This weekend, we’ve done all our Christmas decorating – lights, tree, card displays, candles, more fairy lights… and I thought it would be helpful to share with you how I organise Christmas decorating.
We are fairly minimal when it comes to decorating (although my husband probably wouldn’t say so). A tree, a wreath on the door, some tasteful white lights around the front windows and that’s about it. I’ve learned what I like and don’t like, and I’m constantly pinning ideas on my Pinterest boards.
We also don’t have a huge amount of space, either for living or for storage. Our Christmas decorations box is small. We have a real tree, and not much space for anything else. So you will have to think about upscaling this guide if that’s to your taste and space.
Step 1: Clear the surfaces
I like to get a box and work my way through the home, packing away anything that is normally out on the surfaces. Photographs, ornaments, clocks, books – it’s a great opportunity for a thorough tidy too!
Step 2: Clean thoroughly
Christmas gets everywhere. Pine needles, tinsel strands (even if you never let any tinsel near your home), and scraps of wrapping paper can resurface sometime in June if you don’t give things a really good clean before and after! Also, as we tend to have decorations on the surfaces for around a month, those surfaces gather dust and are tricky to dust for that whole month. So give everywhere a really thorough dust, wipe down and polish before decorating.
Step 3: Organise your layout
If you bring a whole tree into a house, you probably need to rearrange some furniture. Think about where you’re going to plug your Christmas tree lights in. You may want to move chairs and make sure you can extend the table for Christmas day – even if you have to borrow chairs from the neighbours.
Step 4: Decorate the tree
If you have a fake tree, you will need to build it. If you have a real tree, you’ll need to get it and set it up. We put ours in a garden bucket with stones in the base to weigh it down.
The order for decorating a tree is really simple:
Lights (top to bottom, and work out where they are going to be plugged in first)
Ribbon, beads or tinsel that wraps around the tree
Baubles and hanging decorations in descending size order. This way you can check to see if they are evenly spaced.
The star/angel/fairy/Harry Potter Sorting Hat.
Step 5: Put the wreath on the door and exterior decorations
You may need a wreath hanger for the door, or a quick nail hammered into the door. Check your lights work before you start putting them up, and please get help if you’re climbing ladders!
Step 6: Put out your other decorations
If you decorate your mantlepiece, do so. I personally don’t put stockings out until Christmas Eve, but that’s not to stop you doing so. Many people like to put out Christmas bedding and Christmas crockery too.
Step 7: Put up your cards
I love receiving Christmas cards – it’s one of the ways I stay in touch with long-distance friends. But every year I get frustrated with them – they look messy, fall down and generally ruin my carefully cultivated look. So this year, I’ve devoted a wall in our dining room to them. The kids have been talking about them during dinner and I’m pleased with the overall look.
Step 8: Light the candles, pour the mulled wine and enjoy the twinkling lights
That’s it really. Decorating the house is one of my very favourite things about Christmas. What about you?