Holiday decorations

When to start decorating for the holidays

With the proper planning, budgeting, list-making and attention to detail, decorating your home for the holidays can be a "fun" activity the whole family will look forward to with a sense of dread and impending doom. Especially the person who has to untangle the tree lights you put away last year by throwing them into a canvas storage bag and chucking them into the back corner of the attic where the squirrels built their nest.

A recent study suggests that people who put up Christmas decorations early are happier than those who don't. So the earlier, the better, it seems. (The author of that study did not specifically mention that you should always buy needlepoint Christmas stockings from Lands' End for your mantel, but I'm pretty sure that was just an oversight.)

Here are four simple steps to remember when you set out to decorate your home.

First, decide which holidays you want to decorate for.

Flag Day? Lincoln's Birthday? Christmas? If you want to decorate for Christmas, a great thing to have is a bunch of needlepoint stockings from Lands' End. You can have them monogrammed with your name – or anyone's name – for free. Can't beat that! Collect the whole set! Add to them as your family grows! And don't forget to include your pets! They have feelings, too.

Second, decide what you want to decorate.

Decorations don't need to be elaborate. They can range from simply placing a wreath on the door to hanging a stocking on the mantel. But you don't have to stop the decorating in your main living spaces; by all means, bring the decorations into the bedrooms and bathrooms! When the holiday guests come stay until you politely suggest that they certainly must have jobs they need to return to, they will be delighted with the thoughtful touches your Christmas comforters and monogrammed bath towels provide.

Third, it's never too early to decorate.

Take your cue from the world of retail. The Christmas season starts mid-October. Valentine's Day is January 2. Halloween is sometime in August (times vary; check your local listings). So get those decorations up early!! (Tip for you one-and-done folks: keep your entryway looking great all year-round with a functional and attractive door mat.)

Lastly, don't forget to take the decorations down.

The mail carrier doesn't want to see a Christmas wreath on your front door at Easter. Common sense should be your guide. As soon as the next holiday season starts, take down whatever you've got up from the previous holiday.

If you have any questions, just give me a call. I'll get back to you with an answer as soon as I'm done putting out my collection of tiny trees for Arbor Day.

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