We checked in with Etsy's trend expert, Dayna Isom Johnson, about the etiquette of putting up lights, wreaths, and more.
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Thanksgiving has yet to pass, and still the first signs of the holidays—wreaths, ornaments, lights, and trees—say it all: We're well on our way to the countdown to Christmas. And while research claims that people who give into the holiday spirit are happier, it can't be denied that many of us would prefer to enjoy our Thanksgiving turkey before a bite of gingerbread and a glass of eggnog. But is there, in fact, a simple answer to the hotly-debated question, "Is it too early to decorate for the holidays?"

It was once considered to be the general rule of thumb to wait until after Thanksgiving before decorating for Christmas, but, in modern times, that no longer seems to be the case. "People are getting excited [for Christmas] earlier and earlier," says Etsy's trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson. "And we shouldn't hold back anyone's excitement for the holiday time because it's a moment to celebrate friends and family, and spend quality time together."

People begin shopping for their tinsel, garlands, and ornaments on Etsy as early as August, as Johnson points out. But for those far-ahead holiday planners, how can you now begin to incorporate Christmas into your fall and Thanksgiving décor? And is it possible to ease the transition from one holiday to another?

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Credit: Johnny Miller

How to Decorate for Christmas

To adorn your home with festive decorations at a gradual pace, Johnson suggests starting with solid staples and then switching out accessories.

Implement Pumpkins

One great example of this is white pumpkins. "You can use them for Halloween if you get cut-out decals, and you can have your faces on the pumpkin," she suggests. "Then, you remove the decals; and for Thanksgiving, you can incorporate more gourds or harvest themes. To transition into the holiday season, perhaps you want to add a touch of metallic."

Style Your Home With Wreaths

Another decorative element that can be easily transitioned from holiday to holiday is the wreath. Johnson says to choose a wreath form—a rounded wire form, a wooden hoop, or a brass ring—and customize it with holiday-centric details as the seasons change (think spiders and mice for Halloween, leaves for fall and Thanksgiving, then ornaments and crystal-like appliqués for the Christmas season).

When to Decorate for Christmas

Of course, if you were to follow someone's example, there is likely no better hostess of holiday merriment than our founder herself—so feel free to take a page out of Martha's book.

Try Martha's Rule of Thumb

In Martha's December 2019 calendar of Martha Stewart Living, she planned to string up the outdoor lights and decorate the house with her grandchildren Jude and Truman all in the first week of December, followed by holiday table settings on the 19th and hanging the family stockings on the 21st, less than a week before Christmas Day. "I go all out with my decorating—lots of wreaths, garlands, trees, and handcrafted vignettes throughout the house and the farm," Martha wrote back in the December 2010 of Living. "I love to share these visions with as many friends as possible."

Consider What Science Says

And if you want to deck the halls right now? That's fine, too. In fact, that may be the right idea: A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that people who were shown photographs of a home that looked merry and bright with Christmas decorations perceived the people who lived there as more friendly and sociable than houses without décor. These decorated houses were seen as more "open" or accessible, regardless of how much the inhabitants commingled with their neighbors.

Comments (1)

Martha Stewart Member
November 17, 2020
It is going to be tough this year. People don’t have jobs, money, or even their homes. Because of the virus we are barely able to buy food for a week much less thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s lovely to see all you decorations. They are always beautiful. But, this year should just be skipped over.