11 Easy Christmas Decorating Tips

Frazzled by how to get your house festive without the use of more f words?  11 easy and inexpensive Christmas decorating tips for a fantastic holiday season.  


I bought this house when I was 28 years old.   I lived at home and worked in Toronto saving all the money I possibly could so I could afford to buy a house.   I looked into living in Toronto for a little while but my first salary as a television host was around $28,000 a year.  By Toronto’s standards that wasn’t even enough to bribe the guy living in the sewer to let me bunk with him.

After looking at countless houses for 9 months I found my home and on December 18th I moved in.

Because I’d been living at home I owned almost nothing.  I didn’t own a plate, or a cup, or a couch. The one thing I did own were Christmas ornaments.  So on December 19th I walked into my new home with 3 boxes of glass ornaments and I put up a Christmas tree.

The load of Christmas decorations I own has grown from 3 boxes to what seems like half a basement.  Every year I go through them and decide which ones I should keep and which ones I can get rid of.  Which is your very first tip by the way.


I still have the same glass ornaments I walked into this house with and I’ll never get rid of them.  I didn’t decorate with them this year but I did 2 years ago and I’m sure I will again in the future. So they stay.  But in the same box I have a bunch of older decorations that I loved at one point but kind of roll my eyes at now.  I used to try to find a place to just stick them but now I realize just because I own them doesn’t mean I have to put them out.  If I don’t like them or don’t have room for them I either don’t put them out or I get rid of them.

In no particular order,

10 Christmas Decorating Tips

 as told by a Christmas addict.

1. To hang a wreath from cupboard doors, install a screw in cup hook or a 3M sticky hook on the inside of the cupboard door.  Wrap fishing line around your wreath then hang it from the cuphook on the inside of the door.  To make it look like it’s hanging from ribbon just wrap ribbon around the wreath and attach it to the cup hook as well.  It’ll look like the wreaths are hanging by the ribbons but they’re actually being supported by the fishing line.

2.  FOR EVERY CHRISTMAS PIECE YOU PUT OUT, TAKE AWAY A REGULAR ACCESSORY. Keep a Rubbermaid bin or cardboard box with you as you decorate, placing all the regular accessories into it.  Then when you take Christmas away you’ll have all your regular stuff together in one spot making it easy to put out again in January.


3. Sometimes all you need to do is add a little Christmas colour. I had these berry sprigs that I bought for a wreath but didn’t like them in it. Which is a good thing because they look a million times better bunched in a vase.

4. ADD SPARKLE.  I like a rustic Christmas more than anything else but even I make sure there’s some glitter going on.  You can get glitter from candle holders, a bowl of glittery pine cones, shaking an exotic dancer around your house,  wine glasses or using sparkly ribbon on top of a burlap table runner.


5.  Keep your Amaryllis or Paperwhite upright by surrounding the plant with twigs.  The twigs stop the leaves and flowers from toppling over when they get too tall.  Also … I get my glitter fix.

6. SCENTED CANDLES or plugins.  If it smells like Christmas it’ll feel like Christmas. I’m still looking for the world’s best scented candle.  I don’t even care how much it costs at this point.  If I could find a candle that smells as strong in the room once lit as it does when I smash my nose into the unlit candle I’d be a happy girl.

update – It turns out the world’s best scented Christmas Candle is Frasier Fir by Thymes.  It is OUTSTANDING.  They also make hand soap, car fresheners and reed oil dispensers all in the delicious Frasier Fir scent.


7. Santa doesn’t have to barf on your room to make it seem festive.  In the case of my bedroom just adding a sheepskin mat to the floor and a cheap Ikea Christmas tree make it cozy and holiday-like.

8. PUT YOUR LIGHTS ON TIMERS. Just do it.  Inside, outside … doesn’t matter.  Do ’em all.


9. Ornaments you already own are the cheapest way to decorate. Put them in bowls, mugs, vases or baskets. In this case, my antique egg basket holds my antique ornaments.

10. DOME IT.  Glass cloches (otherwise known as domes) are available everywhere now.  Big, small, it doesn’t matter.  Slip a glass dome over just about anything and it looks great and makes the thing inside seem as special as 5 legged cat.  Only cuter.

11. The snowy scene on my sofa table is just a platter with white Dollar Store trees and plastic snow sprinkled in.  That’s it.  And everyone loves it when they see it.

My final bonus tip is Pine Cones.  If you can shove, hang, prop or display a pine cone in or on it DO IT.  They’re cheap, festive and available everywhere from stores to the street.  If you’re fancy you can buy the big ones that are covered in gold glitter.

The most important thing to remember when you’re decorating for Christmas is, you really can’t go wrong. It’s pretty forgiving and pretty hard to make a mistake. I mean,  we put entire, full sized, living trees in our rooms and don’t think a thing of it. What other time of year would this seem sane to us?  Then we cover it with flashing lights.

So no.  You really can’t screw up Christmas decorating.  Just have fun, make it cozy and shake that ho, ho, ho around.

→Follow me on Instagram where I’ll be sharing a lot more Christmas stuff.←



  1. Miriam Mc Nally says:

    ok, here are 2 tips scent-wise for you Karen.

    1. Essential oils: using a burner, or just put them on a tissue near a radiator. I use a mix of Clove Bud, Cinnamon, Orange, Lemon, Frankincense, Pine and Fir. Absolutely beautiful. You don’t have to use that many, but try to use at least 3. Put about 7 drops in burner or on tissue. All over my house, my radiators have 1 sheet of kitchen paper folded up and tied to the little side pipe, then I just run round and dot the oil (mix your chosen ones in a bigger bottle to make your life easier!). It really does smell divine, and those oils are good at getting rid of germs too!
    2. If you want good scented candles, try Kenneth Turner Original…oh my word!

    Sorry for (almost blog post length!) long comment!

  2. Gretchen Sexton says:

    Winners: Cheap glitter sprigs from dollar store to hold up flowers; bright berries of color; and the little before/after pic (rug and tree) was so CLEVER. You win! I want to live in your house!

    • Karen says:

      I win, lol??! I didn’t even know I had entered a contest to have you live with me. Well. Lucky me. I guess. Do you wash kitchen floors? ~ karen!

      • Jan in Waterdown says:

        “Wash kitchen floors”?? So that’s your criteria for moving in eh? I’ll alert the media. Oh. Wait a minute. You’ve done a pretty good job yourself just now. LOL.

      • Gretchen says:

        Haha! Holidays are full of surprises! 🙂 I’d wash floors there!

  3. Peggy says:

    How come when I go to the dollar store I only find crap? On the local junior league house tour I saw 3 mason jars filled with Xmas lights, old style. Really looked good. When I see you around town, should I pretend I don’t see you to give you privacy; walk by and mumble the art of doing stuff; or smile and say good blog?

  4. You have a warm and inviting home, Karen. Merry Christmas everyone!

  5. Sakura S. says:

    Really enjoyable post, Karen. I got to the part where you mention putting live trees in the house, and it got me thinking – remembering, really (cue flashback music).

    My first Christmas tree as an adult was a fake one. It was easy to set up, and once the lights and decorations were on it, looked gorgeous. It served us well for almost 20 years, but eventually it lost too many “needles” and started to look sad, so we got rid of it. I took this opportunity to finally be one of those real tree people. For a few years we were so happy, picking out a new tree every year, enjoying that lovely pine tree smell, the novelty of having an actual, biological tree INSIDE (wow). All was well, until the Great Conifer Aphid Infestation of 2013. “Conifer aphids?” you say. “Are those a thing?” Oh, yes. Yes, they are a thing. Our 2013 Christmas tree was full, lovely, and absolutely loaded with these things. We had no idea, since they really weren’t visible on what appeared to be a perfectly healthy tree. They’re harmless and they’re rather stupid, not like those diabolically clever house centipedes. But ew, bugs, you know? Things were fine until the tree started to dry out, and the aphids weren’t getting enough food from it. So, they started crawling off the tree, and, thinking they were in a forest, went off in search of the next one to latch on to. Within a few days, they were all over the living room and dining room. We had to get rid of the tree. Before Christmas. My tree that Christmas was a tripod with some lights draped on it.

    As soon as the holidays were over and the post-holiday sales had begun, we got ourselves a fancy shmancy, pre-lit, fake Frasier fir tree. It sits here right now, in all it’s imitation glory. Beautiful, perfect, no pine tree smell, but no varmints, either. So, even though I love real trees, and inhale deeply every time I pass those sidewalk Christmas trees for sale setups, all I actually see are aphid-infested pine devils from hell. The End.

  6. Heather (mtl) says:

    Oh, what an inspiring post! I have surgery next week which will curb my movements for a month so I hadn’t planned on decorating simply because of the un=decorating part. I agree with you about not putting out everythiung, so I now plan to decorate the mantle and be happy with it.
    Love the part about scented candles! Actually saw them today but had too many choices so I’ll return and may get the ‘winter’ fragrance. I also love filling my lampe berger with lavender, too. Such a calming, yet open fragrance.
    Christmas baking on w/e – then it feels like the holidays! Gingerbread baby cakes make the best gifts not to mention the most wonderful aroma!
    Merry Christmas and the happiest of holidays to all!

    • Karen says:

      Surgery! Is it something fun like a boob lift or something awful like having something removed? I LOVE lavender. I spray my sheets with linen spray every night before bed. Good luck with your surgery and DO the mantle. If you’re stuck at home unable to move don’t you want to be looking at something pretty and relaxing? 🙂 ~ karen!

  7. Deb says:

    Happy Merry and Bright days to you! Ran across you on Pinterest; my new inspiration anticipation. Love your sense of humor!

  8. Mary duffy says:

    For the best smelling holiday candles IMO, try Nest–$38 –they smell amazing even when they’re not lit. they make two holiday candles; one that smells like evergreens and one that smells like cloves, oranges and I can’t remember what else. One year I splurged and bought the one from Diptique that’s supposed to smell like a wood fire–it sure does, like a fireplace the day after a fire. Not great.

  9. Julie says:

    I was thinking about doing number 2 before you suggested it! (that sounds rude now that I re-read that) I’m going to start my cleaning now…thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Cussot says:

    Shoot, I should read your posts in order. I just commented on another one about the branches around the paperwhites and I may have even used the word “glittery.” It’s such a brilliant idea, I’m commenting again!

  11. Marika says:

    I swear by Voluspa and True Grace candles. They really fill the house with fragrance, they really really do. Really.

  12. Robin says:

    Love the idea for holding up the Amaryllis!

  13. Mizz J. says:

    I kid you not, the smell of Christmas is Thymes Frasier Fir, candles, oil, whatever. Just buy it. If Iam right, you can send me some Christmas cookies. If I am wrong. I’ll send you some of mine.

    • Karen says:

      You’re too late for any kind of bet! I ended up finding some Thymes Frasier Fir last year. 😉 Room Spray. This year I’ve searched out Room Spray, a car freshener, a candle and a wax burner, lol! Love it! ~ karen

  14. Randi Jean Veiberg says:

    I love this blog! But, I need help.
    I wanted to try a new way to display Christmas Cards this year and asked the hubs to go outside and get that branch he put near the trash bins.
    My borrowed-pinterest-etsy-relatives idea was to hang it on the wall above the loveseat in the family room, decorate it with greenery and lights, and hang the cards and my favorite ornaments from it.
    The branch is an easy 13 feet long – is that toooooo long to hang over a 5 foot long loveseat?

  15. Helen says:

    I think I just had a mini “Karen” moment a couple of days ago, when I suddenly felt like making a cake after watching the British Baking Show, but was not able to find the cake pans I had put somewhere safe. After a mad search through two kitchen cupboards and the hall closet, I pulled out all the contents of the corner cupboard (where you put stuff you never usually need), and then decided to paint the inside as it then looked really grungy. Four cupboard doors came off, and the kitchen, and hallway looked like a bomb had exploded! As I was prepping for painting, I suddenly stood up and said to myself – “I’m doing a Karen” ! I still haven’t made the cake, or found the tins, but I do have lovely clean shelves, and white kitchen cupboard doors! Thanks a lot!!

    • Karen says:

      Often times people say they do things like me and I think … that’s not like me at all. But this? THIS is just like me, lol. ~ karen!

  16. Marilyn Meagher says:

    I will be checking out our local store for one of those candles. Everything looks beautiful karen. Simple is always better in my mind.

  17. Barbara Kemp says:


    I just decorated for Christmas since my next two weeks will be busy. How I love the simple and inexpensive and clearly you have demonstrated this. This year raffia became my friend. Who knew what you could do with raffia, very old imitation greenery and red berries.

  18. Sabina says:

    I subscribe to not having to decorate with everything you own for that particular holiday too. Unfortunately my bf does not. He’s a very sentimental fool, one of the things I both love dearly and loathe about him at the same time. His grandmother was a crafty crafter and there are lots of those plastic cross stitched yarn scenes and decorative dust and hair collectors for every holiday…and “mug rugs” (so gross). I can’t wait for the day he decides it’s time to start passing this stuff down to his kids…

    …thankfully I have my own home…

  19. Susan T Blake says:

    I agree about the Thymes Frasier Fir candles. Another good one is Wild Currant from Mixture. These are the only two scented candles that don’t make my nose run. (Other than these I stick with pure beeswax, which smells wonderful.)

  20. K Wadsworth says:

    “Santa doesn’t have to barf on your room to make it seem festive. ”

    HAIL COMRADE. This approach is also good if you are a multi-faith household (my roommate is Jewish); I sort of lean towards a rustic/cabin vibe anyway.

    (Speaking of which – I have a round metal tray I found in the street that I’m thinking of gussying up somehow, for the purpose of decor, but….any ideas WHAT to paint on it?)

    • Karen says:

      Hmm. Depending on what’s on it I don’t think you have to paint it at all. Just put things on/in it, like greenery, candlesticks with white candles and maybe pinecones or Christmas balls. Of course, this is based on not having seen this mystery tray, lol ~ karen!

  21. Avril says:

    Partylite candles have many wonderful scents for all seasons. Tealights, votives, wax melts, reed diffusers , and lots of nice holders too. The only drawback is trying to imagine what they smell like from the description if you’re ordering on-line, but I have had pretty good success with it. You could also host a party or go to one and smell first hand!

  22. Benjamin says:

    I had to shake my ho ho ho around until he coughed up new opal glitter nail polish and my favorite smokey guy liner… he’ll be lucky to make it past thanksgiving if I catch him one more time wearing my gold lame thong and kitten heels down to the mailbox. The neighbors are talking and homeowners association rules are not forgiving for trash on the front porch (if you know what I mean)… LOL Thank you, bish, Next!!

  23. Edie Marie says:

    Love the simple touches! But the “add a tree & a rug” thingy that flashes back & forth is awesome!! You always amaze me Karen! Love it.

    Blessings Edie Marie

    • Karen says:

      The thingy is called a GIF. 🙂 Basically just one photo layered on top of another in a slide show sort of thing. So yeah, a thingy, lol. ~ karen!

  24. Rachel Jennings says:

    Our Own Candle Company https://www.ourowncandlecompany.com/online-store/Masons-c13392253 make the most delicious smelling candles. Plus, after you burn the candle, you can (at least I do) use the mason jar cup for a drinking glass. They make my whole kitchen smell & make scents that would be appropriate for Christmas. My favorite is a layered candle with Banana Nut Bread, Coconut and Hazelnut. It’s called Smell My Nuts. Since I apparently have the humor of a teenage boy, I grin every time I read the label.

  25. Spicequeen says:

    Love your site you’re just too funny 😉 Please tell me how you hung your rolling pins on the wll like that?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Spicequeen! I screwed teen, tiny, brass cuphooks into the top of each rolling pin so they could hang on my hooks (which are actually antique French curtain tie backs that I had NO idea what to do with until I figured this little DIY out.) 🙂 ~ karen!

  26. Hannah says:

    The best smelling candle in the world is buttered maple syrup scent. I discovered it yesterday in this adorable boutique and I forgot why I was in that store because it smelled so insanely good in there.

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