Christmas Essentials

Christmas Essentials

Gary St. JohnLifestyle & Entertaining

The Christmas season is here. And with shopping and meals and parties and everything else you have to do, do you really have the time or the energy to decorate? Probably not. Most of us want to create a festive holiday atmosphere in our homes like the one we remember (or imagine) from our childhoods or see on TV and in magazines. The truth is, though, that there’s only so much time in a day. That doesn’t mean you can’t decorate for the holidays—it just means being strategic. Go the simple route and stick to holiday decor essentials to create a cheerful and festive atmosphere in your home. Here are some ideas to get you started.


No holiday home is complete with out a tree! Even if you don’t do any other decorating during the Christmas season, a tree is one of the must-have holiday decor essentials. The Christmas tree tradition dates back to the ancient pagans and their solstice celebrations. Today most homes feature this staple of the holiday season. When decorating your tree, consider a theme like vintage toys or geometric shapes or choose a color scheme like blue and white.


What is Christmas without stockings? A current holiday trend is making stockings from burlap to give your holiday decor a rustic feel. Burlap is a nice neutral background for decorating with ribbons, buttons, candy canes, or any other colorful material. If burlap isn’t your thing, you can go the more traditional route with felt or velvet stockings. You might even consider vintage-looking long knit socks. Put a few small gifts in them to bulk them up and keep things interesting or let them hang loose until Christmas Eve.


You may not think of food as one of the holiday decor essentials, but think again. You can keep enticing treats on festive trays and hot drinks in mugs as part of your table setting. Add a simple table runner and some ornaments and set out your holiday place settings. You can use food to enhance the visual appeal of your festive holiday decor. Offer your guests colorful refreshments and attractive treats like gingerbread men and iced cupcakes. Consider adding a bowl of fresh fruit like shiny apples, colorful pears, and bright, fragrant oranges.


Gifts are another thing that you may not immediately think of as part of your holiday decor essentials. If, however, you have them under the tree or arranged on a table, they add to the decorative effect of the room. Rather than wrapping your gifts willy-nilly with any kind of holiday paper you find in the store, choose a theme for wrapping presents that’s in keeping with the theme you chose for decorating the tree. For example, if you picked a rustic theme for your tree, you might wrap your gifts with brown paper and string, perhaps adding a small candy cane for color. If your gifts are in plain view, they will enhance the visual appeal of your holiday decor.

Natural Elements

Natural elements such as evergreen wreaths or garlands add a beautiful, fragrant touch to any holiday decor. You might also consider traditional holiday potted plants like poinsettias and paper whites. Add citrus fruits like oranges or sugared fruit like grapes or pears for a whimsical and colorful touch.


There are so many ways that lights can contribute to your holiday decor. Tapered candles and votives will make your home feel warmer. Strings of lights will make your house glitter like it’s filled with stars. Consider replacing existing lampshades with holiday-themed ones.


Ornaments are among the most diverse holiday decor essentials because there are endless possibilities. From ornaments in traditional and simple ball shapes to those that look toys or cars that represent sports teams or those that commemorate special events like anniversaries or first Christmases, ornaments are one of your must-have holiday decor essentials. 

The holiday season can be busy and stressful, but if you pick a few of these holiday decor essentials, your decorating doesn’t have to be.

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