Homier For The Holidays: Thoughtful Decorating Tips

We are creatures of habit, especially around the holidays. So when the decoration boxes come out, the silver bells and candles tend to end up on the mantle, as they were last year; the menorah takes center stage — again; and the tree winds up where it always does.
 
However, if you’ve moved since the last holiday season, your decorations need to find a home in your new home. We’ve collected some holiday decorating ideas to help you feel truly at home, whether you’re in new digs or just looking to up the ante when it comes to holiday cheer.
 
Where Should You Put Your Tree?
Whether you go the fake, live or fresh-cut tree route, place it prominently in your home. The more often you can see your tree, the more you’ll enjoy your holiday handiwork. Some things to consider:
 
·      High traffic areas are best, so long as you don’t block said traffic.
·      Don’t be shy about rearranging furniture to find your tree’s happy place.
·      Avoid locations near heating elements for two reasons: it could create a fire hazard, and it could diminish your furnace’s ability to heat your home, which could lead to higher heating bills.
·      And for those interested in feng shui principles, consider these placement guidelines: south (for fame and reputation), east (for health and family), and southeast (for money and abundance).
 
What Kind Of Lights Are Best?
Incandescent or LED? Colored or white? Mini lights or C-bulbs? Traditional or trendy? So many questions, so little time, so let us sum it up: personal preference drives this bus. Here are some things to consider in case you’re stocking up for the season:
 
·      Experts say that LEDs are the clear winner when it comes to holiday lights. They are more energy efficient, last up to three times longer than incandescent lights, are cooler to the touch, and typically have more bulbs per strand of lights. The initial cost of LEDs is higher than their counterparts, but you’ll make it up over the long haul.
·      While the color-vs.-white-lights debate continues, ultimately what you think is what matters. If you decide to go white and LED, there are many different hues to choose from.
·      Mini lights are trendier; larger bulbs are more traditional.
 
And now, this public safety announcement:
·      Only use outdoor-rated lights and extension cords outside.
·      Never connect more than three strands of incandescent lights together.
·      Only connect the same size/type of bulbs together.
·      Inspect lights and electrical decorations for bare or exposed wires, and loose connections.
·      Pinching cords in windows or doors could create a potential fire hazard.
·      Turn off indoor and outdoor electrical decorations when unattended or while you are sleeping. (Timers rock!)
 
Spice Up Your Holiday Gathering!
If you want to pull off a truly magical holiday gathering (on a budget), there are a few things to consider.
 
·      Set the tone with decorations. You don’t have to spend tons. Decorate certain areas of your home like the front door (don’t forget the mistletoe) and the bar/cocktail area. Specific themes (like ugly sweater, snowflakes or color-specific) can help you stay on track with your purchases (read: budget). Dollar and discount stores are treasure troves this time of year.
·      Keep the music playing. Whether you’re feelin’ Bing Crosby or Ludacrismas, music is one of the fastest ways to set the tone of your shindig. Pandora, Spotify, I Heart Radio and your cable TV provider offer a plethora of inexpensive (or free) options. Be sure to do a sound check before your guests arrive.
·      Have an activity. Deck the sugar cookies, create homemade ornaments or have an ornament exchange. Activities tend to alleviate any social awkwardness that may arise.
·      Have a signature cocktail. Guests will identify it with your rockin’ holiday party, and will look forward to it year after year.
 
What Else Do You Need To Know?
We’re told time and again that having a pet is one of the things that renters-turned-homebuyers most enjoy. So we would be remiss if we didn’t discuss pet safety during the holidays. Pretty please heed these all-important tips:
 
·      Holly and mistletoe can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Keep them out of reach.
·      Many lilies can cause kidney failure in your beloved feline. Consider an alternative if you have a cat.
·      Ingested tinsel can cause gastrointestinal blockage, and may require surgery, especially in cats.
·      Unattended candles and happy dog tails don’t mix. Make sure candles are well above tail level.
·      Exposed wires, batteries and low-hanging ornaments are a no-no for curious pets. Broken bulbs can cause cuts, punctured batteries can cause serious burns, and wires can deliver potentially fatal electric shocks.
·      Foods like onions, garlic, mushrooms, chocolate, raisins, coffee and alcoholic beverages are toxic to pets.
 
How Do We Sum It All Up?
The best way to summarize it is this: Have fun. Be creative. Try new things. Summon your inner holiday party animal. Be festive. And be safe.
 
Next week, we’ll share some ideas on creating new-to-you holiday traditions—something new homeowners especially can appreciate. Be sure to check back in. Thanks!

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