3 Ways to Keep Christmas Decorating Simple

This post was written years ago but the principles remain relevant, even in the midst of the current virus situation. Realizing that many of you have completed your decorating for this Christmas season, many have not done any this year. For either group, perhaps this will help for next year and beyond.

I do not know very many these days that are into very elaborate decorating for the holiday season the way we used to do it. Please do not throw your ornaments at me for this statement! I am in this group downsizing almost everything in my current life.

If you look closing to this Christmas scene in our former home, notice how little effort was extended to create this lovely setting. Large live poinsetteas, a few items on the mantle, of course candles, table runner, a few plates and special ornaments in antique dish from my mom, and the pillows. Except for the live plants, all of these items were stored easily taking up very little space. 

Of course, there are a host of those that still go all out like Denise McGaha, Pam Kelley, and Courtney Allison do with their over the top, fabulous results! But this post is for the majority of us that have either chosen not to go all out or have given away or given up most of their decorations.

Let’s be honest here, how many of us really love getting out all those stored boxes, sorting, arranging, and then taking it all down and storing it again?

Again, a few years back, my Texas family stopped in Wichita for their overnight before we all gathered in Colorado for our family Christmas together with all 17 of us. I believe they were delighted and surpised to have dinner at this Christmas table, even the 3 children. Little effort, lots of appreciative family feeling like the special guests that they definitely were!

Just as the living room, I decorated smarter, not harder in this dining room. With maxium results and little time and effort I know how to make the biggest impact with fewer but more effective items. And you certainly can too!

As you can see by the feature photos of my living room and dining room, I do love Christmas and I do love to decorate my home for Christmas.  But I have discovered that there are easier ways to accomplish beautiful results with minimum time, effort, and money. Plus for those of us whose families now live in other states, we get to enjoy the wonderful efforts of our adult families decorated homes at this stage of life. What a win-win!

Here are my tips for you:


Remember that the principle of scale and proportion is the answer for big impact with minimum effort. Why? Tons of ittle decorations can get lost in the myriad of all the endless visual clutter.  Without large elements to draw the eye into the display, everything blends together. Look at my mantle and see how the oversized wreath is the focal point, with the other items decreasing in size in a descending order. The results are a timeless classic Christmas scene that took very little time. However, the planning was the key to accomplish everyone’s favorite Christmas decorated mantle.


Use real greens when possible mixing them with faux or silk or artificial items. This way we can enjoy the wonderful fragrance of Christmas that fills our homes. Where I do not compromise is using faux versus the real thing  for my fireplace wreath and poinsettias. I order my wreath and my poinsettias ahead of time to get just the right size and color. This way I can have the biggest bang for my buck.


Invest in significant items to enjoy and use year after year as Courtney Allison shows us what she uses in her bedroom decorations. She incorporates a stunning artificial tree of such gorgeousness, that I think is worth every penny and is a astute investment.

Image from Denise McGaha ‘s instagram. Check out her blog as well here

What a genious Courtney is to use fresh oranges and grenery for her outside holiday decor.  Check out Courtney Allison’s instagram and blog

Replacements, Ltd. has beautiful investment Christmas China for the holidays. Click here for their instagram and here for a link to their beautiful china options.

If you have not enjoyed Pam Kelley’s classic design posts you are missing out! Relating this beautiful cache pot to Christmas, is also an example of investment buying for items that work the entire year including any season.

Pam Kelly features this beautiful antique Majolica Cache Pot  investment piece which she used for her Christmas Decorating. Check out her Instagram here

Hopefully with these three tips for your holiday decorating you can reconsider your normal for a “new normal” making life easier on you and those you love too.

We would love to know what are your tips and tricks for your holiday decorating? Have you changed your decorating routine or are you remaining true to your traditions? Your input is always so very helpful for all of us trying to accomplish more with less time, effort, and money. Life today is a whirlwind of activities and commitments. Streamlining, but not downplaying this favorite Christmas holiday is our goal. Please let us know your thoughts so we can share your decorating wisdom with all our wonderful readers we have checking out our posts.

But above all, Joy is the message of this beautiful Christmas season which is what I wish for all you wonderful followers….along with lots of peace and love. 

Living and loving life together,


Mitzi Beach DesignSmarts Front Cover

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  1. Rhonda Knoche December 3, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Mitzi, great timely piece! Last week-end I did most of my decorations which is very early for me since I keep them up until Christmas is done (12th day – 1/6). I, too, love live greens and it’s so Oregon with our fresh evergreens and holly I can clip right from my own yard. I’ve pared down from past years and keep what I love doing most.
    – Outside (front): Green garland & twinkle lights hanging from my entry gable (thanks to my son’s help), big red pots with greens, holly, red velvet ribbon.
    – Outside (back): Just as you said, fewer and larger impact feels best these days (vs. fussy, tiny bric-a-brac). Because my house is small and tight for a big live tree, I’ve chosen to use the deck as a visual extension. It’s seen from the new 10′ patio door from the kitchen/dining and other rooms. I kept the glass topped table with white sheer fabric and twinkle lights beneath, red chairs and my old large concrete angels on top with red ribbon. A fun little vignette to see:)
    – Inside: Instead of the big tree, (and gobs of ornaments to get out and put back), I have 3 small artificial pre-lit table top trees, I decorate the mantle and, new to my tradition are the lit glass door cabinets at the top of all of my kitchen wall cabinets with changing colored back panels. I change them out each season and right now, it’s red with my polished silver (thanks to granddaughter), old Charles Dickens books, martini glasses, etc.

    My new rule: Can’t buy one new Christmas thing, Rhonda! You’re trying to decrease the pack, not increase! So, not one new string of lights, no new decorations. Repurpose or forage in the back yard. Also, do whatever will simplify life and help thwart those post-holiday blues with the undaunting task of putting all that stuff away.

    Mitzi, thanks so much for sharing what changes you’ve made in your traditions and sharing your beautiful holiday living room. Change is good and your piece also made me stop and put into words what my own changes have been.

  2. Dana Smyser December 6, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    thanks Mitzi for your advice I’m a vintage nut who has hundreds of tiny angels and tiny pinecone men and vintage balls. The minute- ness of it all just wears me out before I start so it was good to see a simple approach starting with something large as the focal point I think I’ll try that !
    I am a friend of Janie Chisholm‘s and saw your comment on her page and thought you might have some decorating tips I’m glad I checked !

    1. Mitzi December 11, 2018 at 5:18 pm

      I understand Dana, it is a journey, isn’t it?

  3. Carol Straub December 19, 2020 at 9:13 am

    Must work on this! Shared items with my kids and continue to do that with meaningful things each year. Both homes have a no Knick knack policy. Helps!

    1. Mitzi December 21, 2020 at 4:58 pm

      I for sure understand where you are coming from Carol. It is a process that we all have to figure out as our life stages change as to what is necessary and what definitely needs to be tweaked. And for sure you are a no knick knack girl! Timeless classics is your home’s message.

  4. Ashley Berdan December 19, 2020 at 9:32 am

    Such vibrant reds! I feel like each year I come home with more and more Christmas decor and very quickly run out of room. I should take your advice 😉

    1. Mitzi December 21, 2020 at 4:54 pm

      Oh dear Ashley, it will not take you long to figure out what truly works for you and what does not work for you. But do not be too hard on yourself as everyone loves this glorious Christmas season. It just takes us all time to figure out how much is just right and how much is too much. I so appreciate your honesty because most are or have been exactly where you are.

  5. Janet Lorusso December 19, 2020 at 10:25 am

    Such smart advice, Mitzi! Scale is everything in decor in general and especially when it comes to Christmas decor! As you so rightly point out, larger scale has large impact and creates less visual clutter. I also love using items that are season-less and make them Christmassy with seasonal greens or ribbons or a few special ornaments.

    1. Mitzi December 21, 2020 at 4:51 pm

      Love your verbage of Christmassy Janet! You of course are the Christmas decorating queen so when you affirm my point of view, I am delighted and I thank you!

  6. Jeanne Chung December 19, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    I’m decorating the house this weekend, so this is so timely. I know – better late than never! XO, Jeanne

    1. Mitzi December 21, 2020 at 4:49 pm

      No worries for you Jeanne! You have the gift of making it all work out no matter how little time. I am envious!

  7. Leslie Carothers December 19, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Mitzi ~

    These are all such valuable tips. I did downsize my Christmas collection of *stuff* last year, in 2019. When I took the remaining 2 containers out of my closet a few weekends ago, it felt so good. I knew that everything I would find within is something that I really loved, and that had meaning to me.

    And to your point: it was fast to put those things around my house, and add some fresh pointsettas for green.

    With Christmas music on and mulling spices on the stove, I am all set –except for gift wrapping… the final stage!

    Merry Christmas to you, Mitzi, and your large family.

    Thanks for keeping it real in showing us how to do the *things we must do* in order to downsize and cause ourselves less stress.

    1. Mitzi December 21, 2020 at 5:16 pm

      Thank you Leslie for affirming my message of keeping it real versus doing the expected same ole same ole decorating each season, regardless which season it is. And good for you, but not surpised that you have already figured out this whole dragging out all those stored items year after year whether used or not but have discerned what is your now. I love the fact that what is my now is meaningful yes, but also works with this life stage that I am vigorously trying to adapt to and cherish.
      I wish you dear Leslie, that you not only have a blessed Christmas season but that you have some well deserved rest as it appears your 2021 will be fabously busy and successful!

  8. Mary Ann Benoit December 19, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    Great tips! I am all about minimal Xmas decorating. I have 2 mini fiber optics trees which I love the jewel tone lights. I plug 1 in upstairs, one downstairs and put a bowl of ornaments on my coffee table. Done in 10 minutes and I love it:)

    1. Mitzi December 21, 2020 at 5:06 pm

      Of course you have it all figured out Mary Ann! I would expect no less of you being the designer/ stager you are. Wow, done in such short time, I am impressed! Good for you though as you have figured out what works exactly right for you.

  9. Andrea L Kennedy December 19, 2020 at 11:55 pm

    I love seeing the pictures of the Christmas vignettes from Cypress! The dining table especially, set for your family to gather round…even incorporating our beloved rabbits to stand watch over your Christmas fare! It is good to be reminded to invest in larger pieces instead of so many ‘littles’ that can create such chaos, instead of a classic look that lends itself to peace and relaxation, as well as beauty. Always learning from you, Mitz! Thank you!

  10. Lisa A Peck December 20, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    Great advice! Lovely decor and more time spent on focusing on family!

    1. Mitzi December 21, 2020 at 5:03 pm

      Thanks Lisa! Don’t we wish that we knew what we know now years ago? But of course this is what our journey is all about, gaining the wisdom to discern what truly is important.

  11. Sheri Bruneau December 20, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    Wonderful tips,Mitzi. I seem to downsize my Christmas decorations every year. If they don’t get set out one year, they go to the donation pile.

    Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

    1. Mitzi December 21, 2020 at 5:01 pm

      Perfect way to tackle all the endless Christmas decor most of us have accumulated over the years is to not keep storing what was not used, genius!
      And wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and continued good health and success in 2021!


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