Quick Holiday Decorating Ideas That Will Make Your Home Festive in 30 Minutes or Less


There's no place like home for the holidays, but dressing your house up for this celebratory season can feel like a time-consuming chore, especially if you have tons of timely gear (think lights, garland swags, and porch accents) to lug down from the attic. Here's the thing: Preparing your space for Christmas doesn't require a ton of store-bought embellishments—and the handmade stuff doesn't have to cost you an afternoon.

To help you curate a subtle, simple, and festive holiday scene, we went ahead and rounded up several quick and easy Christmas decorating ideas that you can tackle in 30 minutes or less. Take this suspended vignette, for example: With just two wreaths and some satin ribbon, you can make this spectacular decoration in a few easy steps.

We have plenty more tricks up our sleeve—ahead, you'll discover a myriad of simple, seasonal projects, from strung garlands (made from waxed dental floss!) and no-sew Christmas tree skirts to fun card displays and pine-centric floral arrangements.

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Mantel Upgrade

holiday mantle with gold details mirror
Stetten Wilson

Liven up your winter mantel with a few seasonal motifs; a store-bought bow pairs prettily with a greenery swag. This display works for Christmas and Hanukkah.

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Threaded Brass Ornaments

brass metal hardware Christmas ornaments
Ryan Liebe

Red string and brass tube beads can be twisted and tied into just about any seasonal shape. While these ornaments look lovely hanging from a Christmas tree (the crimson pops against the evergreen), they work just as well on door knobs or suspended from hooks.

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No-Sew Christmas Tree Skirt

Ribbon Tree Skirt
Lennart Weibull

If you have a roll of felt and a half hour, you can put together this no-sew Christmas tree skirt. A red, blue, and mint starburst modernizes the look.

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Natural Beauty

mantle white with wooden beaded garland and greenery

Line a mantel with a faux boxwood swag and, for a contemporary touch, finish the look with a wooden bead garland.

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Card Display


Wintry branches are beautiful on their own and easy to arrange in a large vase or vessel, but they are even more festive when you decorate them with cards you receive from friends and loved ones.

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Christmas Cloche


Let the garden inspire your holiday decorating: Display ornaments under a cloche-shaped glass cover that functions as a miniature greenhouse for outdoor plants (you can buy them at garden-supply stores). Filled with sparkly trimmings, each one will add radiance to any tabletop. To fill, turn a cloche upside down and balance it inside a teacup. Place ornaments, then invert a plate over the open end. Carefully turn cloche and plate right side up, and display.

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Pinecone Touches


By simply gathering pinecones from outdoors and adding a few embellishments, you can decorate your entire tree, a garland, or a wreath.

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Gumdrop Garland


This sweet holiday decorating idea is easy enough for little hands to make (as long as they don't end up eating all of the candy first). Just take any candy that you can pierce and string it onto waxed twine or dental floss.

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String-Light "Wall" Tree


Use adhesive hooks to hang lights in a myriad of holiday shapes. Here, we created a Christmas tree, the perfect wintry decoration for your child's bedroom.

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Pinecone Still Life


This simple arrangement will fill your home with the aroma of a winter walk in the woods. Pick a branch with interesting, sculptural lines and lots of fresh needles, and collect a few handfuls of pinecones to use as a frog to steady the branch. When you include woody plants like this in arrangements, cut the end that will be submerged with pruning shears; this allows it to absorb water more easily. Use a widemouthed glass vase so the pinecones are visible; fill with water, and set the branch firmly among the cones.

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Floss Garland

James Baigrie

The best material for stringing cranberry or popcorn garlands is inside your medicine cabinet. Waxed floss is strong and slick, so cranberries and popcorn will slide on easily. Knot one end of the strand and thread a needle onto the other; simply pierce through items and slip them on.

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Cottonball Tree


With a few bags of cotton balls, you can blanket a tree with the softest snow. Thread a needle with fifteen inches of fishing line and sew through two or three cotton balls, leaving gaps between (dab white glue next to each so it won't slide); make a loop for hanging. Use a sieve to add a dusting of cornstarch over the branches; cut batting for a skirt.

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Birch Vase

Lisa Hubbard

Create a unique vessel like this birch vase to arrange your winter floral arrangements. All you need is some birch bark, scissors, twine, and a vase.

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Easy, Wintry Arrangements


Unlike Narnia, where it's always winter and Christmas never comes, this land of ice and snow welcomes festivities (soundtrack: Louis Armstrong's "Cool Yule"). A combination of vintage and contemporary vessels holds white spider mums as well as seeded eucalyptus and blue Atlas cedar branches lightly frosted with silver floral spray paint. For a change of scene, line up containers across a mantel, along a windowsill, or down the middle of a table.

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Snowflake Lights

Lucas Allen

Create an idealized winter wonderland indoors using snowflake-like bouquet holders and a string of holiday lights. To make one of these garlands, slide a store-bought paper bouquet holder over each bulb. Hang the "snowflakes" inside a doorway or a window, and then plug in the lights.

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Leaf-Embellished Chandelier


A lovely, homemade decoration can be as easy as adorning light fixtures you already have in your home with magnolia leaves.

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