it’s best to focus on the basics of Christmas decorating rather than getting wrapped up in all the little odds and ends you’ll see for sale all over the place. That way you can create a good, solid base to build on for years to come. Here is a basic guide to Christmas decorating to help you get started.
More or less the epicenter of all holiday decorating, the Christmas tree is the best place to begin. Purists will want a live tree for the fresh scent, but you can also opt for an artificial tree for easy post-holiday clean up. How you decorate your Christmas tree says a lot about your personality. Some people prefer to go with a theme when selecting ornaments. Choosing a certain color scheme, a particular ornament manufacturer, such as Lenox, or picking a single holiday item, such as snowflakes, nutcrackers, or snowmen, can all be great Christmas tree themes. Other people prefer a more eclectic approach, collecting ornaments from their travels or those that just catch their eye. Keep in mind the theme of your Christmas tree decorating will generally dictate the style of the rest of your decorations. If you choose to go with rustic country ornaments, you’ll likely continue that theme through the rest of your house. Finally, pick up a tree skirt that coordinates with your theme to cover the tree stand.
The next Christmas decorating essential is a wreath. Everyone should have at least one wreath, either live or artificial, on the front door of one’s dwelling, but you needn’t stop there. Wreaths can also be hung above a fireplace mantel, on the windows, above a bed. Virtually anyplace you can think of can be a good place for a wreath. Choose one that has decorations already attached or pick up your own adornments at craft stores, floral shops, or even your own backyard! Pinecones, rose hips, and variegated evergreen clippings all make wonderful wreath accents in addition to the more obvious holly, winterberry, and other greenery. Finish with a ribbon.
Another favorite when it comes to decorating for Christmas is an evergreen garland. This can be hung in archways, wound around staircase banisters, swagged from chandeliers, and draped across fireplace mantels. Garlands add a rich, lush look to your Christmas decorating scheme. Again, garlands can be live or artificial and can be purchased already decorated or not. Use wire to hold them in place, then cover the wire with ribbon.
Christmas wouldn’t be very merry or bright without a few strings of Christmas lights. Placed on the tree, wound around wreaths and a garland, or strung from eaves and outdoor plantings, Christmas lights truly make the holidays come alive. Multi-colored lights are a traditional choice, but single color strands in white, red, or blue are also popular. LED lights offer the brightest light, or look for sets with oversized bulbs for an old-fashioned feel. If you’re hanging the lights outside, make sure that they’re rated for both indoor and outdoor use.