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30 Holiday Decor Dos and Don'ts

Do: Use Clever Puns

Everyone loves puns when you’re decorating this Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. In fact, some people think puns are the highest form of comedy. Avoid anything that’s risqué and aim for wordplay that’s cute, quirky, and funny.

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Don’t: Make Your Neighbors Call 911

If your decorations look a little too realistic, your neighbors may panic. Realistic décor of people getting run over or something just as horrible isn’t something that children need to see, either. That type of dark behavior is best left in the storage bin.

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Do: Paint Pumpkins Instead of Carving

Carving is enjoyable but painting one can be just as fun without using the sharp little tools. You can also use a wide array of paints from metallics. There are several Pinterest DIYs that show you how to paint a stunning pumpkin with any color you can think of. We suggest buying a white pumpkin for this activity.

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Don’t: Ignore Your Gourds

Pumpkins and other gourds are beautiful decorations for the holiday but don’t forget about them. Make sure your gourd isn’t beginning to rot. Once it reaches that stage, you’ll want to get rid of it or replace it immediately. Don’t forget to bring you gourd in when it drops below 50 degrees.

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Do: Show Off Vintage Decor

If you have vintage Christmas decorations from your grandmother or the local antique shop, break them out this season! Vintage is always in, and those unique pieces will really add a personal, homey touch to your holiday decor. Plus, you won’t find anyone else using the same decorations in their home! 

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Don’t: Heavily Decorate the Dining Table

Here’s the thing about heavily decorating your table: you’ll have to move it any time you want to use it. That means every family dinner, every time someone needs to do homework, and when everyone gets together for the holiday dinner. Decorate your table but leave enough space to eat.

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Do: Use Butcher Paper Runners

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a table runner. Instead, use cheap butcher paper. You can decorate it however you want. You can put the names of each guest in their place, polka dots, swirls – whatever you want!

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Don't: Overdo the Front Door

Many people incorrectly think that the front door should be the centerpiece of their holiday decor. While it is the first things guests see, if you take it too far, it can be overwhelming and tacky (and could potentially scare your guests away!). Stick with a simple, festive wreath and save the rest of the decor for inside. 

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Do: Be Practical

If you know that your cat or dog loves to play with strings, it’s probably not the best idea to have stringy decorations. Do what works best for your household. Otherwise, you’ll spend most of the holiday season stressing about keeping your decor intact.

If you have a baby, it's the same story; don't decorate with tiny, shiny objects a baby could easily fit in its mouth.  Not only do babies put everything in sight into their mouth, they REALLY love shiny objects. So be extra careful at Christmastime.

Don't: Use Perishables as Ornaments

If you see a Pinterest idea for Christmas tree ornaments made out of oranges or any perishable food, back away. These crafts will only look and smell good for a couple of days. After that, you’ll just have pieces of rotting garbage hanging from your tree! 

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Do: Display Skeletons Enjoying Life

You can decorate with scary things without making it terrifying! Skeletons can be put enjoying a picnic or selling lemonade. These are daily things that won’t terrify children and are perfectly lighthearted. Plus, it’s pretty funny seeing skeletons doing things we’d do!

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Don’t: Feature Any Executions

No matter how cool or scary the idea may seem, don’t feature any outside execution acts. Children will pass by and see the decorations. Additionally, you may not know where your neighbors stand on the death penalty.

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Do: Be Eco-Friendly

We all love saving money on decor by using stuff we used last year, but really cheap items may not last through more than one holiday season. Whether it’s Christmas, Halloween, or Thanksgiving, you should focus on making something eco-friendly. Chicken wire ghosts, durable wreaths, and light machines are just a few of the ways you can use eco-friendly items.

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Don't: Buy Poinsettias

Poinsettias used to be all the rage when it came to Christmas decor, but they’ve fallen out of favor recently. Poinsettias are also toxic to cats and dogs. Instead, opt for mistletoe or violets if you want to decorate with winter flowers.

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Do: Personalize Stockings

Don’t settle for generic stockings! Get the family together to decorate them and make them unique to each person. Go the DIY route and steam on letters, use fabric glue to add glitter and beads, and the works. These stockings will then have a special meaning, and they’ll be a great conversation starter at your Christmas parties. 

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Don't: Forget About Colored Christmas Trees

Most people opt for a green, natural-looking Christmas tree (or a real Christmas tree). But don’t forget that there are a variety of beautiful colors out there! If you live in a cramped apartment, a small white, gold, black, or multicolor tree will probably fit your space better than a full-sized green one, anyway.

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Do: Bring in Nature

If you’re decorating your home for the holidays on a budget, simply step outside to find your decorations! Pick up logs, sticks, pinecones, and leaves. Go to town turning them into centerpieces and wreaths that will make your home look both rustic and sophisticated. (Pinterest has hundreds of DIY tutorials for the holidays.)

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Don't: Break Out the Plastic Lawn Ornaments

Why so many people continue to decorate with plastic lawn ornaments is beyond us! They look cheap and tacky; not to mention they will shoot your electric bill through the roof. Instead, keep it simple with just string lights or a set of metallic gold reindeer to dress up your yard. 

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Do: Keep it Simple

If you find yourself piling decoration after decoration onto your mantle, take a step back and remove half of the items. Using fewer, higher quality pieces will make your house look put-together and elegant rather than overwhelming and cluttered. 

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Don't: Decorate Before Thanksgiving

You may be chomping at the bit to decorate for Christmas as soon as November 1st rolls around, but you must resist. Decorating too early can make it feel as though you’ve completely skipped over Thanksgiving, one of the best holidays of the year! If you can make it until Thanksgiving night, wait until then to start decorating the Christmas tree. Then the whole family will be around to help!

Do: Have a Theme in Mind

If you just start decorating with whatever looks “Christmas-y,” you’re going to have a bad experience. Pick a theme and only use pieces that correlate with it. If you love reindeer, find gold antlers you can hang on the wall, throw pillows with reindeer, or reindeer figurines (like the ones pictured). If you want a traditional-but-chic look, decorate with plaid patterns.

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Don't: Just Stick to Red and Green

Red and green are the traditional Christmas colors, but there’s no rule that says you can’t branch out from them. If you want to decorate with teal and tan, go for it! Using funky colors will make this Christmas stand out from all the rest. 

Do: Use What You Already Have

Save yourself some money by perusing your old holiday decorations before your shopping spree. You’ll likely find at least a few pieces that are reusable or that have sentimental value, which can make your home feel comfortable and familiar. 

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Don't: String Lights Like a Griswold

Getting into the holiday spirit by stringing up lights all around the house is great, but don't get carried away like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation! It may be pretty now, but you'll regret it when you get that electric bill.

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Do: Highlight Your Home's Best Features

Are you proud of your home’s wraparound porch? Show it off by stringing up some lights around it! Lights draw attention to wherever you put them, so use them to accentuate your home’s best features. 

Don’t: Expect Perfection

Life sometimes goes awry. Ornaments can break, turkeys may be burnt, and wrapping paper might work properly. If there’s one thing we know about the holidays, it’s that something will go wrong. That doesn’t mean you need to lose your head. Take a deep breath, relax, and drink some eggnog.

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Do: Get Creative With Christmas Lights

Trade in your traditional icicle or multicolor Christmas lights an opt for a projector instead. You put the projector in your front yard, and at night it looks exactly like a bunch of lights twinkling all over the front of your house. While great for shaking things up, it's also a great option if you just don't feel like taking an entire afternoon to string up a bunch of lights.

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Don’t: Leave your Decorations Up for Months

We love the holidays as much as the next person, but it’s just weird to see Halloween decorations in December and Christmas decorations on Valentine’s Day. Some families have a tradition of taking down Christmas decorations on New Year’s by making it another holiday! Nothing is better than family bonding time.

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Do: Color Coordinate with Existing Home Decor

One of the best ways to save money on decorations is by using your existing color scheme. If you have a home that uses gold and pale greens, don’t be afraid to get decorations that complement these colors. You’ll need to buy far fewer decorations, which means more money in your pocket.

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Do: Get an Advent Calendar

Advent Calendars aren’t just for children. Everyone loves chocolate or little gifts. It’s a great way to count down the day until Christmas arrives. There’s a wide array of adult advent calendars you can buy online from booze to gourmet candy.

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