FIRST CHRISTMAS AT HOME WITH NO DECORATIONS? START HERE!

Let’s take a look at these 2 possible scenarios:

1. You just moved into your new home, there are boxes everywhere and half-way done rooms: half unpacked, half put together, half of your belongings where you can find them, and the other half is still chaos.

2. Or you have been in your new home for a few months and most of your boxes have gone either to the recycle or to the garage for further inspection. 

Either one, facing the Christmas countdown can be stressful, especially if you grew up in a home where Christmas was a big deal! Traditions are one thing and social media is a whole different world. Have you noticed how TikTok, Reels, and your IG feed is full of DIY ornaments and instant Christmas makeovers? There are beautiful garlands on windows and mantels, interior lights shining even on the kitchen pendant, and kids´ bedrooms each with its own Christmas tree. Boy! That is enough to make anyone feel pressured to get going, jump on the DIY bandwagon, and have it all nicely done before tomorrow!

It is so easy to compare our homes to others and feel overwhelmed. Don’t! Remember, this is your very first home, don’t rush it. There’s no need to compete or feel pressured to do it all at once. Owning a collection of ornaments and decorations takes time and even though the need to feel at home is real, it is just as important to enjoy the climb and not just the view at the top of the mountain. Find the time to enjoy the season, especially this year! Whether you are watching the video or reading this blog, my message to you is all about avoiding stress and enjoying the journey.

Concentrate on 4 key areas.

There are 4 main areas where your efforts will have the most return on your investment. Consider all 4, carefully choose where to spend your resources, determine your budget in advance, and make decisions based on 3 different scenarios. Does that sound familiar? If it does, it’s because it is the same process you must follow when you decorate your home.

So, what are those main areas?

1. The tree.

This is the most iconic Christmas décor and it most likely occupies a favored spot in your living room, where it becomes the focal point.

Source Pottery Barn
2. Your entrance, door, and entrance to the home.

A wreath on your front door and Christmassy entrance will welcome you every day for the next month and set the right mood as you enter your home.

3. The table centerpiece.

If your celebrations revolve around the family dinner, your table deserves your attention. More people are now paying more attention to this gathering zone in our homes, especially when this year’s dinner will have fewer people than in other years. Don´t despair and bring a sense of pretty and normalcy to your family with a pretty table that you can look at on a daily basis, at least for this month.

Source Crate & Barrel

4. The fireplace or mantel.

Oh! that traditional hanging of the stockings with a garland wrapped around the mantle. Yes! We all dream of this picture-perfect photo. The importance of this 4th area is that it is also another focal point in your home, and as such, it is worth our attention.

Source Crate & Barrel

Concentrate on decorating these 4 first and ignore the bathrooms, the front yard, the kids´ bedrooms, and the windows. Now, that is more doable than pretending to do your whole house when you are just starting. But what if you can’t buy decorations for all 4 at the same time, at least not the type of decorations you really want? Let’s take the same approach we use when we renovate the house.

  • Arrive at CLARITY. Figure out which of these 4 areas are most important to you and your family based on the impact they have on your daily life. 
  • Determine how much money you feel comfortable spending this year. 
  • Window-shop to get an idea of the actual cost of purchasing what you have in mind.
  • Make decisions based on your ideal spending amount, for which there are only 3 possible scenarios:
    • Right on target
    • Under budget (hooray for you)
    • Over budget (Don´t worry, most of us land here, most of the time).

Assuming you are over budget, you now have 3 choices to make:

  1. Increase your budget
  2. Downgrade your options to distribute funds among more items.
  3. Postpone some choices to stay within the amount you set from the beginning.

     

For example, my ideal budget for 2020 is $150.00. Assuming I already have the tree, I can split my money and allocate $45.00 for a wreath, $30.00 for my table centerpiece, and $75.00 for ornaments. I am consciously deciding not to dress my mantle this year and stay within my budget. After doing some online browsing, I realize that the wreath I was hoping to get is $15.00 more than what I had budgeted and that $75.00 will not be enough to decorate my tree how I had envisioned it. Now what!

Since increasing my budget is not possible, I choose option 2. I will downgrade my wreath to a less expensive one and get fewer tree ornaments. By redistributing the spending amount, I now have more money to create my ideal table escape. Another route would be to postpone the purchase of my wreath until next year and use $50.00 for the centerpiece and $100.00 for the tree.

Concentrate on the math and not on the drama.

Because acquiring a good amount of Christmas decorations takes time, I recommend you start with a classic or neutral style first. Doing so will provide you with a “blank canvas”, the perfect background to introduce color and update as the years go by. 

A word about collections.

When it comes to collections, I have 4 suggestions to build yours successfully and display it for more visual impact.

1. Decide what category:

  • Santa’s,
  • Angels,
  • Ornaments,
  • Candlesticks,
  • Stars,
  • Nativity sets.


2. Choose a style.
My Santa Collection is extremely specific. I don´t go for the elegant, shiny ones and I don’t care for ceramic or porcelain figurines. I decided a long time ago that I will stick to a more folk art appeal and my 20+ Santas are mostly skinny, tall, carved in wood, and painted in the traditional Christmas red. My sister, on the other hand, collects nutcrackers. Hers vary in theme and colors but she knows exactly the type that fits into her style. I also collect specific nativity sets, but only ones that represent a culture or a country. Mine reminds me of trips or gifts from friends.

 

Collecting can be a lengthy process, but again, there is a certain joy and untold magic in finding that one piece to add to your treasured finds.

Don’t feel overwhelmed. You will get there; your Christmas decor will get to where you want it to be. Take one step at a time. Enjoy the process, the season, not just the 25th.

3. Keep your eyes open throughout the year. If you have number 2 down, then when shopping, you are a girl on a mission with a specific set of instructions. It is a collection, and it needs to be carefully curated. Right after the season ends is a great time to take advantage of sales, and a few weeks after, when people purge and store their decorations, check thrift stores. eBay and estate sales are perfect for a vintage style; while folk art can easily be found in country fairs, markets, and thrift shops.

4. Display for the most impact. Add visual appeal and flow by adding objects of various heights and instead of distributing them throughout your home, group them together for a more collective visual impact.

Collecting can be a lengthy process, but again, there is a certain joy and untold magic in finding that one piece to add to your treasured finds.

Don’t feel overwhelmed. You will get there; your Christmas decor will get to where you want it to be. Take one step at a time. Enjoy the process, the season, not just the 25th.

Jessica Velazquez designer

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