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Is it too soon to start decorating for the holidays? The snow on our doorstep doesn't think so! In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving in early October, so Christmas decor's fair game once the pumpkins are off the porch.
I love decorating for the holidays as much as the next girl (okay, maybe more...), but a decked out home can feel cluttered and chaotic.
Christmas can be the worst time of year to be a minimalist (or even just someone who likes a tidy home). Like booze, superfluous baubles and consumerism abound. It's nearly impossible to avoid.
Striking a balance between partaking in festive traditions and maintaining a relaxing, clutter-free home poses a challenge of the First World variety.
Admittedly, until this year, I've given into the chaos each Christmas. We'd usually get a big, bushy 9-foot tree that was way too big for our tiny living room and adorn it with every ornament in our possession; we’d dust off every tacky-but-memory-filled tchotchke from our childhood Christmases and our place would look like a John Hughes Christmas movie exploded (it's not even December and we've already re-watched Home Alone 1 and 2 with our son).
This year, I'm determined to reign things in a little, neatntiny style. That being said, I don't want to 'Grinch' Christmas from my four-year-old!
This holiday set up is #Christmasdecorgoals. Image via: francois_et_moi.
Ahead of decorating our own house this year, I've been on the lookout for minimalist-friendly, yet festive, holiday decor inspiration. Below I'm sharing my best tips on how to avoid Christmas decor clutter.
1. Keep It Simple
Using simple items from nature, like pine cones, twigs and branches, adds a festive, yet calm, feel. I love the look of greenery, completely unadorned by ornaments or bows.
Image via: House & Home.
Image via: Free People.
Image via: The House that Lars Built.
Image via: urhomedesigns.
Image via: Style at Home.
Image via: the Merry Thought.
2. Start Slow
There's no rule that all of your holiday decor has to come out at once. Pace yourself!
Given that many of us start decorating in November and don’t put it away until January, Christmas decor can be on display for ten percent of the year.
Bringing out decor piecemeal helps prevent Christmas burn out before the holidays have even begun. Same goes for Christmas music---if you're already listening to nothing but Christmas music, believe me: your ears will bleed at the sound of Mariah's 'All I Want For Christmas' before December hits!
This approach also allows you to be more intentional in your decor; you can sit back and take stock of what's already out before piling more on top. This will make it easier to identify when your halls are sufficiently decked.
Consider starting with plain wreaths and garlands, weeks before you put up the tree. Or, adorn the tree only with simple string lights at first, allowing you to appreciate the ambiance and fragrance. Slow living at it's best.
You can add the ornaments closer to Christmas.
Geometric Ornaments - set of 8 ($23.99, Amazon.com).
3. Switch Out Pre-Existing Decor for Seasonal Pieces
Image via: Explicit Design (Etsy). Love this Home Alone 2 homage! I may just steal this print idea for our gallery wall!
If you've read my post on minimalist Halloween decor, you'll know I'm a fan of the seasonal switch out!
Instead of just adding to your current decor, consider replacing existing pieces with seasonal ones; for each piece of seasonal decor used, put away a piece of pre-existing decor. This will help prevent your home from looking too cluttered, while making room for festive pieces.
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Image via: Explicit Design (Etsy).
Cardboard Deer Head ($29.95, Amazon.com).
Image via: Traumzuhause.
Candles are one of the few things you can have in abundance without your home look cluttered (plants are another!). My favourite candles are from Brooklyn Candle Studio's Minimalist Collection. My favourite holiday candle scents are 'fireplace' and 'Christmas tree.' Seasonal fragrances are a great way to add ambiance without the clutter.
Christmas Tree Scented Candle ($24, Brooklyn Candle Studio).
5. White lights
When it comes to festiveness and nostalgia factor, multi-coloured Christmas lights can't be beat. But, this year, we're going to go for a simpler, more classic look and opt for white lights.
Just like monochromatic colour schemes, sticking to white helps keep things looking clean and uncluttered.
Image via: Becki Owens.
Image via Homey Oh My.
Image via Shop Terrain. I love the look of these dainty LED lights. This year I stocked up on these types of lights from Amazon.
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100 LED Warm White Lights ($9.99, Amazon.com). These are the lights I'm using this year. They arrived on my doorstep earlier this week!
6. Use Presents As Decor
Image via: Style at Home.
Why limit presents to just under the tree? Depending on how generous you are, they may not all fit neatly under there. In which case, why not distribute small groupings of wrapped gifts throughout your home? (As long as you keep track of where they are!) A basket full of gifts or a small stack of two or three small gift boxes would add a nice sprinkling of holiday cheer to what might be an otherwise neglected corner.
Spreading the cheer to areas other than the base of your tree will also prevent that area from looking too congested.
Image via The Red Thread Blog.
Image via House and Home.
7. Plan Ahead: Decor Storage
I know no one wants to think about holiday clean-up before the holidays have begun. But, there's no better time to get ahead of post-Christmas clutter. If you don't already have a good system for ornament and wrapping paper storage, there's no better time than the present (get it?!).
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Ornament Storage Zip Chest With 112 Compartments ($18.33, Amazon.com). We use something similar to this for our ornaments.