Glorious Holiday Decorating (Without Breaking the Bank or Losing Your Sanity)

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Decorating for the holidays can be both expensive and emotionally draining. But you can decorate your home beautifully--on a budget--by following just a few simple suggestions.

First, you can create a happy holiday impression on your guests by simply concentrating your decorating efforts on your front door. Surrounding the entrance to your home with colorful lights, interwoven with garlands of greenery, offers a cheery "Welcome Home" atmosphere, without the need for ladders and endless strings of lights.

If putting up all of your decorations has become more of a chore than a delight during the holiday season, consider dividing your collection in half and alternating them every other year. That will require only half the amount of work, and the decorations will have more meaning, since you'll be putting up different ones every year.

If you spend extra money on costly additives for keeping your Christmas tree from turning brown, you can take heart from the National Christmas Tree Association, which says that plain tap water is the best source of moisture for your tree. In fact, some commercial additives and home concoctions can actually be detrimental to a tree's moisture retention and increase needle loss, according to the NCTA.

You can save a considerable amount of money, and make your holidays more meaningful, by creating your own decorations, using your family's heritage as a guideline. You can incorporate family pictures or treasured mementos to create totally unique decorations, and it's a great way to honor your ancestors while helping your children feel more connected with their family's history.

And finally, you won't have to take down the old decorations and put up new ones for your New Year's Eve celebration, if you recycle your holiday wreaths and garlands after Christmas simply by spray painting them silver or gold.

The holidays can be a stressful period, but you can avoid the financial stress and the emotional burden by using these simple suggestions. Happy holidays!

(c) Copyright 2004, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

Jeanette Fisher, Design Psychology Professor, is the author of "Joy to the Home" eNewsletter, interior design and real estate books. For Design Psychology information, visit Ask your holiday decorating questions here:

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