Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thinking about Decor

To decorate or not to decorate? That is the question. My house is staged and ready to show. Everything is as perfect as I can make it...excessively clean and orderly. What buyer wouldn't jump at the chance to live here?

Problem is, the staged house is exceedingly difficult to live in and maintain. Exhausting, really. And now that I've got it where I want it, I question the rightness of holiday decorations.

Wait, wait!!!!

I think there's a pin on Pinterest to cover this very issue!!!!!!!!

Sadly, I pinned this because it's an ideal I can never hope to attain. Telling me not to think too much is like telling Daisy not to eat dish towels. Not. Gonna. Happen.

I didn't ask the staging folks about Christmas decorations, and I am scared of messing up their good work in cluttering the place with Christmas paraphernalia.

This situation feels oddly familiar. When we were selling our house in Rapid City, I used a very light touch with Christmas decor. That's when I bought my little 6.5' slim fake tree. Keeping up with needles from a real tree seemed deeply impractical under the circumstances, and our living/dining room already looked small, with low ceilings. That artificial tree was beautiful, though.

Unfortunately, our current house has really high ceilings (9' in the library and dining room, 18' in the family room). If I understand rightly what the staging folks said, a 6.5' tree will look silly. But no way in hades am I cleaning up after a real tree, nor will I spend hundreds of dollars on a bigger artificial tree.

Add to this the fact that unpacking Christmas decorations is a messy business, and time-consuming. As a result, I was feeling very Scrooge-ish when it comes to holiday decorating. Bah, humbug.

My thoughts, however, can't stay off the subject decorating the new house. What will I do with window treatments? How will we decorate the bathrooms? What sort of rugs do we need for the living and dining areas? Where will my great-grandparents' antique bedroom set go...Nick's room or the craft room? What art will I put on the walls?

The new house is a blank slate of possibilities. I can't wait!!

Since I simply must wait until someone buys this house, it's time to get to work decorating for Christmas, no matter how Scrooge-ish I feel about it. Here's my thinking on the subject which all stems from the belief summed up in another pin from Pinterest.

1. This time of year, people will expect Christmas decor. I don't want potential buyers thinking we're a house full of Scrooges.

2. Several things the staging company said seem to apply to Christmas decor as well. First, put interesting stuff in sight-lines to draw people into rooms. Second, highlight the main features of rooms...the mantel in the family room, the island in the kitchen, the bay window in the breakfast room, the reading nook in the master bath. Third, use color to draw the eye. Fourth, don't use accessories that are smaller than basketballs.

3. We can't put a fence around our tree like last year to protect it from Daisy, the Goat-in-Retriever-Fur. A fence would not only look stupid but would draw attention to the fact that we have a dog...not a great selling point. What to do about this problem? Hmmmm. Need to think about this some more but feel certain a gallon of bitter apply may solve this dilemma nicely.

4. This is my favorite time of year because it marks the celebration of the greatest gift ever given. The commercialism and excess rampant at this time of year detracts from the joy for me, but lights, evergreens, ornaments, ribbon, and nativity sets definitely enhance the joy. Since I want and need the joy, some sort of decorating is about to happen.

No matter what the staging company says.


  1. I don't envy your dilema. And if your Christmas decorations are stored like have to drag out all the boxes just to find the few things you may really want.
    I think you should definitely decorate for Christmas, but don't put out EVERYTHING. Do the wreaths on the doors and decorate the main entrance, pine garland up a staircase and maybe just one room...the mantle and a tree. If you put your tree up on a small table or crate it will look much larger, stack large fake presents around it to hide that it's up on a table. I do this every year because I'm too cheap to get a bigger tree, and it really works.

    The dog and the tree is easy to solve...we took a tip from Cesar and tried the pennies in a tin can trick. Shake that can whenever she gets near the tree. Scares my dog stiff. Now he just needs to see the can and he stops in his tracks. It really works. I set the can in front of the tree, and he wouldn't even go after his ball when it rolled behind it. Of course, my dog doesn't have a tail that can clear a coffee table, but it's worth a try.

    Good luck!

  2. Put a real tree in your front yard. No needles to worry about in the house and goat-dog won't have acess to eating it. Looks very festive and nice curb appeal. Looks great at night with the lights on not that buyers come look at the house at night. Lights and bows is all you need.

  3. You should decorate, definitely. It will make you happy to look around and see the decorations, as you said, and that will make the extra work worth it (I'm pretty sure).

    The selling and waiting are hard enough, don't deprive yourself of the beauty of the season.

  4. We sold our house over Christmas. It WAS exhausting keeping it looking perfect, with the kids home from school, and with the real estate agents bringing people through just about every day!

    We didn't put our big tree up, or all of our favourite decorations. We put a few smaller, cleaner decorations up, but went for the minimalist look that year. :-) We decorated with fresh flowers, fruit bowls, etc. The smell of fresh mango was intoxicating!

    I hope your house sells quickly and you can relax into thoughts of decorating your new home very soon!

  5. decorations?
    doesn't take many.
    your favorites.
    and a good smelling candle.

  6. Ditto all the above, especially Lorrinda. We cut back a few years ago simply because I finally decided that less is more in decorating as well as cards! We opted for a smaller tree on a box my husband made to make it look taller in our high ceilinged room. I trim it with birds and pine cones instead of ornaments and tone it down with blue lights. A few poinsettias (live ones) and candles, and a wreath at the front door. That's much easier now!

    I'm sure you'll come up with something CAS ASAP!

  7. I agree with the others. You ought to put out a few Christmas decorations. Have you thought about looking on Craig's list for a tree? Here's a couple links - don't know if they're near you or not:

    I also agree with a candle with a nice fragrance. Or, have you ever heard of Scentsy? I went to a party a couple weeks ago and they have some wonderful wax fragrance that you put in one of their warmers.Decorating a mantle would be easy for YOU - some greens and some brightly colored balls. (And don't go THERE!)

  8. Do you have a friend with a super large tree that would trade you for this one season? I had a friend loan me a tree, lights and ornaments when I was in between being married and single.

    My mom used to put the tree behind the couch that was placed at an angle in front of a corner. No dog or small child access. This way you could put it up on a table and it would be like you meant to do it that way.

    I like a "tree in every room". Even the bathrooms. They are small; but so cheerful. My kids always had their own in their bedrooms. One decorated with girly skating stuff and one with boy scout stuff. They loved having their own trees that they could decorate.

    Isn't it wonderful living in a clean super organized house? Even if it is a lot of work; it's kind of nice for a short time. I know you can't really LIVE that way; but it's a nice fantasy. : )

  9. The staging tips are good, but don't forget that a cluster of small items (like a nativity) become one large focal point.

    I like the idea of borrowing a tree, but if you want to use yours, give it a boost with a sturdy box (a small table or large plastic pot would work too). Secure the tree to the box and the box to the floor, then wrap/drape it with a tablecloth or a couple yards of fabric. It keeps ornaments away from swinging dog tails and gives you plenty of room for gift boxes. Plus, you get the height of a large tree without the footprint of one.


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!