Credit: Courtesy

Although I’m having a difficult time wrapping my head around the fact that it’s already Thanksgiving, clearly some of my friends and clients are not. Twinkle lights, holiday figurines, and Christmas trees are already on display in their homes, and, thinking back to last year, I guess I’m not surprised. In 2020, we dined with family over Zoom and forfeited gatherings, so it’s easy to understand why some have a jump-start on their holiday decorating this year. 

Credit: Courtesy

I’ll admit that I’m an advocate of the “less is more in holiday décor” approach, but I do like to find new ways to display seasonal decorations. So, in case you’re in need of inspiration to deck your halls, I’ve gathered my favorite holiday styling tips: 

1. Add organic accessories.  According to online marketplace Etsy, searches for “woodland creature ornaments” are up 33 percent this year over the same period last year! Who knew? If a brightly colored palette isn’t your thing, go for an organic look by adding natural elements to your traditional décor. Incorporating items such as plant-patterned menorahs, dried foliage, and driftwood can help add an earthy yet modern vibe to your holiday home.

2. Hang greenery in unexpected places.  Okay, so holiday greenery isn’t exactly novel décor, but hanging wreaths and garlands in unexpected places can help bring a refreshed look. If you always hang a piece of garland on the banister, drape it over a doorframe or hang it on a mirror instead. I’ve also seen greenery draped on a kitchen hood, but this screams of a fire hazard to me (so please don’t do it).

3. Use several types of garlands.  When it comes to garland, the more the merrier, I say! Using several different types of garland adds depth and dimension, which adds interest and makes your holiday look uniquely yours. I love mixing garlands of eucalyptus leaves with strings of natural paper flowers for an organic vibe. 

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4. Pair multiples to make a statement.  A great way to decorate your mantle or add some holiday cheer to your entry table is by using multiples of the same piece grouped together. I like to hang multiple versions of the same wreath — one in every window at the front of the home. When grouping multiples of the same item, like figurines, be sure to vary in size for interest (one smaller item and one larger item side by side). 

5. Swap holiday décor with a friend.  If sitting at home for the better part of the past two years has taught most of us anything, it’s that we have too much stuff. Please know that I’m not advocating for you to rush out and buy more holiday décor! Instead, take a box of your decorations to a friend’s house and borrow some of theirs. It will feel like you’ve got a whole new holiday look for free!

Christine S. Cowles is owner of Styled & Staged Santa Barbara, offering home staging and interior styling services. She is a certified Staging Design Professional™, member of Santa Barbara Association of Realtors and Real Estate Staging Association, and a proud WEV graduate. She can be reached at

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