It’s the most wonderful time of the year.


For many it’s the time of year we most look forward to, the annual celebration of Christmas and all things green and red. But what if your colour scheme doesn’t lend itself to festive greens or cherry reds? What if your children want to “help” with all your holiday decorating? Today we talk about décor planning for the holidays that won’t overwhelm your space or turn it into that scene from the movie “Elf” – you know, where Christmas exploded all over the house!


If you celebrate Christmas (or even if you don’t but love to add a few seasonal embellishments in honour of the season) here are a few tips and tricks guaranteed to make your space festive and fabulous not crowded and crammed. After all, you do still have to actually live in your space and having a Christmas tree in every room just isn’t very practical!


First and foremost, resist the urge to plaster your space with greenery. Too much of the green stuff isn’t good stuff! For most homes, your Christmas tree is green enough. Many like to wrap the stair banisters in greenery and if done with a light touch, this too is ok. However, greenery everywhere simply takes up too much space. It’s a dust collector and will actually darken your space making it appear smaller. When it comes to greenery, less is definitely more! Think outside of the box. There are a number of beautiful ways in which to decorate stair rails that don’t involve any greenery at all. If you have little ones in the home, it might even be an idea to forgo stair décor altogether since handrails are an important safety element for those new to navigating stairs.


Even the smallest of homes often have both formal and informal living space. It can be hard to determine where to place your tree. If you are the “freshly cut” type of family you also need to consider how to get the tree into that perfect spot and then back out again before all the needles fall…because fall they will! As well, again if you have little ones, they are going to want to help with hanging the ornaments. If budget allows, consider purchasing a small (3 – 5 ft) artificial tree for the space you use the most and where the children play.  Allow them, with your guidance, to decorate this tree in any way they please. This will be the tree they enjoy and see most often, probably while they are eating breakfast and certainly when they come home from school. They will be happy and proud to have been a part of the decorating process and if you are so inclined you can even make popcorn or bake gingerbread figures to add to it. The added bonus is that now you have the opportunity to create a tree decorated to your own taste, one where all the ornaments match and are colour coordinated to the room in which you’ve placed it! This is the area where you might be entertaining adults over the holiday season and it gives you a chance to showcase your décor skills.


With decorations available in such a huge variety of colours it has never been easier to tailor your Christmas décor to your room colour.  Many items are available at discount retailers for a reasonable price for even the most budget conscious shopper. Try filling an oversized glass bowl or vase with Christmas balls to create a simple yet elegant centrepiece. Pick balls that match the accent colour of the room you are decorating. Make trios of various sized candles in the same colour and/or with silver, gold or glass candlesticks. Nothing says homey, warm, elegant and inviting like a room full of candles on a cold winter night. Speaking of lighting, no need to set your place up to resemble a runway landing strip. A few artfully placed strings of lights are all you need to add a touch of glamour to your space. Perhaps around the mantle if you have one, a wall unit or choose to accent just one or two windows in the principal room you spend most of your time in. Another beautiful affect is to stuff rope lights into glass bowls or vases or perhaps paired together in the bowl of Christmas ornaments we just described.


Finally, back to those little ones and sharing their Christmas joy and excitement. Depending on the age of your child, you might also want to consider allowing them to decorate their room.  Many kids are excited about Christmas and they want to see ALL of their favourite decorations spread throughout the house. In my younger days this even included all the various Christmas themed stuffed toys my children had received over they years. Not wanting to spend the season tripping over toys, the solution was to allow the kids to decorate their own rooms with their most favourite decorations.  The kids were happy, able to fall asleep surrounded by Christmas décor they had chosen themselves and I was happy with the main living spaces decorated “just so.”  One last pretty idea that won’t add to the Christmas clutter is to create something pretty to look up to. If you have popcorn ceilings (not always considered nice but great for hiding pin holes) consider this: hang crystal, glass, white or silver snowflakes, (fake is fine!) from the ceiling using varying lengths of fishing wire. The effect is dazzling, draws they eye upward and doesn’t take up any space at all!


Christmas can be taxing enough without worrying about cluttering up your space with so much more. While it is certainly a season of excess, that doesn’t have to translate into your home environment. After all, you need room for all that holiday entertaining! Apply the principle of less is more, use lighting judiciously and your space will be lovely, welcoming and warm as you await Santa’s arrival.