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How to Decorate Your Home for Christmas

Everyone jokes that the holiday season starts earlier and earlier every year. But planning in advance can mean less stress as those weeks actually approach. This way, you’ll have everything waiting in the wings before the holidays hit, and all you have to do is pull and place. For those celebrating Christmas, it’s one of the most special times of year. It means quality time with family and friends, generosity both given and received and many warm memories made and never forgotten.

Living Room Decorated for Christmas

Follow our guide of Christmas decorating ideas.


What your guests experience with their sense of sight is the most powerful of the five senses. And updating your interior decor is the first step in spreading holiday cheer. Traditionally, the hearth—often in the living room—is the main gathering place for the holidays, so once you have the Christmas tree trimmed and the wreath hung on your front door, the third project should be decorating the mantel. Simple white string lights set the mood and—if you use the same ones as those on the tree—it creates a seamless look throughout the room when applied to the fireplace, door frames and even window treatments. Wrapping seasonal faux foliage such as holly, ivy and berry branches around the cord is a nice touch, and a velvet ribbon can be looped around the entire bundle to secure it and add a pop of color. Next, place pillar candles in creams and off-whites in a staggered configuration on the hearth, so the string-light-and-branch bundle weaves around them and drapes off each side of the mantle. The rest is up to you (more small topiary plants? Glass hurricanes filled with colorful Christmas ornaments? A wreath hung above on the wall?), and then it’s time to move on to the other areas of the home. A few often overlooked areas are powder rooms, kitchens and guest rooms. A holiday pillow, richly hued throw, fun holiday dish towel, scented candle, glass bowl of Christmas ornaments and various holiday family photos can all add a festive touch. It's all about layers, so feel free to build on your favorite parts of Christmas. If you have something sentimental from a relative, bring that out as well. Christmas decorating is all about bringing back those happy memories and sharing them with your family. And luckily, it’s always a “more the merrier” mentality with Christmas decor.


Indulging a person’s sense of smell is another way to wow your family and friends over the holidays. Seasonal scents such as pine, cranberry, spruce, gingerbread, fir and cinnamon are just a few options for candles that evoke seasonal florals, baked goods and cooking spices that are used around Christmas time.


One of the most anticipated aspects of the holidays is definitely the special menu that accompanies gatherings with family and friends. Every family has their secret recipes and unique concoctions, but there are also some traditional dishes that almost always make the cut. A few favorites include pate or fine cheeses to start; honey-baked ham or beef tenderloin as the main dish; potatoes gratin, cranberry sauce and green bean casserole as sides; and various types of pies for dessert. These special dishes require specific cookware and bakeware, and it saves an extra step to purchase pieces that are so attractive they can go straight from oven to table.


For anyone who grew up attending Nutcracker ballet productions during Christmas, the soundtrack is synonymous with the season and conjures up many fond memories. Jazz renditions of classic tunes are also a universal favorite. And for something more contemporary, many current pop artists are recording holiday songs, so it’s easy to find something for everyone, young and old. Filling your home with the sounds of the season is one way to get guests to return year after year.


In addition to the main living room, there are other areas of your home that would benefit from holiday decorations that guests can touch as well as see. It’s important to create a warm and cozy environment so friends and family are more prone to relax, stay awhile, and reminisce about past celebrations. Christmas-themed pillows in soft fabrics encourage snuggling sessions, so use large solid colored pillows as a background for smaller decorated pillows on chairs and sofas. Thick throw blankets in deep reds, greens and creams work well too—you can mix and match in appropriate colors and patterns to create a signature look.

For more Christmas decorating ideas, check out the Crate and Barrel “Deck the Halls” Pinterest board.

How do you decorate your home for the holidays? Share your Christmas decorating ideas with us by using #CrateHoliday.

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