Ho-Ho-Holy Cow! How Not To Overdo Christmas Decor

It may seem a little bit early for this conversation. We’ve not even had Halloween or Guy Fawkes night yet, but here we are, talking about Christmas. Of course, for the retailers of the world, it’s not early at all – Harrods begin their Christmas display in August. So we’re actually late.

Besides, you will hear thousands and thousands of times that the key to Christmas is all in preparation. This is often said in regards to gifts, but it applies to everything. The decor that you choose; the food you are going to eat – it all needs an extra level of focus. Otherwise, you become one of the stressed December bunch, rushing around stores like you forgot it was happening.

A huge part of Christmas is the decor that we choose for our homes. From tacky-fantastic decorations to subtle woodcut scenes, it can make or break the season. We want to feel cosy like we are ensconced in Santa’s grotto only without the mild hint of elf slavery. Yet year after year, people get it wrong.

With a plethora of choices in Christmas decor – more than any other time of the year – it almost seems impossible for mistakes to be made. By investigating errors of others, we can learn not to make them for ourselves. Feeling a little bit smug about the prospect? Ah, allow it – it’s Christmas!

Christmas Is Fun; It’s Less So If It Goes On Fire

It’s quite staggering the number of house fires there are per year from Christmas decorations. While we all like the idea of flickering flames on a cold night, they should ideally be contained in a fireplace.


The simple facts of heat and electricity have to be considered in all of your decorations. Lights look pretty, but they can also catch fire if you place them near something flammable. One other major area to watch out for is your tree. Whether real and underwatered or just out-and-out synthetic, it’s a fire trap if the lights draped around it catch fire. Keep this in mind and give the lights a chance to cool down every few hours, never leaving them on unattended.

Too Much of Something: Going Mad With The Glitz

Part of the beauty of this time of year is that we can indulge in a little bit of tack. Things are meant to glitter and sparkle, and we can hide our inner interior designer and chalk it up to the season. “I didn’t want to do it,” you can lie to the style police, “but Christmas made me. It’s Santa you should be looking for…”


Don’t go overboard with decorations, is the take-home message. If you have covered every available surface in statues, lights, glitz, tinsel – then you’ve gone too far. Rather than buying lots of decorations, spend the same amount of money on fewer things that you actually love. Eight beautiful baubles are far better than 16 that you grabbed at the pound shop.

Practical, Schmactical: How We All Forget Our Home Has A Function

Want brightly coloured streamers dangling from the ceiling? Go for it! It’s Christmas! Fancy a bright, glittery tablecloth adorned with little holly and ivy? Go for it! It’s Christmas! Little figurines of on the mantelpiece depicting the nativity? You know the deal by this point.


Fast forward to trying to live amongst all of the above in the subsequent weeks. The streamers interfere with the air vent in the kitchen; the table cloth is already ruined and torn. As for the figurines, they require far more dusting than you anticipated – and no, you can’t just pretend it’s snow. (Good try, though.)

Think about how these items are going to be able to exist in your home. It might be a time of year for indulging the tacky, but bringing in things that make your life more difficult? That’s just stupid. Keep the streamers away from air flows and vents; use restaurant quality tablecloths that can handle the strain. As for the figurines, either don’t get them or in case them in their own glass cloche, so you have something less to dust down.

Red And Green Should Never Be Seen? Not Quite

One of the major decor issues that happen at this time is a complete abandonment of any aspect of colour. Where you would usually scrutinise the difference between biscuit and sand for your hand towels, you now don’t care. Red and green is a staple, of course, the world-recognised Christmas colours. Then you throw in some gold and silver, while so many lovely decorations come in a stark blue that is meant to mimic ice.


The end result is, not to put too fine a point on it, a mess. Before you decide on a colour scheme you want to use, go and research the decorations you are tempted by. By doing this before you decide, you are not going to find yourself restricted in suddenly finding something that you love that doesn’t fit. When you have specific items in mind, tailor around them you are down to two or three colours.

A Clash of Styles

By and large, decorations tend to fit into one of two groups. The first is more aimed towards children. These are your singing snowmen, your bright colours with “fun” fonts and cheap-and-cheerful paper. There is nothing wrong with enjoying them as an adult, either – it’s all part of the fun of the season.

On the flip side, you find the more mature choices. These focus on sparse lighting, muted and winter colours with a lot of taupe usually. They have a sense of class and are stunning in how delicate they are.

Both are fine and have their own merits, but if you cross-pollinate them, then chaos reigns. The two clash furiously at every point. A beautiful prelit prancing reindeer is not going to look good with a blow-up Santa. So pick which you’re going to go for and stay in that area – there’s always next year if you fancy a change.