Check Yourself Before You Deck Yourself: Stress Free Holiday Decorating Tips

Are you ready to deck the halls? I’m not. For me, this means heading to the storage closet and playing Russian roulette with the 10 boxes I’ve yet to unpack from my move 6 months ago. Is the Christmas tree in THIS “Holiday stuff” box? Or did I put the Christmas stuff in the OTHER “Decorations” box?

I swore last year would be the year I’d reorganize everything into clear bins, and properly mark everything so that this year would be easier. But then I told myself, “No, you’ll remember that Halloween decorations are in the “Decorations” box, and the Christmas ornaments are in the “Holiday stuff” box. And that garbage bag over there isn’t trash, it’s the wreath for the front door—you know, because I didn’t want it to get smooshed in a box.


This year, I’m actually getting it together. Maybe you’re in the same boat? If so, let me share some tips that helped me get my holiday decorating game in check:

  1. Declutter all the things. The holidays can be a minimalist’s worst nightmare, and if that’s you, don’t try to take on all the decluttering and purging alone. Get the rest of the family involved in donating and trashing so it gets done before NEXT Christmas. Separate things into categories for quick decision-making; try Donate, Keep, or Trash.
  2. Clean all the things. My mom insisted on cleaning what seemed like the entire house before we could start decorating for the holidays. To knock it out in an instant, we all divvied up the chores to get them done quickly, so the fun decorating party could begin. Someone can dust, while another vacuums, and boom. Everything is clean.
  3. Reorganize before it’s time to repack. Whatever you didn’t donate or trash will have to find its place somewhere after the holidays are over. Will you (like me) need a wreath storage box? Or dividers for all the tree ornaments? Take advantage of holiday sales to buy clear plastic bins, baskets, and other organization essentials. That way, everything has a perfect, little home and you won’t be playing Russian roulette with the boxes next year.
  4. Reduce stress levels one drop at a time. The stress of the holidays rarely leaves any stone unturned, and military families are no exception. Between the holiday leave request getting denied, or the last minute holiday party at your kids’ school, this time of year is a hotbed for emotional fireworks. To ease some of the stress, I put a few drops of an essential oil called Winter Dream into my Venta Airwasher (love!) and my house starts to fill with cinnamon and citrus—a perfect way to calm my nerves and reinvigorate the air in my home.

As a military family, moving boxes become decorations in their own right—a coffee table here, and bookshelf there. And if it doesn’t work with your new house after a PCS move, just shove them into storage…holiday decorations included. This year, try a few of these tips to reduce the stress of decorating and disorganization and savor the season.

What’s your go-to tip for stress-free holiday decorating?

shannonPosted by Shannon Prentice, Content Development Manager


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  1. 1

    I can’t recommend the Container Store enough for this. The Store-It-All totes are super sturdy and stack which makes storage and PCSing super easy. Ours have made it through three PCSes so far without getting crushed. Definitely worth it. Our wreath box never makes it though. 🙁

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