This Is the Absolute Best Time to Put Up Christmas Decorations

Inside: Is decking the halls stressing you out? Here’s the easiest way to decide when to decorate for Christmas.


How to Decide When to Decorate for Christmas Without Stressing | redleafstyle.com

Every year, the great debate begins. When to put up the Christmas decorations.

People have decided opinions about when to start decorating for the holidays. Too early and you’re labeled a fanatic. Too late and you have less Christmas spirit than Scrooge.

But how soon is too soon? And, how late is too late?

Usually, I ponder this question when munching on leftover Halloween candy.

How to Decide When to Decorate for Christmas Without Stressing | redleafstyle.com

See I never stay in my own home for Thanksgiving. That means no day after Thanksgiving holiday decorating.

And by the time I return home on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I feel like I’ve lost precious holiday decorating time.

But that pile of laundry won’t clean itself no matter how long I stare at it with Matilda eyes. And if I drag the Christmas tree from the garage that evening, we all know that box will sit unopened in the hall for at least a few days.

So, do I wait until the following weekend to start decorating? Turning Christmas decorating into a weekend project makes sense. But then I’ll lose an entire week of enjoying my Christmas decorations.

Gah. Do I deck the halls before I leave for Thanksgiving?

When to decorate for Christmas has suddenly turned more stressful than Black Friday shopping.

How to Decide When to Decorate for Christmas Without Stressing | redleafstyle.com

Where Do You Fit on the Jolly Scale? Here Are The Different Types of Christmas Decorators

Everyone has an opinion about the ultimate time to decorate for Christmas. And it runs the whole spectrum.

From the-wreath-is-on-the-door-before-the-pumpkins-even-go-bad to does-a-red-coffee-mug-count-as-Christmas-cheer?

If you ask people when they decorate for Christmas, you’ll probably get a version of these responses:

  • “Holiday decorations aren’t my thing.”
  • “Decorating early is tacky.”
  • “Mine go up in mid-December.”
  • “The beginning of November, so I can savor the season”
  • “Like clockwork, the Christmas decorations go up the day after Thanksgiving.”
  • “Christmas above everything! I’m ready to put them out in October.”

How to Decide When to Decorate for Christmas Without Stressing | redleafstyle.com

Your typical holiday decorator probably falls into one of these categories.

The immediately after Halloween decorator
As soon as the stores discount the Halloween candy, you’re thinking about the Christmas season.

While you may not put up your Christmas tree immediately, you’re in the basement searching for the Christmas boxes after the trick-or-treaters have left.

You also grab a few holiday items from the Target Dollar Spot the day after Halloween. After all, you want to nab the good stuff before it gets picked over.

And your house is decked out in holiday gear by the beginning of November.

The day after Thanksgiving decorator
You stick to the tried-and-true.

Decorating the day after Thanksgiving gives you the best of both worlds.

You can still enjoy fall but you get a jumpstart on the holidays, too. You put all the Christmas décor up in one swoop instead of going shopping on Black Friday.

The December 1 decorator
You feel that December is an acceptable time to start decorating for the holidays.

The fall décor stays out in your home a couple weeks longer than other people.

Then, you put up the Christmas decorations once December hits.

The lights go up on the house. The Christmas tree brightens the front window. The wreaths add cheer to the doors. And you’re exhausted. But cheery.

The un-decorator
When to decorate for Christmas? How bout never?

You do not decorate for the holidays.

Your friends and family may call you the Grinch, but while they spend hours tearing down Christmas decorations, you put your feet up and eat leftover pumpkin pie.

So really, who’s the winner?

How to Decide When to Decorate for Christmas Without Stressing | redleafstyle.com

Here’s the Easiest Way to Decide When to Decorate for Christmas

But you probably want an answer to the mother of all questions.

No, not ‘Is pumpkin or pecan pie better?’

The big question.

When is the best time to start decorating for Christmas?

How to Decide When to Decorate for Christmas Without Stressing | redleafstyle.com

Here’s the thing. I don’t think a right or wrong time exists.

It’s up to you. Don’t let anyone dictate your decorating sister.

You don’t need to feel ashamed if you start holiday decorating early. And if you don’t want to put up a Christmas tree ever, go you.

What matters most is surrounding yourself with things you love in your home.

Decorating is about creating an environment that makes you happy. And if putting up 20 Christmas trees makes you feel jollier than a reindeer, then put up 20 Christmas trees.

However your Christmas decorating happens is how it should happen.

How to Decide When to Decorate for Christmas Without Stressing | redleafstyle.com

So, what about me?

Well, I’m one of those crazies who likes to put up Christmas decorations early.

I adore the anticipation of the season.

If I wait to decorate, I feel cheated. I want to savor the excitement as long as possible.

Sometimes my holiday decorating happens organically. I don’t really think about when to decorate for Christmas. It just happens. I start with an arrangement of mini Christmas trees on a shelf. Then, I replace the fall wreath with a Christmas wreath. Maybe I’ll add some cut branches in a vase. Or, I’ll keep the pinecones in a display but remove the pumpkins. These small changes happen over time. All before the Christmas tree ever goes up.

Or, sometimes it happens all at once.

Christmas storage boxes scatter across the living room floor. One minute the house is a blank canvas. The next, it looks like Christmas exploded. Kind of like when Buddy the Elf transforms Gimbels into a winter wonderland overnight.

How to Decide When to Decorate for Christmas Without Stressing | redleafstyle.com

The anticipation of Christmas is almost always more exciting than the actual day.

It’s the same as going on vacation. You crave the anticipation of the event. The planning. The daydreaming about your big trip. That build up makes you the happiest.

Why do you think we count down the days to Christmas?

So, if I can have a whole month of excitement, I say the earlier the better.

But don’t worry. That’s just me. The absolute best time to put up Christmas decorations is entirely up to you.

This Is the Absolute Best Time to Put Up Christmas Decorations | redleafstyle.com


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How to Make the Ultimate Fall Burlap Door Wreath

Inside: Dress up your front door for fall with an easy-to-make burlap door wreath.

How to Make the Ultimate Fall Burlap Door Wreath | redleafstyle.com

One time I made a burlap wreath using a dryer vent. What an epic fail.

The dryer vent wreath looked perky (like this.) For about 10 minutes. Then, it drooped into a sad oval as if it had melted.

My repurposing adventures don’t always go well. Clearly.

But a simple burlap door wreath (made with a wreath form) is a definite win.

You won’t find it sagging on your front door. Made from a sturdy wreath form and burlap ribbon, a burlap door wreath will look good for years.

Here’s How to Create the Ultimate Fall Burlap Wreath for Your Front Door

How to Make the Ultimate Fall Burlap Door Wreath | redleafstyle.com

If you’re like me, a burlap wreath DIY project will put you right in the fall mood.

So you light a pumpkin spice latte candle. You pour apple cider donut coffee into your “Happy Fall!” mug. You are decked out and ready to make a fall wreath.

But what kind of wreath should you make? You’ve probably seen burlap door wreaths galore on Pinterest and Instagram.

Should you make a burlap wreath with ribbon wound through it? A burlap wreath with flowers? One made from a dryer vent? Oh wait. Don’t do that one.

To me, the ultimate burlap wreath is simple. Basic. A canvas for adding whatever decorative elements you want.

That’s what makes this the ultimate burlap door wreath. (That and it looks expensive but costs less than $10. Because who doesn’t love saving money?)

How to Make the Ultimate Fall Burlap Door Wreath | redleafstyle.com

With just a few supplies, you can create the ultimate burlap door wreath. Here’s what you’ll need to make a burlap wreath.

What you’ll need:

  • Burlap fabric rolls (I used two rolls of 5 inch x 10 yards that I got at Walmart.)
  • Metal wreath ring (I got mine at the Dollar Tree.)
  • Wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Optional decorative flowers (I used fake cattails from the Dollar Tree.)

Ready? Let’s do this.

A Step-By-Step Tutorial to Make a Fall Burlap Door Wreath

The first time you make a ruffled burlap wreath, it might take a bit of brainpower to get the steps down. Like anything, the first time is the hardest. So, don’t get frustrated. Trust me, you’ll get it. And when you complete your wreath, you’ll feel like a burlap wreath-making pro.

I’ll take you through the steps of crafting together your burlap door wreath.

(You can also watch this super handy video that shows you how to make a burlap wreath.)

How to Make the Ultimate Fall Burlap Door Wreath | redlefastyle.com

1. Fold into quarters

Fold your burlap ribbon into quarters hot dog style. This step makes it easier for you to slip the burlap ribbon through the wreath ring and secure it.

How to Make the Ultimate Fall Burlap Door Wreath | redlefastyle.com

2. Secure the burlap ribbon

Tie the end of the folded burlap ribbon to the first ring of the wreath ring with the wire. This will secure the burlap as you start to form your wreath.

How to Make the Ultimate Fall Burlap Door Wreath | redleafstyle.com

3. Push the ribbon through the second and third rings

Push the burlap ribbon into tufts sticking out of the second and third rings on the wreath ring.

How to Make the Ultimate Fall Burlap Door Wreath | redleafstyle.com

4. Bunch and twist

Bunch up those three tufts together, flip the wreath ring over and twist the burlap ribbon to secure it.

How to Make the Ultimate Fall Burlap Door Wreath | redleafstyle.com

5. Repeat

Now, you’ll repeat steps three and four. Continue pushing, bunching and twisting your way around the wreath ring. You’ll get the hang of it and will move more quickly as you go.

6. Finish off

When you’ve finished filling in the burlap wreath, cut off the end of the burlap ribbon. Tie the end of the burlap ribbon to the wreath ring with a bit of wire to keep it in place.

How to Make the Ultimate Fall Burlap Door Wreath | redleafstyle.com

10 Ways to Decorate Your Burlap Door Wreath for Fall

The neutral tone of this burlap door wreath makes it the ultimate blank canvas to personalize for fall.

As you can see, I decorated my wreath for fall with fake cattails in spunky reds, bright yellows and deep browns.

But you have an infinite number of fun options to decorate with. Give your blank burlap wreath a fall makeover with these ideas.

1. Add flower power with faux flowers

Stick a bunch of faux flowers on one edge of your wreath. Or, weave them around the entire radius of the wreath.

Use faux flowers in fall colors like rich reds, oranges and browns.

2. Stick on wood slices

Add some nature to your wreath.

Hot glue small wood slices around the perimeter of the wreath or in the pattern of your choice.

You could even stencil letters onto four wood slices to spell out FALL. If you’re feelin’ fancy, you know.

3. Weave ribbon into your wreath

Snake ribbon through your wreath for a pop of color and texture. You may want to do this step as you assemble the wreath.

(Dollar Tree has pretty fall-themed ribbons available right now by the way.)

4. Add charm with mini pumpkins

Attach cute miniature pumpkins to your burlap wreath using hot glue.

Try making a small grouping of three to four mini pumpkins along one edge of the wreath.

5. Make it plaid

Plaid might typically make you think of the holidays. But plaid works for fall too.

After all, I bet you have a flannel shirt hanging in your closet you love wearing this time of year. Am I right?

Add a little plaid to your wreath with plaid ribbon. Make a simple bow from the plaid ribbon and tie or hot glue it to the top of your wreath.

6. Feather it out

Add faux or real feathers to your wreath for an unexpected decorative element.

The spikiness of the feathers contrasts well with the round wreath.

Hot glue a bundle of feathers to the wreath. Or, tuck a few feathers underneath a pretty ribbon bow to add layers of decorative fun.

7. Wave the wheat

Wheat stalks will give your wreath a rustic vibe.

Take a small bundle of wheat and tie it together with twine.

Then, secure the wheat bundle to your wreath with hot glue.

8. Make it leaf-like

Fake the look of autumn branches by hot gluing faux autumn leaves to branches.

Attach the autumnal branches to your wreath with hot glue or twine.

9. Go apple all the way

Make this wreath the apple of your eye by adding faux apples to your wreath.

Hot glue them around the inner circle of the wreath or create a small grouping along one edge.

10. Go full-on harvest-themed

Take your wreath to the next level with harvest-themed items.

Secure a grouping of pumpkins, pine cones and Indian corn to your wreath with hot glue or twine.

How to Make the Ultimate Fall Burlap Door Wreath | redleafstyle.comHow to Make the Ultimate Fall Burlap Door Wreath | redleafstyle.com

See? I told you it’s a win. No sagging in sight.


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10 Insanely Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen Right Now

Inside: You don’t need a complete renovation to update your kitchen. Here are the easiest ways to change it up without killing your budget.

10 Insanely Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen Right Now | redleafstyle.com

Do you cringe every time you walk into your kitchen?

Is it those 1960s wooden cabinets you haven’t had the budget to replace? Or, the yellow linoleum flooring you try not to look at? Or, the pile of dirty dishes in the sink? (Me too, friend.)

You want to update your kitchen, but something always gets in the way.

Money. Time. Effort. The kitchen struggle is real.

10 Insanely Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen Right Now | redleafstyle.com

Right now I’m living with my sister in her urban Kansas City townhouse. The townhouse has potential, but the kitchen looks outdated.

It’s not awful exactly. But the cerulean tile backsplash gives both of our neutral-loving hearts palpitations. The veneered oak cabinets aren’t our style. And, you can’t even set down a cup without staining the laminate countertops. Sometimes we both want to torch the whole room.

So, what’s stopping us from improving the kitchen?

It’s the same reason you’re hesitating. It’s taking the leap.

Kitchen remodels cost a lot of money.

Shouldn’t you plan everything out? Pin tons of beautiful kitchens on Pinterest for inspiration? Have the style, design and layout ready to go right down to the hinges on the cabinets?

(Pssst. No, you don’t have to.)

Because good-enough-for-now is good, too.

When you update your kitchen to make it good-enough-for-now, you can try new elements and see how you like them. You can create a kitchen you enjoy being in, even if it’s not perfect.

Screw perfection. Make your kitchen a room you want to use. Right now. You’ll feel so much happier!

10 Insanely Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen Right Now | redleafstyle.com

These Are the Best Ways to Update Your Kitchen Without Remodeling

I’m taking my own advice and sharing my favorite methods to update a kitchen without a renovation.

These are the most simple ideas. The ones that will get you the most bang for your buck. The projects with the most dramatic results and the lowest budgets.

Because a good-enough-for-now kitchen is the kitchen you’ve been waiting for.

1. Paint your kitchen cabinets

Painting your kitchen cabinets is the easiest way to update your kitchen and make a big change. After all, your cabinets are the biggest showpiece in your kitchen.

Here’s the best guide I’ve come across on how to paint your kitchen cabinets.

Some easy methods to paint kitchen cabinets:

  • Use chalk paint so you don’t have to prime or sand. (Be sure to apply wax.)
  • Skip sanding altogether, unless your cabinets are super glossy (a.k.a. lots of polyurethane.)

Kitchen cabinets painted in neutrals are popular right now. (Think of the farmhouse look.) Go with all white or gray. Or, do the two tone method and paint the upper cabinets white and the lower cabinets gray.

2. Get rid of that funky backsplash

Got a weird backsplash? Get rid of it. It’s totally ruining the groove of your kitchen.

You know how sometimes after seeing something for a while, you stop noticing it? The cerulean blue tile in my sister’s kitchen is not like that.

It needs to go. And, removing your tile backsplash might not be as hard as you thought.

Options to change up your backsplash:

  • Paint over it. (Ask your hardware store about special paint for tile.)
  • Remove it, fix the drywall and add new tile.
  • Remove it and install beadboard or shiplap.
3. Change your countertop

If you can’t stand your kitchen countertop, you have several options to change it up. The method you use depends on your budget.

My sister’s kitchen has a laminate countertop that’s not worth saving. It looks grimy no matter how much you clean it. And it’s lifting up in places. She wants to bite the bullet and get a new countertop.

But if you don’t want to completely replace your kitchen countertop, you have options.

Options to change up your kitchen countertop:

10 Insanely Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen Right Now | redleafstyle.com

 

5. Switch out cabinet hardware

Give your kitchen personality without breaking the bank. Swap out the knobs or pulls on your kitchen cabinets for new ones. Or, spray paint your current hardware to give it new life.

Plus, when you use good hardware, you’ll protect your kitchen cabinets from greasy fingers, which can ruin the finish. This is especially important if you painted your kitchen cabinets.

6. Update your faucet

Changing your sink faucet costs more than smaller projects, like changing cabinet hardware. But it can dramatically alter the look of your sink.

7. Create open shelving

Love the look of open shelving? Easily add open shelving to your kitchen by removing some of your cabinet doors.

Tips for making open shelving work:

  • Pare down your stuff to keep the shelves organized
  • Show off your favorite dishes and get rid of ones you dislike
  • Put the most-used items on the bottom shelves
  • Add decorative elements to spruce up the look
  • Paint the insides of the cabinets to add personality

The good news? You can always put the cabinet doors back up if you decide open shelving isn’t for you.

8. Install DIY roll-out drawers

Tired of your stash of reusable water bottles toppling out when you open a cabinet door? Or, spending 10 minutes looking the garlic pepper hidden at the back of the cabinet?

Instead of buying new kitchen cabinets, add roll-out drawers to get the most out of your space.

You’ll have more storage and feel like an organization pro.

9. Add some seating

Nobody wants to cook alone while friends and family lounge in the living room.

If your kitchen doesn’t have an adjoining dining room, add seating. Seating encourages others to hang out while you cook. It’s an easy way to update your kitchen and make it more livable.

Easy ways to add seating (even in small kitchens):

  • Tuck a bistro set into a corner
  • Make a window seat with a shelf and stools
  • Use a drop leaf table
  • Add a kitchen island with bar stools
  • Place a bench near a window

10 Insanely Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen Right Now | redleafstyle.com

10. Downsize and declutter

Imagine cleared off countertops. A place for each glass in the cabinets. Spices lined up in rows instead of crammed together.

Adding new features or fixtures aren’t the only ways to update your kitchen.

Give your kitchen a whole new feel when you get rid of stuff.

What to donate or trash:

  • Dishes you don’t like or use
  • Anything that’s broken
  • Kitchen gadgets you don’t use
  • Old spices

10 Insanely Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen Right Now | redleafstyle.com

The kitchen you’ve been waiting for is a few projects away.

Don’t hesitate. Take the leap.

You got this.


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