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Which are the best ways to save time when decorating for the holidays?

Getting in the holiday spirit is easier when the halls are decked and the lights are strung. But between arranging your outdoor decorations, setting up the tree and adding festive cheer to the rest of your home, you can easily spend hours getting the place in shape, which can leave you feeling like a Grinch.

With a bit of forethought, you can give your home the perfect holiday makeover without spending an entire weekend on the job. Here are seven ways to slash your holiday decorating time in half.

Organize your decorations

organization boxes

It may not help you this year, but as you’re packing up your holiday decorations at the end of the season, take the time to sort and organize them before storing them away.

If your decorations are grouped by category, you won’t be running around trying to find your favorite ornaments or the garland you like to wrap around your banister when you could be trimming the Christmas tree.

Be sure to label each box and container clearly, too. That way, if you decide to pare down your holiday decorations one year, you won’t have to rifle through all your holiday mugs and tea towels just to find the key decorations that you want to display.

Choose a theme

When you’re trying to cut down on your decorating time, it helps to have a focused plan to guide you. Selecting a theme for your holiday decor is a great way to streamline the decorating process. You’ll know exactly which items are must-haves and which ones you can skip because you’ll have an artistic vision in mind.

Many homeowners go with a theme that revolves around a traditional color scheme, like red and green for Christmas or blue and gold for Hanukkah. Alternatively, you might mix things up with a gold and red or silver and white design.


Your theme doesn’t have to revolve around colors, either. You might want to consider a vintage holiday look for your house or a nautical-inspired design for the tree. You could even focus on a specific symbol or shape in your decor, such as gingerbread houses or sparkly snowflakes.

Invest in an artificial tree

If you’re decorating for Christmas, the tree is always the star of the show. But if you’re used to decorating with a live tree, you know just how much time the whole process can take. You have to go the tree lot, find the perfect option and lug it home. You may even need to saw off some of the trunk to fit it in your tree stand. And don’t forget all the time you’ll need to invest just to keep the tree alive during the holiday season!

prelit artificial Christmas tree

If you opt for an artificial tree, however,  you can save both money and time. Consider a prelit artificial Christmas tree if you’re not a fan of winding lights through branches each year. You’ll be amazed at how much time you save.

Use lights indoors

Most of us tend to reserve string lights for the Christmas tree or the outside of the house, but they can actually be a quick and easy way to add a festive mood to your interior, too.

multicolored lights

Depending on the rest of your decor, both white lights and multicolored lights could work well. Or, if it fits your theme, you could opt for a set of lights in a bold holiday color like blue, green, or red.

Drape a strand across your mantle, wind one around your banister, or use them to decorate potted plants around the house for a festive look. To get your table ready for holiday dinners and parties, try stretching a couple of light strings across the ceiling in your dining room. If you’re in a hurry, you could even stuff sets of battery-operated string lights in clear jars or vases and place them around the house.

Use holiday cards to dress up certain rooms

If you try to decorate every room in your house with holiday swag, you’ll likely spend hours setting everything up. Instead, concentrate on a few key areas, like your living room and dining room, and add smaller touches to the other spaces.

The holiday cards you receive from family and friends are the perfect way to instill a bit of festive spirit in secondary rooms. Prop them up on a table, window ledge, or another surface. If you want to get a little more creative, hang a piece of garland around a doorway or across the top of a wall, and add the cards to it with clothespins.

The best thing about using holiday cards as decor is that you don’t have to put them all out at once. Just add them to your space as they come in, and you’ll only need to spend a minute on the project here and there.

Focus your outdoor decorations

Your interior isn’t the only space that requires your attention when it comes to holiday decor. Outside decorations help give your neighborhood a festive feel and really make your home look like it’s full of the holiday spirit. But putting up outdoor decorations can be one of the most time-consuming parts of the process, which is why it helps to streamline your design a bit.

Instead of winding lights through every bush and tree or outlining every window, focus on one or two key shrubs or a large front window. Aim to hang the lights in areas that don’t require a ladder. This saves time, and it’s safer, too.

holiday light projector

Don’t assume string lights are the only effective exterior decor option, either. A holiday light projector is faster and easier to set up than strands of lights and still gives your house plenty of flair. You could also decorate fence posts and railings with ribbon and garland for decorations that are visible during the day.

Hire a holiday decorator

If you’re really strapped for time, hiring a decorator may be a good investment. A holiday decorating service will put up all of your decorations and take them down afterward. They can even help you come with a design concept if you’re not feeling particularly inspired.

If it’s just the exterior of your home that you need help with, your landscaping company may offer holiday decorating services. This is a particularly helpful option if you want to put lights on a very tall tree or along your roof. Just be sure to ask the service provider what tasks they will handle and how much they cost. You don’t want to be hit with any unexpected charges at the last minute.

This year, cut down on your decorating time and your holiday stress by simplifying your decorating routine with a few key changes. That way, you’ll have plenty of time left over for all of that important holiday shopping, baking and merry-making!

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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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