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How to pick holiday decorations

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    Nothing brightens up your home quite like holiday décor. Once you move into a place of your own, you finally get the chance to decorate for the holidays in any way you want. Whether it means putting a menorah in the window, putting up a Christmas tree or simply switching out your hand towels for each holiday, holiday decorations are another way to make your place feel like home.

    Holiday decorating ideas: the basics

    If this is your first time decorating for the holidays, you may not know where to start — and that's OK! The key is to take things one step at a time. Here's a checklist of the top things to consider:

    • How much space do you have for decorations?
    • What color scheme and theme works for your space?
    • What centerpiece makes sense in your space?
    • What are your storage options for these decorations later?
    • What kind of budget do you have in mind? 

    The first thing you should do is take inventory of the space you have. Walk around your home with a notebook and jot down places where you could switch up the décor without too much trouble. This may include things like switching out your decorative pillows for different holidays, changing the knickknacks on your shelves or replacing your table runner with different festive options.

    You may also want to decide on a color scheme and theme. It may sound like a no-brainer for holiday decorations, but you'd be surprised how many different directions décor can take for the same holiday. Do you want your Halloween decorations to be sweet and nostalgic or spooky and scary? Are you going for cute Thanksgiving turkeys sitting on your shelves, or do you prefer a more sophisticated array of gourds?

    When thinking about decorating your space you may also want to choose what your centerpiece will be. For a holiday like Christmas, a Christmas tree is the obvious choice. You can then choose décor items that will complement your garland and ornaments. Building out from a centerpiece can help keep your space cohesive, as well as provide some direction if you're still feeling a bit lost.

    One thing to keep in mind when you shop for holiday decorations is that you will have to find a place to store it when it's not in use, so don't purchase more than you have room for.

    And as you likely learned when you first moved into your home, decorations can be expensive. With this in mind, it's important to create a budget before doing any shopping. Figure out how much you want to spend on holiday decorations and then prioritize your list based on what you can realistically afford. 

    Holiday decorating ideas for small spaces

    If you live in a small apartment there are still plenty of ways to decorate for the holidays. When it comes to smaller spaces, you may need to be a bit more creative when it comes to finding where to put your decorations. For instance, you may not have a staircase to wrap in garland, but you can certainly drape garland around your doorways to make every entrance to a new room feel festive.

    You may also find you need to size down in some decorations. If you celebrate Christmas, consider a mid-size or miniature Christmas tree to take up less space. Another way to maximize space is to think vertically. Consider where you can hang holiday decorations to increase festivity without decreasing space.

    When picking a color scheme for a smaller space, you may want to consider leaning toward a lighter, brighter color palette. Dark colors can tend to make small spaces feel smaller, while light colors can make them feel more spacious. 

    Where to buy holiday decorations

    As for where to buy holiday decorations, there are quite a few options.

    • Shop in-store. If you're looking for the most robust selection, you may want to wait until the stores near you first stock their décor. This usually starts a couple months before the actual holiday. You may want to start shopping as soon as you notice the holiday décor on the shelves, as stock will dwindle the longer you wait.
    • Plan ahead. If you're looking for a good deal and don't mind planning ahead, you may want to buy holiday decorations at the end of that holiday season. While every store is different, many offer deep discounts on their holiday goods just before and right after a holiday to clear their inventory for the next one.
    • Try secondhand décor. If you don't have a lot of extra cash to spend on holiday décor, you may want to reach out to some family members and ask if you can raid their basements and storage closets. There's a good chance your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have accumulated more décor than they need over the decades. As a bonus, you may even come across some really cool vintage finds. 

    When to decorate for each holiday

    When to decorate for each holiday is a personal preference. Everyone will have a different opinion. For something like Christmas, traditional advice may tell you to put your tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving and take it down after New Year's Day. For Valentine's Day, you may want to decorate at the beginning of the month and leave it up until the end. 

    However, there are no hard-and-fast rules. The reason for decorating for holidays is because it makes you happy and gives your space a bit of a refresh. When you're ready for holiday cheer or you're in the mood for skeletons and mummies is when you should decorate for each holiday. And if you want to keep your spooky theme year-round, so be it! 

    What's more

    Holiday decorations are a fun part of living on your own. With some budgeting and planning ahead of time, you can make your home your friends' and family's favorite place to hang out at every holiday. 

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