Courtney Warren is a Texas-based interior designer whose work has been featured in Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Apartment Therapy, and Today.com. She is a frequent consultant on Fox 4 TV’s Good Day program in Dallas, was ranked in the top 3 percent of interior designers in the US by Houzz.com, and starred in the Dallas episode of TLC’sFour Houses. She delights in helping overwhelmed clients create beautiful spaces—and will never turn down a warm chocolate chip cookie or Diet Dr Pepper.
I know we’re all gearing up to host Thanksgiving, but I’m already getting ahead of planning my Christmas decor and hosting another creative family gathering. Are you thinking, hmmm, Courtney, that’s too soon (or too late)? I know everyone has different timelines to follow, but here’s how I like to plan early for hosting Christmas.
And maybe you will too!
Let me first say that I’m on the go a lot. Between client projects, kiddos, building our custom home, and laundry, there’s SO much to do every day. If I don’t stay organized, all will fail.
And so, I’m a big believer in planning extra and then taking it easy and going with the flow. It’s better to prepare and mitigate than to panic and troubleshoot. Who’s with me?
Y’all let’s face it– we know hosting for the holidays is stressful enough. This is why I look for ways to make it less chaotic. The best way to do this? Plan early, as early as you can!
As you plan early, use any productivity tool that works for you: an iPad, a simple notebook, or a chalkboard. Break down your tasks into categories. These are just examples, but this will help you organize your subtasks:
Prioritize each task by date. Which tasks do you need to get done sooner than later? Mark 2-3 or however many you can reasonably accomplish per week (and per day). Even if it’s something small like working out your wrapping station, it will save you BIG time down the road.
Christmas shopping and decorating are two big ones on my list. I NEVER do it all at once. Instead, I’ll stock up on essentials throughout the year I know will come in handy when the season hits.
As I hunt for deals and collect for the season, I stay within budget and buy what makes sense. Which means I don’t overload and pack my shelves ceiling high. Or buy stuff I’ll never use! Plus, shopping early = sales. I do like saving money (who doesn’t?).
So many times, you’ll see Christmas items go on a MEGA sale right after Christmas ends. So, for example, if something catches your eye during the year, like a perfect gift for a niece or grandchild, buy it then! You don’t need to wait until the holidays to prep and store gifts and special items for the year.
Top Tip: It’s especially a good idea to organize and declutter your current Christmas stash (so you don’t end up buying duplicates or extras).
Also, there are always holiday-specific retail stores you can shop through. If you do a bit here and there, you’re not scrambling to mark every task off your list! Even 1/2 done is better than doing 100% last minute.
Essentials to store can also include things like:
Don’t forget about grocery essentials too! For example, if you’re a baker, stock up pantry must-haves during the season– baking soda, flour, and sugar! Every bit helps.
Even if you prep and stock up on holiday essentials, something unexpected is bound to happen, especially when it comes to budget.
Prepare the best you can and be OK with knowing that your plans won’t always go perfectly. The best way to do this is to plan AND pitch throughout the year to save up for a holiday budget. It’s nice to have some peace-of-mind as you set aside funds that can cover any emergency holiday needs!
Also, try not to dip into your holiday fund throughout the year.
Top tip: After Christmas Day, when everyone is in a food coma and watching Netflix, you can slip off to the 75% off sales. The best sale? Check out the clearance inventory before January!
Besides all the ways I save myself some sanity during the holidays, I always look forward to decorating. Holiday designing is therapeutic for me. All of us need to find a creative outlet that we enjoy and helps us let off a little steam! Here are my go-tos:
Don’t forget! You don’t need to stick to conventional reds or greens. There are so many beautiful Christmas decor themes out there. Find what works for your style and home aesthetic.
Which colors speak to you? Which family decorating traditions do you love or want to ditch? Be sure to add some decor pieces that are meaningful to you. Like passed down ornaments or handmade photo frames from the kid’s school art projects.
Do you need to make some design upgrades to your home so that hosting Christmas is more special? Let’s talk!
Learn more here about our Christmas Decor packages! I also offer a complimentary, no-strings-attached phone call consultation.
We can also consult by video conference. If you’d like to meet at your home, please know we will use all current safety protocols.
For now, check out what our team here at Courtney Warren Home can do for YOU on our YouTube channel!