If shopping early makes the holidays less stressful, then planning early for decorating your home brightens the family's mood and makes this time of year more fun.
When you're decking the halls, you should remember what the holidays mean- spending time with family and friends and those you love.
1. Choose one high impact piece or setting and decorate around it. Whether it's an extravagant centerpiece for your dining room table, a festive mantle or a warm and welcoming entryway, decide on one area where you'll go all out and choose accent pieces to complement throughout the rest of the house. For example, if you want to make your dining room the focal point, take a large clear vase and fi ll it with one type of seasonal item: ornamental balls, either multicolored or all the same hue, work well; so do pinecones, small Santa fi gurines or small wrapped "gifts" (wrap wooden blocks from your children's toy box). Once you've decided on the theme, follow it throughout the house
2. Make decorating one of your regular traditions. Involve the kids in as much as is appropriate for their ages. Some of their best holiday memories will be the time spent decorating with the family. Emphasize for them that these moments are what make this time of year special. As much as kids love the other "fun" aspects of the holidays, they also love to help string popcorn, hang tinsel, decide where decorations will be placed and just being part of the process.
3. Have a home-decorating party. Make decorating an event - choose one day on a weekend, or even a few hours, for the "family decorating party." You can even create "invitations" to your fabulous fete. Make hot chocolate and cookies (let your kids help in the preparations) as special snacks for before, during or after. Set up a few areas where kids can engage in crafts - making those popcorn garlands, creating easily constructed ornaments, whatever your kids would enjoy.
4. Light up an entryway. Make your home inviting to guests by adding some sparkle to the doorway. You can go all out, and hang lights around the outside of the doorjamb and along the porch railings. Use LED lights to save energy and money on your electric bill. Or you can choose to make it as simple as a lighted wreath adorning your front door. If you go with the latter, you can fashion your own with small strands of LED lights made especially for that purpose, or you can purchase a ready-made lighted wreath. However you decide to adorn your home, keep in mind that the process should be a pleasure for you and your loved ones, not an additional stress. Seasonal accessories should be happy reminders of the best parts of the holidays: the love, the warmth, the beauty.