Here’s Your One-Stop-Shop Guide to Holiday Decorating Ideas

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Image Credit: Carrie Waller for Hunker

It's hard to believe that the holidays are around the corner once again. It seems like people are putting up their Christmas decorations earlier and earlier every year, and you know what? We're not even mad about it. In fact, we encourage holiday decorating as early as you please because all those magical touches from the Christmas tree to the stockings are sure to put smiles on the faces of your family, friends, and people walking by your home.


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There are so many opportunities to decorate for the holidays this time of year. For Hanukkah, you may currently be on the lookout for the perfect menorah. Or you may want to create a jubilant atmosphere in your home just in time for Kwanzaa.

No matter what holiday you celebrate, decorating can feel overwhelming at times. Holiday decorations, as joyful as they might be, can also be intimidating. Although it can be a fair amount of time and effort, we're here to break down the process. First, refer to our ever-so-handy Christmas decorations list as you start to festoon your home. Then read on to discover tips and trends that will guide your decorating throughout the holiday season.

Holiday Decorating: Style & Colors

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When it comes to holiday decor, styles and colors oftentimes go hand in hand. A color palette can lend itself to the aesthetic that you're striving to create.

First of all, you can't ​really​ go wrong with a red and green color scheme for Christmas — it has been around since the ancient Celtics embraced the hues to celebrate the winter solstice, after all. You can definitely wrap these shades into whichever style you choose for your decorations, but they do work quite nicely with traditional holiday decor, like farmhouse. On the flip side, you may prefer a more modern approach to your holiday decorations. In this case, we'd recommend including non-traditional colors, like orange, pink, or even black. Outfit your mod Christmas tree in ornaments that look right-this-minute: Think geometric shapes, marbled glass, and velvet. Or, try a new take on the tree itself with an ombre option or one made from wooden dowels.


There are other forms of modern holiday decor that you can consider. One is Scandi Christmas inspired by Nordic countries that are big on ​hygge,​ or all-things-cozy, with faux furs, sumptuous rugs, and glowing candles. Contemporary holiday decorations are a way to make your surroundings look current with colors other than red and green and festive accents displayed in artful ways. For a dose of modern with a throwback feel, look no further than midcentury modern holiday decorations. Punctuate a space with a real-deal vintage aluminum tree and plenty of primary colors.

Another way to keep things looking clean and current is with minimalist decorations. Picture no-nonsense, sleek trees, metal hoops in place of evergreen wreaths, or even a minimal Christmas tree, made up of four simple evergreen branches hung on the wall. Or, perhaps you'd like to keep things casual this holiday season. Here, you may want to go the boho route with your holiday decorations. These can include Jungalow-inspired pieces like well-loved bud vases filled with succulents and hand-embroidered holiday pillows.

If you prefer your holiday decor to be substantial and have some heft, we'll direct you to industrial style decorations, which may include a pipe-accented shelf filled with Christmas details and a dark-hued palette. Rustic style is another great option for the holidays. With its warm wood finishes, fresh winter greens, neutral colors, and vintage pieces, rustic holiday decorations instantly communicate a cozy vibe. Do you live somewhere warm, or wish that you did? Then you might want to create a coastal holiday scene in your home. You'll need turquoise touches, of course, along with sea-life inspired ornaments and lots of driftwood.

If you're anything like us and like to put your holiday decorations up early and keep the same look all winter long, we suggest turning to silver and gold elements for this approach. It will look spot-on through the chilly months and pairs nicely with other colors if you want to mix things up for a special occasion.


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Every year, we love to predict what we think will be the biggest holiday decor trends. For 2020, we're seeing a lot of natural elements (think winter greenery, holiday florals, or even fall-themed Christmas trees), dark colors like navy blue and black, plus brass accents.

We've also noticed that while many people still stick to decorating the traditional spots (like the fireplace mantel), they're also looking for fresh places to add festive touches, like windows, stairs, or tables outfitted in finery, not just on Christmas but throughout the holiday season.

For the past few years, more and more people are clamoring for Christmas tree alternatives. Homeowners will decorate existing plants with ornaments or go miniature with their tree instead of a full-sized fir. They're also playing with tree themes, ranging from rainbow colors to florals. Or they're opting for non-green trees, showing off pink hues or opting for all-white.

Holiday Decorating: DIY Projects

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On a cold, snowy afternoon, is there anything better than a DIY project to whip up a few holiday decorations? Although we love purchasing festive decor from our favorite retailers (more on that later!), there's something so satisfying about making decorations like wreaths, garlands, and ornaments with your own two hands.


You can strive to make DIYs with a modern slant in preparation for the holiday season, or you can go a little more traditional by focusing on your Christmas tree. Dress up your fir in all kinds of DIY goodness (lots and lots of handmade, adorable ornaments) or make an entirely new tree with wooden dowels, branches, succulents, or even disco balls. A pallet Christmas tree is a fresh take that feels rustic and vintage. Or, maybe you need to pull something together last minute. Don't worry — we won't tell anyone.

Here are a few of our favorite DIY holiday decorating ideas to inspire you:

Holiday Decorating: Working On a Budget

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Even though this is "the most wonderful time of the year," it might not be so wonderful for your wallet. Never fear! You can still achieve peak holiday decorations that look more expensive than they really are.

One place you can start is the Christmas tree. Consider skipping a live tree in lieu of an artificial one that you can reuse every year — it'll end up being a wise investment. Plus, tree decorations, like toppers and ornaments, are small touches that aren't all that expensive.

Christmas wreaths look full-on holiday and won't break the bank in most cases. And the nice thing is that you don't need to change anything in your home to decorate with wreaths. From the front door to windows to mirrors, you can bring lots of cheer to your home without spending a lot of money.


Also, don't forget that major retailers like Walmart and IKEA are treasure troves of reasonably-priced holiday decorations. From ornaments to trees to candles, they never disappoint.

And did you know that printables are fab if you're looking to save money on festive artwork? They're a completely cost-effective way to create gift tags, wall art, Christmas cards, and advent calendars all season long.

Holiday Decorating: Storage & Organization

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Having a plan for holiday storage and organization is key in order to avoid headaches when decorating. Luckily, keeping things neat and tidy is pretty straightforward. However, we must admit that we're partial to bags made especially for stashing trees and fabric boxes with little compartments for ornaments.

For starters, it would definitely help to organize the space that your decorations will live in (ie: the garage, basement, closet, etc.) before attempting to come up with a storage system. A messy space will equal a messy endeavor as you try to organize your holiday decor. That's why it's important to come up with an overall plan to corral all of your belongings, not just holiday decorations. Don't forget you'll also need a place to store your gift wrapping essentials, too.

Holiday Decorating: Gift Wrapping

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Speaking of wrapping paper, we personally think that gift wrapping falls right in line with holiday decorations. It's the easiest way to fancy up your Christmas tree and create a complete theme, coordinating wrapping paper with the ornaments, garland, and topper.


We've noticed that recycled options in eye-pleasing, cool patterns and punchy colors are trending right now. Wrapping cloth is all the rage (and it's reusable!). Tried-and-true patterns like buffalo plaid still hold up as well.

While we're always game to pick up our gift wrap from IKEA and boutique brands, we like to give gifts our own personal spin, too. Pine cones, fresh winter greenery, and hand-drawn artwork are a lovely way to customize packaging.

Outdoor Holiday Decorating Ideas

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Last but not least, you'll need to think through your outdoor holiday decorations. View it as an expression of all the great ambiance that you're showing off inside your home.

Start with the front door. From old-time bells to winter wreaths to snowflakes, you'll greet guests with holiday cheer right off the bat. Lights add so much magic to an outdoor display — frame the doors and windows, or add some twinkle throughout the front yard. Also, don't forget about those often-overlooked spots, like window boxes and the mailbox, for additional opportunities.

This is an area where you can DIY your way through the holiday season, too. For outdoor holiday decorations, try making your own garlands, festive signs, wreaths, and lanterns to give your home's exterior a truly personal touch.

Where to Shop for Holiday Decor

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Crate & Barrel

Balsam Hill

The Home Depot

Pottery Barn



Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer who contributes to national magazines and websites, including Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Well+Good, and more. When she's not writing, you'll find her shopping flea markets, hiking, and going for walks with her corgi.