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8 weeks till Christmas: brainstorm decor ideas

With Halloween tomorrow, Christmas decor might not be at the front of your mind. But this time of year is the second-best spot on the calendar to score some great deals for decorating your home for the season (the best time is just after the holiday season, in January).

12weekschristmasSo if you enjoy decorating for Christmas, it’s not too early to start planning. With eight weeks left, the next month will fly by — and before you know it, it’ll be time to hang the wreath. This week’s project for 12 Weeks to a Peaceful Christmas is to inventory and plan your home decorating.

Here are a few ways to start planning your holiday decor now.

1. Inventory what you have.

Hopefully your Christmas gear isn’t shoved way in the back of the attic. Wherever it is, however, do yourself a favor and find it now. It’s stressful to deal with it during the seasonal hubbub, and in a month or so when you’re ready, you’ll know exactly where it is.

Not only that, but you’ll know what’s in your boxes. You don’t need to make a detailed cross-reference graph, but take a quick look to see what you have. Do your lights still work? Plug them in and check. Has anything broken? Shuffle through your things to see if anything needs replacing or fixing.

2. Make a list of what you’d like.

We’re not talking magazine-worthy decor here, but if there’s something you’d like to find, make a list and keep it with you. Just like your gift giving plans, if you keep a list with you, you’ll be less likely to buy things you just don’t need. Those holiday displays in the store are meant to entice you to buy more than you plan.

So if you’d like a new wreath for the front door, write it down, and keep it in your purse. That way, you can reference it when you’re out shopping for gifts, and if you see one you like for a great deal, you can snag it and then cross it off the list.

3. Shop secondhand.

I love shopping at Goodwill and other similar stores. In fact, I found most of my home’s decor at one of the many thrift stores I hit up when I’m in the States. Before you go to any normal-priced stores, head to your neighborhood secondhand shop to check its inventory. Here are a few tips for shopping at thrift stores.

4. Hunt the sales now.

Many stores are selling last year’s decor to make room for this year’s stuff. Keep your eyes peeled for early Christmas displays in the store, and don’t forget about store sites. Target has a number of Christmas decorations on sale, as does Amazon, Pier 1, World Market,  and even places like Lillian Vernon.

snowflakes on windows5. Go homemade.

My preference is for homemade Christmas decor. Not only is it my preferred aesthetic taste, it’s also frugal, eco-friendly, and involves the whole family. Paper snowflakes hung on the windows, garlands of thrifted wool pieces threaded together, simple children’s projects… these, to me, make home a great place to be for the holidays.

There are scores of great holiday craft ideas on the internet — some of my favorite kid-friendly craft sites are Make and Takes, Let’s Explore, Soule Mama, and The Crafty Crow (which actually simply highlights craft ideas from all around the blogosphere).

6. Embrace a simple look.

This might be the most important tip for your holiday decor this year. Less is more. Don’t aim for a house worthy of the cover spot on Southern Living, because at the end of the day, that’s not what Christmas is about. I love making my home a warm, inviting place — especially during the holidays — but it’s easy to get discouraged when you flip through home magazines and witness perfection.

Seek contentment with what you have. Make the decor you do display really pop with the right placement. Commission the kids to help decorate the house. And then stop worrying about a photo-worthy, Norman Rockwell-esque home, and enjoy hot cocoa in front of the fireplace with the family.

What’s your favorite holiday decor piece? Any new decorating plans for this year?

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  1. Debra

    I bought this beautiful angel wall hanging years ago at a craft show which I just love. It’s pretty big (about 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide @ the widest part) so it makes a statement. I usually do the same decorating each year. I don’t buy much except one ornament for each family member since we already have so much. I can’t say I am not tempted but I try to be frugal and use what we have – it’s a tradition plus it leaves more of the Christmas budget to spend on other things.
    .-= Debra´s last blog ..Trick or Treat… =-.

  2. Erin Leigh

    Yikes! Thanks for the heads up. Love these tips. Thanks…
    .-= Erin Leigh´s last blog ..Off to the printer… =-.

  3. Samantha @ Mama Notes

    oh goodness! I haven’t even THOUGHT about Christmas decorations yet! All I know is that we MUST decorate good this year because we have a little one in the house so we’re excited to start new holiday traditions. 🙂

    We will probably keep it very simple though with a nice wreath, Christmas books and candles in the house, and lights outside.
    .-= Samantha @ Mama Notes´s last blog ..Stretch Marks: I Just Want the Truth =-.

  4. Micha

    Of course there must be some christmas-decoration things in the attic, but this year IKEA have such beautiful things…. I think, I can’t stand it!
    .-= Micha´s last blog ..Miniäpfel / little apples =-.

  5. Christina

    I always shop thrift stores and get some great decor. Right now is the best time because most people aren’t thinking about Christmas just yet. I already bought an adorable nativity set for 3.99 at my local Saver’s!
    .-= Christina´s last blog ..An Idea for Halloween Clearance =-.

  6. gretchen from lifenut

    My favorite holiday decor piece is our tree. That’s what people notice when they come over, not the little snowman soaps in the guest bathroom. I put most of my efforts into the tree.

    It always looks like a tree decorated by many small children. 80% of the decorations will be hung at my waist level or below. We have Darth Vader and gorgeous antique hand-blown ornaments from eastern Europe sharing limb space.

    Nothing reflects the state of the family more than the tree when it comes to decorating. It’s almost like a living ode to the year-that-was, a green sappy monument to another year of blessings.
    .-= gretchen from lifenut´s last blog ..20 inches of unassembled snowmen =-.

  7. Melissa

    I have been linking this series on FB when one of my friends mentions being anxious that the holidays are around the corner. They love it! Thanks!

    We have moved three times since Christmas ’07 and didn’t unpack our Christmas boxes last year b/c it was in storage. Now that we have settled down in our home-I am ready! Went through my boxes last night! Bought a tree a month ago off of!
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Popcorn Balls-Happy Halloween =-.

  8. Laura

    Thanks for your beautiful blog and peaceful articles! This year we will rely on handmade decorations, while we have moved, our furnishings have not. I look forward to all the family time we will have making holiday decorations. Our home will not be picture perfect but we we be making memories this year!: )
    Thank you!
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..KidsEatFor iPhone App =-.

  9. Kleigh

    I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated your Christmas count down. When your “10 Week” warning posted, I was completely shocked. Thank you so much for being a kind coach.

    I post your blog link as a Favorite site on my blog. It’s valuable.
    .-= Kleigh´s last blog ..Guitar Picks =-.

  10. Sarah (@

    My favorite holiday decoration is a felt Advent calendar made by my mom when she was a teenager. It’s a picture of a tree, with a manger at the base, and over the course of Advent you get to add more and more decorations to the tree, by taking them out of that day’s pocket and pinning it to the tree. The pieces to pin for December 23rd, 24th, and 25th are of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. My five year-old adores having this job!

    Thanks for the reminder to stay simple, Tsh!

  11. smilinggreenmom

    Wonderful post! It brings peace to the heart and helps us all remember what Christmas is really all about 🙂 Beautiful!

  12. The Lazy Dazy

    Enjoying the countdown!

    We have quite a collection of children’s Christmas picture books. This is our favorite decoration. In a prominent spot in each of the “public” spaces in our home, I stack several of the books.

    This year I will place our hot cocoa mugs on a tray next to the books in the family room where the fire place is, to remind us to slow down and cozy up. In the front living room, near the Christmas tree, will be the mug that Hub made as a child, filled with candy canes, as usual.
    .-= The Lazy Dazy´s last blog ..It’s a dog’s life =-.

  13. randel hambrick

    love the photo you posted. i would really like a creative idea for garland over/around the fireplace and even the front door. fresh gets a bit expensive but the fake looks so… fake.
    any sort of homemade garland idea for those areas?
    .-= randel hambrick´s last blog ..…hope to the hopeless… =-.

  14. Meredith from Merchant Ships

    I often let our “finds” determine our decoration. Last year, when we couldn’t agree on fresh or fake, I happened upon a $400 prelit tree at Goodwill.

    That made our decision simple.

    We also found a wonderful thrifted book called Origami For Christmas that made beautiful decorations (and memories of making them).
    .-= Meredith from Merchant Ships´s last blog ..Raised Beds In Retrospect =-.

  15. Tashia @ The Household Planner

    I have a “santa with lots of kids” lava lamp that I got from my mom quite a while ago. It’s not the most beautiful thing, but we all love to turn down the lights and sit and watch it. It’s peaceful and relaxing!
    I use the same decorations every year as some others mentioned, actually I have 2 sets and then I can alternate!
    .-= Tashia @ The Household Planner´s last blog ..5 Free Excel Holiday Budget Worksheets =-.

  16. Greta @ Mom Living Healthy

    I have to agree with some of the other commenters that my favorite decoration is definitely our Christmas tree. We didn’t have one last year because our baby was born just before Thanksgiving and we basically stayed with the in-laws for that whole holiday season. So, I’m REALLY looking forward to the tree this year. Plus, our son is old enough that he will be excited by the lights and decorations. Yikes, he’s also young enough to try and pull things down and put them in his mouth…we’ll have to watch for that!!! Thanks for your holiday posts 🙂
    .-= Greta @ Mom Living Healthy´s last blog ..Fitness Plan Friday =-.

  17. Catherine

    A holiday tradition that my family has invented provides us with together time and decor. I take a “winter walk” with my children in early December and gather pinecones, berries, and whatever strikes our fancy. Then we scatter these natural decorations across the mantle and in bowls around the living room. It’s simple and free.

    • Tsh

      Love this idea!

  18. Amy Dunn

    I can’t wait to decorate this year because last year as I began packing up all the decor, I decided to donate nearly half of it. I kept only the items that meant the most to our family. Since I have two boys in college, we’ll decorate together the day after Thanksgiving while my little girl plunks out Christmas songs on the piano and we all sip hot chocolate. It will all be done in less than two hours. So much simpler than the days of old when I decorated for days, which left me exhausted and crabby.
    .-= Amy Dunn´s last blog ..$1 chicken dinners at Boston Market =-.

  19. Dominique

    I have a handmade christmas wreath made by one of my aunts. I reuse it yearly in our christmas decorations.
    .-= Dominique´s last blog ..Weekend Reflection- Planning Ahead =-.

  20. Paula@Motherhood Out Loud

    I love this series and I LOVE decorating for Christmas. My 4 year old is already talking about what she wants to make to beautify the house, so homemade is definitely top on our list. Definitely not Southern Living, but my girls will love it. Thanks for the reminder to shop thrift stores…I think I hear the Goodwill down the street calling my name!
    .-= Paula@Motherhood Out Loud´s last blog ..Guest Post at Steady Mom =-.

  21. Barbara Tako | Clutter Clearing Choices LLC

    Awesome article. I love the simplicity of the ideas. At our house, we really enjoy using the same decorations year after year. I also like simple big decorations like a tablecloth or wreath rather than small knick-knacky table-top stuff.

  22. Tamara

    Each year my children make a new decoration for the house. They are very simple and not very costly. I hope that as adults I will be able to pass them on as I get them to make two, one for them and one for me.

  23. shelle

    I have decided that every week until Christmas we will visit a thrift store and let everyone choose a decoration. I think it will be a great way to have a uniquely decorated house. Of course I do have the ruling vote on what the kids pick!
    .-= shelle´s last blog ..priorities =-.

  24. Chris

    I’ve found unbelievable amounts of Christmas decor for sale at truly dirt cheap prices by going out to yard sales and garage sales during the hot summer months. Some people all but give the decorations away when the holidays are not really on their mind. One tip though, make sure you test lights or moving figures before purchasing them.
    .-= Chris´s last blog ..Gone with the Wind Plates =-.

  25. khael

    I also do some Christmas shopping way before or after. That includes the decor. Never tried that on yard sales though. Maybe I should.

    I like the suggestions especially on listing decorating ideas! That should prevent impulse buying.

  26. Justine

    I blog quite often and I truly thank you for your
    content. The article has truly peaked my interest.
    I’m going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new details about once a week.
    I subscribed to your Feed as well.

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