Decorating For Your First Holiday in Your Own Home — Three Christmas Decorating Basics

Chances are you grew up in a home decked out with intentional, well-loved and curated holiday decorations. We’re talking wreaths on every door! Garland WITH Christmas lights! A big ‘ol well-lit tree filled with all kinds of collected ornaments! Ribbons galore! Your mom, a Christmas enthusiast, set the bar HIGH. Now that you’re in your own space you have a whole world open to you! Do you go with an artificial tree? Does it need to be pre-lit? Should you do classic red and green or more neutral? Or what if you went bold with a navy blue color pallet? If you choose a (*gasp*) trend this year will you have to stick to it forever?

Don’t panic — prioritize! Here are three basic elements of holiday decor that you can build from and start off your oh-so-festive Christmas decoration collection.

The Tree

First and foremost — decide on your tree! This is the center point of Christmas decor, so the decisions you make here will help guide your other choices. First decision to make is to weigh out the options of a real or a faux tree. With a real tree, you get the delicious piney scent throughout your home, and acquiring the tree can turn into a fun tradition. However, a real tree sheds and is an occurred expense every year. A faux tree is a heavy initial investment, but you only have to make it once every 10 years (or so) and if you really splurge you can get it pre-lit, and that is a true luxury when decorating. Pro-tip — you might want to wait to get a faux tree after Christmas, the discounts are a present in and of themselves:)

Once you pick your tree, you’ll want to decorate it! Take a free pass your first year to start with the basics — lights and orbed ornaments. Once you’ve got your basics look into things like tree skirts (this one is, biasedly, real cute) memory ornaments, a tree topper, ribbon, and beaded garland.


Greenery is the key. You can get it for pretty cheap or splurge and get some gorgeous options — either way it packs a PUNCH. We’re talking garland, tree branches in a vase, bundled tree branches tied up with ribbon, and last but not least wreaths.

A wreath on your front door is like a friendly invitation to come inside and enjoy the merriment, and mini wreaths are so versatile you seriously can’t go wrong with grabbing a handful to deck aaaaall of your halls with (that pun was unintentional but really happily stumbled upon)

But garland is the real heavy hitter here. You can drape it, frame with it, cascade it — it all looks good. Garland can be an investment, so opt for one that you can adapt and dress up, and it will look good year after year!

The Mantel

The fireplace mantel is such a focal point to all of those fabulous photos you see on Pinterest, and it holds your ever-important Christmas stockings. If you have one yourself — great! Dress it up with garland, candlesticks, and some festive figurines. Throw up pretty stockings on some cute (and practical) stocking holders and take a moment to really appreciate the fact that you have an extremely coveted home feature!

But if you don’t have a gorgeous trimmed out mantel with a flip-switch gas-burning hearth (you’re not alone, you’re probably the majority!) you’ve got options. Any flat focal point surface can hold your stockings. Think the TV stand, a photo ledge, your dresser, a window ledge, a shelf on a bookcase, down a staircase — kick in the creativity and you’re sure to find a space in your home! And, adding an aforementioned sprig of greenery always ads festivity.

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