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Before incorporating holiday decor, edit day-to-day accessories

“If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work.” — William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English playwright and poet, “Henry IV, Part I”

As the holiday season gets underway, I would like to offer what I hope to be a helpful hint for decorating our spaces. Holiday decorations tend to hold special places in our hearts for specific reasons. We were given a particular ornament or stocking by our parents or grandparents, or we bought a favorite Santa or menorah on a trip. And we’re very proud of our holiday trimmings and can’t wait to show them off, sometimes to excess.

There are ways to incorporate holiday accessories into your existing decor without making your house too crowded and without overwhelming your space. The key is to edit.

Chances are that if you like to decorate your home for the holidays, you enjoy having a home that is warm and welcoming year-round and has your special touches throughout. If you have the “decorating gene,” you will have furniture, art and accessories that complement your lifestyle and were chosen for their appeal and importance to you.

OK, so now it’s holiday time and you’re eager to see and display your holiday decorations with the same exuberance you display your possessions throughout the year.

Here’s the big dilemma. How do you incorporate your holiday goodies into your existing decor?

If you put your holiday things on top of whatever you have now, neither will be that impressive. Before you start putting out the snowmen and snow globes, try to envision how the finished product will look. When you are shopping for your home decor throughout the year, more than likely you get a visual image of how each piece of furniture or accessory is going to look and match what is already there.

When decorating for Christmas or Hanukkah, try to get that same visual image. Don’t lose your sense of style just because it’s a holiday. Clutter is seldom attractive, and clutter consisting of fat Santas or snowmen — no matter how cute — is no more appealing.

So what to do? Remove some of your day-to-day accessories and replace them with your holiday pieces.

Some homeowners go to an extreme and even remove the art from their walls and replace it with holiday paintings or wall hangings. If your collection of holiday decorations is that large, you should definitely remove most of your day-to-day things.

And as much as you love your things, look at it this way: Pack them away for a few weeks, put out holiday stuff and then, after the holidays, unpack your day-to-day things. It’s like seeing old friends again. It’s a win-win!

People have said to me over the years that doing the accessory switch may work for some but that it is very difficult when small children are in the house. Actually, it’s a perfect time to pack the “adult” decorations away and make it truly a holiday house. And what fun for the children — everything magical and merry and probably red and green.

These ideas can certainly work. Just use the same editing skills you employ year-round. If you use a little restraint, I think you will find that with holiday trimmings, less can, in fact, be more.

I hope you enjoy whatever you choose to surround yourself with during this holiday season and that you have a safe, peaceful and happy experience.

See you in January with some very clear and fun decorating ideas. Happy holidays.

Carolyn Muse Grant is a design consultant and creator of beautiful spaces. Questions can be sent to her at creativemuse@cox.net.

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