How To: Holiday Home Decor

from tree fillers to garland help

By the time Christmas is around the corner, we’ve seen holiday and tree décor at every turn. We get these grand ideas in our heads from Pinterest or Instagram, but can we be honest? It can be way more time consuming than expected to actually put all that together. Luckily one of our mommy bloggers has some great ideas for how you can get your home looking festive and holiday-party ready.


Welcome to December—the land of Christmas Crazies, daily shopping deals, unnecessary traffic and, of course, holiday cheer!

My family spent the weekend after Thanksgiving getting into the holiday spirit by devouring leftovers and decorating each of our homes for Christmas. It occurred to me along the way that, in the past, I found decorating could be stressful—especially with the pressures of having the perfect Instagrammable picture to share with my followers (or lack thereof). Now, it has become second nature—mostly in part to the pro tips I’ve picked up while watching my mom transform her home for the holiday season.

Like many families passing down recipes and traditions, I’ve learned most of my Christmas styling from my mom’s natural ability to make anything she touches look beautiful, yet purposefully cozy at the same time. These techniques and tricks (luckily) have become habitual, and are imperative to saving time and bringing a simple elegance to my décor. By sharing these tips, hopefully you too can spread some easy-peasy holiday cheer in your home.

Fluff that Tree

Don’t just take that sucker out of the box. Give it some love by spreading each of the branches both up and down and side-to-side. This gives the appearance of a fuller tree and prevents having an absurd amount of open spaces after decorating.

Pro Tip: If you have any lights or strands out, rather than restringing, grab a light tester. This handheld gadget can pin point which little bugger is causing the problem and send a quick-fix surge to the circuit.

Light Tester

The Perfect Tree Topper

You’d think I’d go the easy route here with a store-bought topper, but I’ve found that using Christmas floral options can make a more dramatic statement. I typically use a combination of branch, floral and cone stems and then use drape-y picks, such as Amaranthus or berries, underneath.

Branch Stem | Cherry Blossom Stem | Cone Stem | Amaranthus | Draped Berries 

Ribbon Made Easy

My favorite tip of all—save yourself the time and energy of tying bows, twisty ties and hooks by latching your ribbon onto branches. Try to attach it mid-way to the base of the tree to allow more space for ornaments. I also stick to using an odd number of ribbon streams on the tree to prevent it from looking too sectioned off.

Pro Tip: Try layering two ribbons for a more dramatic effect—one textured and one metallic—if you’re feeling adventurous.

Navy Velvet Ribbon | Metallic Wire Ribbon 

Hook-Free Ornaments

I can’t even remember the last time we purchased hooks for ornaments, but I believe we have an emergency stash somewhere. By wrapping our ornaments around branches, instead of hanging, it prevents dangling disasters while making the tree look fuller. Begin by looping it through the branch, holding the top, and wrapping until it is snug.

Filler Feathers

Even though we take precautionary measures and cross our fingers that we won’t have gaps in our tree décor, it seems to be inevitable. Toss some fun textured picks in there to fill the space, while at the same time adding personality and fun!

Feathers | Poms | Traditional Pine Cones

Tree Skirt Dilemma

Finding an acceptable tree skirt to match your colors and style can be hard. Take the easy way out by finding a coordinating piece of fabric from Joann’s instead.

Navy Satin Fabric 

Holiday Lighting

My husband says I have too many lamps. I can’t help myself; I love some good mood lighting! I recommend adding in some lanterns and filling them with frosted berries, twinkly lights and flameless candles for a trendy, yet moody, centerpiece. Feel free to pop some ribbon on for good measure.

Pro Tip: Place the candle on top of the twinkly lights battery pack, and then fill with berries.

Lantern Option 1 | Lantern Option 2 | Cranberry Vase Filler Flameless Candle | Twinkly Lights

Garlands Are Tough

How do you hang them? What is the right amount of drape? How do you add stocking holders in there? Have no fear; we have the solution. Command hooks! Use three heavy-duty clear hooks, two on each mantel corner and one in the middle. And (for heaven’s sake) wait the hour after applying, because it really does make a difference. Once you have waited the full hour, center your garland and hang it first in the middle. From there, play with the swoop of the drape. Then you can adjust the length that you want to hang on each side and fluff. I love a full-flocked garland without any adornment, but don’t let me stop you from adding coordinating stems, picks and filler to match your tree. Since I go with a fuller garland, I don’t have room for stocking holders; but I can’t not have stockings. The best solution is to attach them to a branch mid-way to the base of the garland. Loop through the branch and wrap to secure.

Flocked Garland | Stockings | Nutcrackers

The Wreath of Your Choosing

There are so many wreath options out there, so choose whatever makes your holiday heart happy. But I’m going to tell you that suction cup hooks are miracle workers! While adorning your windows with ribbon-hung wreaths is a beautiful trend, not everyone wants to nail into their door or house, so these clear hooks are such a great hack.

Suction Cup Hook

Holiday Knick-Knacks

Finally, I love to spread holiday cheer with special pieces around the house, especially since my daughter Rory is starting to realize what Christmas is. I’ve started to incorporate fun treasures that she can play with in each room that are durable and cute.

Christmas Tea Towels | Christmas Dish Towel | Santa Gnome | Advent Calendar | Stacking Nativity Scene | Vintage Tree


Jillian is currently leading Trend at The Michaels Companies, Inc. and has accolades amongst both fashion and trend corporations, having previously worked with industry giants such as Balenciaga, Twenty8Twelve, WWD and JCPenney. In her spare time, she is the editor of Drastically Appropriate, a Dallas based mom and fashion blog that displays her sometimes drastic, but always appropriate, style. Follow along with Jillian on Instagram and Facebook as she tries to keep it real while juggling her dream job, spending time with her soccer-obsessed husband, raising their 21-month old daughter and caring for their geriatric mini Pomeranian. 

Images courtesy of Emilee Prado– @emileeprado, www.emileeprado.com