Holiday Decorating in Five Minutes

If you are like me, holiday decorating is kind of a burden because I just don’t have a lot of time to spend on it. I have about 3 hours after I get home from work before I need to wind down and get to bed. The weekends are packed full of activities and chores leading up to the holidays. I want to have a lovely home (because, you know, I live here) but sometimes it feels like a luxury to make a show home.

I realized there was no way I was going to get the house “done” following the standard decorating plan. I have house guests again this weekend and I want to play with them, not fuss around my furniture surfaces. So, this is my strategy for getting the house festive and still doing the million other things I need to do.

Divide and conquer. Also known as eating the elephant one bite at a time.

I mentally break my room into sections. The easiest thing to do is break it up into four corners and the center. If there is a funky nook, make that its own section. Then I make a general plan for what will work well in each section. This gives me an idea of what to pull out of the decorations box or pick up at the discount store.

Then I give each section five minutes. It doesn’t have to be only five minutes total, but I only spend five minutes on it at a time. You would be surprised how close you get it right in the first five minutes.

My dining room is small and only has a table and a sideboard so, therefore, it has three sections: the table, front window, and the sideboard.

I find a spot where I can work out of the boxes for a few days. A spot in the garage or guest room. You aren’t going to empty them all at once so they need a home in the meantime.

Then I prioritize the sections according to their prominence. This way, if I don’t get some sections done, it isn’t obvious. I started with my dining room because it is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door.

The table just has an inexpensive plaid runner (I think I got it at The Dollar Store). I have a large glass urn in the middle filled with red and gold ornaments. The urn is something I picked up at Marshall’s a long time ago. It is a really handy decorating element and I use it for most holidays. I’ve even just filled it with pretty balls of yarn and made that the centerpiece when I had some knitters over for a stitch and bitch.

The ornaments were picked up a few years ago from Big Lots. They are very inexpensive but they still look pretty piled up in the urn and scattered amongst the greens.

The light comes from two sparkly candle holders from Big Lots or Marshall’s a few years ago with battery-powered candles inside.

The greens are from my backyard. Some of the branches even have wee pinecones on them so they look adorable. I wouldn’t put fresh greens on a tablecloth or runner that is precious to you because there may be some sticky sap. I got some on my hands holding these greens but the plaid runner is very inexpensive and can be replaced as needed.

The sideboard holds just a few items that are more fun to see up close and more greens.

There still needs to be something vertically up the wall, but I’ll make that another five-minute project later.

For me, the best decorations bring color and sparkle into my home. We have less sunlight and less color outside so boosting it inside makes for a lovely environment.

As I found five minutes today, going into the kitchen for some water or a snack, I looked at a corner and did a little work on it. The table took only five minutes. That was an easy one. The sideboard took another five minutes during another trip so two big areas are decorated now.

Keeping this method up, I should actually have the house decorated by the end of the weekend. It’s much more feasible for me than a complete decorating session. Plus, I don’t get overwhelmed and I think I do a better job.

What is your time-saving tip for decorating for the holidays?

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6 Responses to Holiday Decorating in Five Minutes

  1. Amy says:

    My grandparents had an artificial Christmas tree that they never un-decorated. At the end of the holiday, they dragged the tree to the garage, threw a tarp over it, and let it sit until the next year. As a kid, I found it hilarious. As an adult, I realize my grandparents were BRILLIANT!

  2. Sue says:

    I have no plan or strategy. It just happens or it doesn’t.

    Love Amy’s comment, lol! I do have a tree, live one, sitting in the dead center of my living room!

  3. Amy D. says:

    Amy, as an adult, I definitely admire your grandparents! Laurie, I can’t say there was any time saving in ours . . . we did it all in one day. This year, it was a jump into the project, get it done, and put all the empty boxes back in the utility room on the same day, or I was going to chicken out of doing it. Luckily the children are older, and I’ve mellowed. They decorated the tree, and I have yet to re-arrange it to my standards. 😉 It’s is quite the colorful tree 🙂

  4. scaloot says:

    I go for the all or nothing system.. friends & family, munchies and in 3 hours – lots of stuff up, tree trimmed Did this at parents for years – huge house (4 trees of various sizes) village on buffet, mini trees and greens and candles all over the place. The main tree was a group effort of all of us after we did other areas, the rest was in one or two peeps. Everybody had good time and tubs were back in storage before we left. We also did this for the taking down day. Now I am in small space with 6 fur children who also like to help – I have minimal decor which may or not be grabbed from storage unit in the next week. Spend time putting up lights outside, if the weather cooperates!

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