Quick and Easy Must-Have Holiday Decorations

I have very vivid memories, the day after every Thanksgiving, helping my grandmother unpack piles of Christmas decorations so that virtually every surface had something green, red or otherwise festive on top. I couldn’t wait until I had my own house so I could start collecting trinkets and baubles and wreaths and garland to truly celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

Then I grew up and got my own place. And I realized that, not only could I only afford to spend my hard-earned pennies on one of the Three Wise Men, I could finally see that that much decoration can look really…bad. Thus, I developed my great-looking, cheer-inducing, minimally-invasive holiday decoration scheme that I go to year after year.

4 Easy Holiday Decorations You Have to Have


Any sort of door hanging works: a piney wreath, a swag made of fallen branches, fresh cranberries stuck to one of those Styrofoam craft rings. It puts you in the holiday spirit the moment you walk in the door and, since many pieces can be found on their own in nature, you’ll be counting your extra cash instead of caroling this year.

Simply: Gather up some piney boughs, pop in some pinecones and tie with a red velvet ribbon. Don’t live in a heavily-wooded region? Relish the modern aesthetic and wrap some silvery tinsel around a ring, pop on a bow and call it Christmas. No eight-foot Douglas Fir necessary.


No matter your belief system, the warm glow of candles is a welcome addition to any festive décor. Save the sterling silver candelabra for your wedding registry and settle for little tea lights along every flat surface, the more the better. The best part: you can get them in big packs with a variety of colors and scents so your home will be aglow with the rich smell of vanilla/pine/apple pie/toasted marshmallow/whathaveyou.

Simply: Sprinkle them around your home – windowsills, desks, side tables, mantles. If you’re worried about spilled wax, don’t feel obligated to splurge on candle holders. Your everyday coasters and old glass jars will do! Steam or soak the label of a jar of salsa, pop in some candles and you’ll see Tostitos in a brand new light.

Twinkle Lights

Candles may provide a warm, perfectly-scented glow, but twinkle lights are a no-fail way to kick the season in high gear.

Simply: Outline your windows in little white lights. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think it’s just lovely.

Something Sparkly

And by sparkly, I might mean a bit tacky (there’s a little of my grandmother in me after all!). I just don’t think it’s the holidays without a glinty glimmer here and there, and there are so many fun ways to do it.

  • Fill wine glasses and jars with silver tinsel and set around the room

  • Fill bowls with those shiny red ornaments you can get at the drug store for really cheap. When they are all jumbled together they look so pretty!
  • Place small mirrors under your candles for a shimmery reflection.
  • Sprinkle your tablescape with glitter and confetti. It’s a hassle to clean up, but the meal itself with be a sparkling wonderland.
  • Use extra scraps of your most sparkly wrapping paper to fold into stars and orbs and string them from the ceiling.
  • Fill those empty glass ornament with sequins for spin-worthy decorations that work as well on a tree as they do dangling from your overhead light.

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