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Holiday Decorating Hot Spots | Make Your Home Sparkle Indoors and Out

If your holiday travel plans have been curtailed by the pandemic, it’s the perfect year to create holiday magic at home with spirited decor. If you target a few key areas inside and out, you can have a ho-ho-holiday without breaking the budget, saving plenty of green for what goes under the tree, instead of just on it. Read on for tips on readying your home for the upcoming season and squeezing joy out of a challenging year.


Mailbox: You’ll be venturing to your curb at least once a day, gathering the mail and holiday cards, and with a little effort, you can make your mailbox festive. Companies like Grandin Road offer a swag made of faux greenery specially for mailboxes, held in place with a strap and buckle that won’t budge on windy days. If you want to DIY a real arrangement for a few dollars, ask the attendant at the lot where you buy your Christmas tree to give you a few cuttings from the bottom of your tree, and tie a bow on it. Use fishing wire or a pretty ribbon to tie it in place on the mailbox. If you have a street of willing neighbors, consider coordinating mailbox decor for a stunning effect, brightening up the entire street.

Lamp post: If you have a lamp post, it’s a great spot to glam up, and you have a few options. First, you can coordinate with the mailbox and use the same decoration, such as the DIY swag, or a coordinating faux set. A garland wrapped around the pole, with or without lights, is pretty, and a bow, small wreath or holiday sign can be the focal point. A sign might say “Merry Christmas” or “Santa Stop Here,” or even feature a monogram or last name. Shop Etsy online for custom signs, or find one for a steal at a craft shop.

Front door: If you are looking for maximum bang for your buck, the front door, lamp post and mailbox in a coordinated scheme looks like you went to a lot of effort. However, unlike complicated holiday light arrangements, these are easy areas to take down when the season is over. The front door begs for a great wreath, and do go larger than you think you need to. A real wreath with a pretty bow only lasts the season, but is less of an investment. A large faux wreath with cordless lights will cost more, but last for years. A spotlight to show off your wreath at night is a nice touch, and one can be found at local hardware stores, big box stores or online. Simply stake it in the yard, trained on the door, and use a timer to save you from remembering to unplug it before bedtime. If you really want to dress up the door, a swag or garland framing it that coordinates with the wreath scores points. If you don’t want a wreath this year, a monogram sign in holiday colors can also dress up your entrance.

Front porch: Your ability to accessorize on the front porch will depend on how large it is, but there are so many options, you can easily put a personal spin on your decor. If you have a very large front porch, consider putting an extra tree or trees on it, and add lights. If you opt for ornaments, plastic ones ensure that you aren’t dealing with broken glass. Urns that once held summer flowers can also be planted with evergreens and lit up with lights. Or, empty the urn and create your own affordable filler. Evergreen branches, magnolia branches, holly and some thin birch logs may be all your need for an organic look. If you have porch chairs, swap the summer throw pillows for holiday themed pillows and put a new holiday doormat in front of your door. Fill outdoor lanterns with plastic ornaments, or wrap the candles in cordless fairy lights for added glow.

Windows: If you want to light up your house without going Clark Griswold-style with ladders and string lights, you can create a glow at your windows from the inside of the house. An electric candle in each window is a simple, elegant and affordable display; just be sure the window is clean to maximize the glow. If you don’t have an outlet near the window, there are battery operated models, and candle clamps to hold candles in place for windows without a large-enough sill. An outdoor wreath hung at a window can be affixed from the inside by suspending it with wire, and a wreath positioned for the candle to appear to glow in the center of the wreath is a pretty look. A window swag is another option, which appears to sit at the bottom of the window, and can be illuminated with cordless lights.

Dining table: A dining table can be the perfect spot to dress up for the season, and the options are endless. A runner on the table can be festive, and you can top it with long-lasting, live flowers of the season, like an amaryllis, paperwhite or poinsettia. If that doesn’t suit, a dough bowl or clear glass vase full of colorful ornaments is festive and affordable, or simply change out the candles in your candlesticks for ones that match your holiday scheme. A real rosemary topiary (check the grocery store produce section) wrapped in burlap is minimalist but pretty, and you can snip off rosemary when you need the herb for holiday cooking.

Chair backs: You can also dress up your chairs to be as festive as your tabletop, either for a special meal or throughout the season. Start with a big, thick bow for each chair. If you’d like, tie a small piece of greenery, faux pinecone or berry stalk into the bow. A small wreath can also be hung by a swath of ribbon. You can also opt for funny chair covers like elf legs, Santa beards or Santa hats, which are more kitschy, but fun.

Mantel: If you are lucky enough to have a mantel, this is a classic zone for Christmas cheer. If you want to hang your stockings by the chimney with care, stocking holders prevent you from putting nail holes in your mantel. Add in a garland of greenery and plenty of lights (cordless if you don’t have an outlet—dangling wires spoil the mood) and you can call it a day, but you can also add in more if you wish. Try attaching photo holiday cards to your greenery as they arrive in the mail. Small clothespins will secure them. Ornaments are also pretty here; just be sure they are secured well. Add in some height with candlesticks or small faux trees (try cone shaped) of different sizes for some nice height variation and interest.

Powder Room: The easiest way to make your powder room feel holiday-ready is to add in some seasonal hand soap (a winter scent is nice) and towels that reflect the season. Inject some humor with a “naughty” and “nice” towel set, or simply update your towels for new ones that feel more luxurious for a holiday splurge. If you don’t replace your go-to towels, consider disposable hand towels that are holiday-themed. If you are having guests, this is a sanitary way to be sure germs aren’t shared on a common towel. If you have the space, a slender tree, lantern or figurine in the corner of a powder room is unexpected. Try a faux pre-lit birch or twig tree from Restoration Hardware or Amazon, a modern twist for a small space.

Guest room: The guest room is a place to make visiting friends and family feel welcome and cherished. A holiday frame with a favorite memory you’ve shared with your guest is a nice touch, as is a basket filled with some snacks they can nosh on between meals. Special magazines or books you know they’ll appreciate are thoughtful bedside treats. For example, your father-in-law the golfer might appreciate Golf magazine, while your mother-in-law reads Good Housekeeping or British murder mysteries. Knowing you’ve gone to the effort will brighten anyone’s holiday. Holiday-themed sheets are a mood booster as are holiday throw pillows or decor like a small Christmas tree or scented candle.

You may also want to check if your furnace is running properly via experts like Better Choice Heating & Air Conditioning. If your home is having a hard time being able to keep an even temperature, consider having a new furnace installation to keep you and your family warm this winter. It also could be your furnace just needs a Furnace Air Duct Cleaning. Whatever the issue is, keep in mind that Preventative HVAC Maintenance extends the life of your system, reducing the likelihood that you’ll need to spend big bucks on an HVAC installation soon. Find out the carrier HVAC age to know how much maintenance it needs. You have to make sure to schedule an hvac cleaning regularly. Hire the best air duct cleaning company to keep the air fresh coming from the unit.

Staircase: The staircase is another showplace for holiday decor. A garland wrapped around the banister is classic, and decorative bannister ties are both attractive and shield the bannister from scratches. If you lack a mantel, or want to keep stockings from getting too close to the fire, a staircase is another great place to hang stockings. Consider adorning the sides of the staircase with poinsettias on the risers, or adding a large one at the base of the newel post—it can hide the unsightly end of a garland and impart extra pizzazz. If a tree is not your style, a staircase and/or mantel can be the stars of your holiday season.

There are so many areas of your home that beg for a little holiday love, and by choosing a few of your favorites, you can create a style that is uniquely yours. Don’t be afraid to experiment with something fresh and new this year.

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