Chronic procrastinators and busy people of all types know the pain of realizing that we’re halfway through December and you still haven’t decorated for Christmas. Christmas decorations have the power to make your home warmer and more inviting, and can bring a smile to your face even if you don’t typically enjoy the holidays. And if you have kids, it’s even more important to keep those traditions alive.
That said, if you’re juggling a dozen other priorities or you don’t have many Christmas decorations on hand, you may feel like it’s impossible to get your decorating done. So how exactly are you supposed to decorate for Christmas last minute?
Set Your Priorities
First, it’s important to set your priorities. You don’t have a lot of time to work with, which means you might not be able to accomplish everything you want. You’ll want to spend that time working on the things that matter most to you.
- Rooms and areas of the house. You may not have time to decorate the full house, but don’t worry—you don’t have to. Chances are, there are a few areas of your home that will be more important to decorate than others. For example, if you have a fireplace, you’ll definitely want to decorate it with stockings, candles, wreaths, and other holiday favorites. The front door (or your main entrance) strongly benefits from décor. And of course, you’ll want to focus heavily on your living room, or wherever your family typically gathers.
- Items of significance. Next, you’ll want to include any items that are particularly significant to you or the holiday in general. For example, most families that celebrate Christmas prioritize putting up a Christmas tree, whether it’s real or artificial. If this is the case for you, the tree should be one of your highest priorities. You may also have personally significant items, like stockings, statues, or other displays that you put out each year.
- Your timeline. How much time do you have to work with? How many days until Christmas, or until you have people over? How much do you want to have done by that time?
After setting your priorities, it’s time to take inventory. What kinds of Christmas decorations do you already have? Which ones are your biggest priorities? Do you have enough to fill the space you’re hoping to fill? Are you missing anything?
If you have a lot of decorations, your biggest problem will likely be determining which ones are most important. Try to organize them into hierarchies of significance, keeping your most important items nearby so you can utilize them first.
If You Can’t Buy, Make
Two things could stop you from buying Christmas decorations: your time and your money. You may not have the budget to buy new Christmas decorations, or you may not have extra time to shop around for the perfect items. If this is the case, you can make a handful of Christmas decorations on short notice:
- Pinecones and other natural elements. Collect pinecones, branches, and other natural elements from outside. Even something simple, like throwing pinecones in a bowl, can serve as an interesting Christmas-themed centerpiece. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can make your own wreaths.
- Paper snowflakes and stars. Making paper snowflakes is ridiculously easy, even if you’re aiming for a complex design, and you can make them out of spare paper you have lying around the house. You can also make paper stars, which are even prettier if you use different colors of paper to make them.
- Alternative-use items. Look for items around the house that could be repurposed as Christmas decorations. For example, you can hang cookie cutters as ornaments.
Manage Your Time Wisely
Finally, manage your time wisely, since you won’t have much to work with:
- Enlist help and delegate. If you live with others, don’t try to do everything yourself. Delegate tasks and ask for help.
- Do a little each day. Instead of setting a day to do everything at once, commit to doing just 10 minutes of effort each day. You can make a big impact this way.
- Break big tasks into smaller tasks. Don’t try to decorate the whole house at once; focus on one room at a time.
- Make use of breaks and downtime. Running out of time? Consider using natural breaks to decorate a little; for example, if you work from home, you can put up a few decorations on your lunch break.
Decorating for Christmas last minute may not be as stress-free or as complete as decorating for Christmas in late November, but you can still end up with an amazing finished product. Make it a priority to get at least a few decorations up and smile upon your results.