We asked Etsy's trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson on the etiquette of lights, wreaths, and more.

By Roxanna Coldiron
October 25, 2019

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 in to 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.

Johnny Miller

But is there, in fact, a simple answer to this hotly-debated question? 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 began shopping for their tinsel, garlands, and ornaments on Etsy as early as August of this summer, as Johnson points out. On Etsy's marketplace, they saw a 359 percent increase in holiday décor shopping in September alone. 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?

To do this, Johnson suggests starting with a solid staple with which you can switch out accessories. 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." 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).

Related: 12 To-Dos to Plan Ahead for the Holidays This Summer

Of course, if you were to follow someone's example, there is likely no better hostess of holiday merriment than our founder herself. Take a page out of Martha's book—literally, in the form of Living—and peruse the recipes, handmade gifts, and decorative ideas meant to inspire you during the season. All of these holiday projects take months of planning alongside her editors, which begins in the summer and ends in the middle of the season itself. "My editors work so hard all year, creating stories that will inspire charming and memorable celebrations, meals, and holiday festivities," Martha said in the December 2010 of Living. "Generally, they decorate for the holidays out of season, sometimes crafting for Christmas in June and Hanukkah in April."

This year in Martha's December calendar of Living, she plans 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. "Because I go all out with my decorating—lots of wreaths, garlands, trees, and handcrafted vignettes throughout the house and the farm," Martha explained back in 2010, "I love to share these visions with as many friends as possible."

So, if you want to deck the halls right now? That's fine, too. In fact, that may be just 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.

Make it merry like Martha and others around the country. And, if you're so inclined, begin your plans for next year early—say the day after Christmas?

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