5 Tips for Holiday Decorating
From my deathbed

Anyone who’s nearly ripped a fingernail off trying to remove a sparkle embedded in their face, raise their hand!  I currently have so many sparkles running in the part of my hair I’ve decided to just tell people it’s a holiday barrette.

You weren’t going to get a post today because I nearly died this weekend.    Death by sparkle.

You see, I’ve been decorating for Christmas for the past 2 days and I’ve inhaled so many sparkles I’m about one festive ornament shy of needing an iron lung.



This is about half of my Christmas crap.  I normally don’t do my Christmas decorations until December 1st, but my boyfriend went away for the weekend, so I rented Sex and the City Part Poo, lugged the stuff up from the basement and got to it.  I didn’t even stop to eat anything other than potato chips.  And sparkles.

It took 8 hours to do the outside of the house and a day and a half to do the inside.  All that I have left is a multitude of planters and window boxes.

So instead of not doing a post,  I thought I’d put together a quick tip list.  From me to you, complete with sparkles.


#1 If your outdoor planters are too frozen to insert your greenery, pour boiling water on them to thaw the dirt.


Conversely, if your planters are dry and your greenery and branches won’t stay put, pour water in the dirt and once it freezes it’ll hold everything in place.


#2.  For every decoration you put out in your house, take something away.


That’s the biggest mistake people make when they decorate for the holidays.  They try to smash all of their Christmas accessories into a house that’s already filled with accessories.  If you decided to take up with a different husband would you let your original husband stick around the house?  I think not.  You’d put him in the basement until a month or so had passed and you were sick of husband number two.  Then you’d drag husband number one out of the basement, dust him off and put him back on display.

Buffet pre-Christmas



Buffet Post-Christmas



#3.  If you can’t afford a lot of decorations, decorate with balls.


Silver balls, gold balls, red balls.  And for all the 15 year old boys out there reading this …yes.  Blue ones too.  Put em in bowls, vases, scatter them in bookshelves.  Make a ginormous Wilma Flintstone necklace out of ’em for your Christmas Eve party.  Just use em.  They’re cheap and they always look good.



#4.  Pine Cones.   Buy em.


You can pick them up off the ground too, but pine cones are nature’s condos so you may have a few additional creepy crawly guests for the holidays.    You know, in addition to Uncle Shifty.   Tie a satin ribbon around the end of the pinecones  and hang them off of doorknobs.   Spray paint them gold.  Spray paint them white.  Spray paint them with sparkles.   Place them on a glass block or pretty plate and even 3 lonely pinecones look beautiful.



#5.  If you like how your decorations look this year, take a picture of them for next year.


That way you won’t have to spend a day and a half trying to figure out how to do it the same again.  You won’t have to spend a day and a half wandering around from room to room wondering where in God’s name you put the weird looking sparkly fawn made out of straw and sticks.

Now if you’ll excuse me, as in many emergency situations, I have some water to boil.


  1. cyn says:

    Ok you should have choked at that toddlers bedroom…
    AND your neice. how can she do that? I guess I am too much of a slob.. and my baby(a boy) is 18 y/o also.. my baby girl is 23 y/o. not living at home. also a 21 yearold guy at home. not much girly here.. I love pink. Hubby doesn’t mind, I need to be a chucker to say the least. I just closed my bussiness and I am in a mess up to my ears. so… Maybe next Christmas Photos here would be much easier. no food fights they are past that. The dog is only 9 lbs. 3 cats though. I want beauty, lovely and elegant. one picture turns me in to a puddle of I want-a’s… OK several pictures…

  2. Lu says:

    Ah yes, Sex and the City Part Poo. Watched it, regretted it. Love your tips. I also love the idea of calling the sparkles in your hair a barrette. I may steal that. Er, purloin that.

  3. Alexandra Dare says:

    I like your sparkly gold balls :D Also, “Sparkly Balls” would be a terrific title for Adam Lambert’s next album.

    I like the idea of pine cones, but I was always concerned about the buggies that probably take up shop there. I never thought about painting them though… I wonder if painting them would kill most of the pine cone dwellers?

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Alexandra! How’s the vegetable eating going? What about raw red peppers? Anyhow … If you find pinecones just give them a whack (gently) against the ground to see if it has bugs. If you’re really creeped out you can just throw them in a plastic bag and spray inside it with bug spray. Tie the bag up and leave it overnight. ~ karen

      • Alexandra Dare says:

        I am actually thrilled to announce to you that I am judiciously drinking cucumber water nowadays… Unfortunately, carrots still freak me out, but I’m wondering if red peppers on a pizza would be a good way to ease me into pepper-eating. It just so happens to be the way I started eating mushrooms not too long ago…

        Anyhow, thanks for the tip about the pinecones! I am currently living with an artsy, messy, right-brained roommate (and my biz partner), so I feel very much lately like decorating and painting things o_o And CLEANING, zomg.

  4. Jenny says:

    The reindeer on the acrylic block is awesome! Love it. Love it all!

  5. Brenda Massey says:

    I hope we get to see more pictures of your holiday decorating. Great ideas!

  6. Lisa says:

    Love tip #2 -you even got a laugh out of my husband (#1)! I have made your site my home page. It is a great way to start my day off. Keep the design tips coming.

  7. Janelle says:

    Thanks for your glittery sacrifices to bring us these hilarious tidbits of wisdom – #2 is awesome and will change my life.

    There’s no getting rid of glitter. I saw a stand-up comic once who referred to glitter as “the herpes of craft supplies”.

  8. Dawne says:

    This was very helpful…I always feel a little lost decorating for Christams…actually I feel a little lost decorating…so any hints are helpful. And I couldn’t agree with you more about SITC part poo!

  9. Cat says:

    Great tips – especially numero dos! I’m feeling inspired to decorate tonight!

    (and good call on “sex and the city part poo”)

  10. Paula says:

    Karen, as usual I laughed and laughed at this post. My husband, unbeknownst to him, was a victim of sparkles. He must have picked them up off the table after one of my crafty moments. Anyway I thought, why ruin anyone else’s chance at a good laugh? So off to work he went – as a police officer – ha!! It gives new meaning to ‘decorated officer’.

  11. Todd@PhitZone says:

    Thank you for braving your near-death experience to bring us those awesome pics. I’m inspired, but still not going to start decorating yet. We actually don’t put our tree up until Christmas eve–it’s a tradition thing.

    • Karen says:

      !!! Todd!!! I’ve always wondered about people like you. A Christmas Eve tree! It seems very storybook! Very It’s a Wonderful Life. ~ karen

  12. leesa says:

    great tips! i decorated my house yesterday too! loved the sex and the city rename! it did stink!

  13. Jamieson says:

    PS: you can zap the pine cones in the microwave to evict their tenants. Long enough to irradiate but not long enough to combust. 15 seconds maybe?

    • Karen says:

      ACK! ACK ACK!

    • Erin Hall says:

      You can also kill off any tenants by putting them in the oven at like 200 degrees (on a cookie sheet lined with foil). also if you cant find open pinecones, you can place closed sappy ones in the oven at this temperature for 30min ish and they will open up. Its a… fragrent process that boarders on nice and piney and kinda burny. An open window is reccomended. just be sure to keep an eye on them.
      This way you can get them free AND bug free.

  14. Jamieson says:

    Somehow I often have at least 1 speck of glitter somewhere on me, year-round. I’ve learned not to let it bother me and just let it ride. Whenever someone points it out with the common-sense intention that I remove it, I just tell them it’s how we gays sweat. True story, start to finish!
    (Except for the part about how gays sweat. Obviously we sweat mother-of-pearl after Labour Day.)

  15. den says:

    ah, i would show tip #2 to the lady of the house, if i dared. EVERY nook and cranny.

  16. Mary says:

    Oh…How beautiful it all looks.

    I want to live in your house. You must stay to decorate and make me laugh every day. Wait..you already do that with the blog. I’ll stay here….

    Your suggestion of the boiling water won’t work for me as the ground here in foot hills of North Carolina doesn’t freeze solid. Maybe I’ll just tape the stuff to my windows. That oughta’ work.

  17. Rose in Ohio says:

    Thanks for the funniest post I’ve read in days. You illustrated tip #2 so clearly that I’m sure I shall never forget it now. And we should all take your advice from tip #5 so we don’t have to re-invent the wheel every Christmas.

    Going upstairs to laugh myself to sleep now!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Rose! When I re-read the post before I posted it I thought to myself “Well … they can’t all be homeruns”. ~ karen

  18. Laura says:

    geez… now I feel inspired to decorate early, too. Yours looks great so far. I love that big fawn.

    • Karen says:

      I only decorated a few days early, but it felt a bit weird. Luckily it was snowing out when I was doing the inside so it felt “Christmasy”. Plus the carols helped. And the sparkles of course. ~ karen

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