It’s that time of the year when I like to offer suggestions on decorating your house for Christmas.
I’ve written similar articles in the past, but this year‘s list reflects newer tools and hints, so here goes: Figure out if, and where, you can use timers.
I became obsessed with timers about two years ago because you can totally customize your decorations with them, and you can have lights on the tree or other places on if, and when, you want them.
They can be initially a significant expense, but they make holiday time so much simpler that they are worth every penny. For my doorway and outdoor wreath I use a photoelectric grounded one that turns on at dusk or can be programmed to go off at daylight or in two hours increments.
For my indoor trees I use digital timers because I want them on nightly. For my mantle, which I only want to use when I'm at home, I use a remote-controlled device. Extension cords that can be turned on with your foot are very handy too if outlets are hard to reach.
If you have a phone with a camera you might take a photo of the plug outlet you are using (is a three-prong grounded plug, does timer only have one plug receptacle, etc?). It will pay off.
I do recommend buying timers at a home improvement store, and personally have found those at Home Depot to be most trustworthy. Be sure to keep your receipt in case one doesn’t work out for you because I have returned more than one cheap timer to a discount store. Trust me, cheap ones are not worth your time.
If you’ve made a Christmas notebook as I suggested in years past, consult that to see what worked last year and what didn’t. I keep photos of decorations I like in a notebook, which makes it easy to replicate them.
This year, because I want to minimize, I threw about 80 percent of my previous ideas away and decided to start fresh. I’m just not that into decorating and can find new ideas on Pinterest if I run out of those of my own. Plus. I think I’m going to use only things with the color red (and I have tons of that).
After you pull the boxes out of the attic put each in its designated areas and put the créche (manger scene) in a prominent place. It's the only decoration that matters anyway, and it will help you remember why you’re doing all this.
Get out a ladder and tie a pair of scissors around your neck, making sure the blades don't hurt you, and get out a tool belt or apron with pockets where you have paddle wire, wire cutters, transparent tape, masking tape and a hammer and nails (and/or those Scotch command strips) handy.
Have a trash receptacle close by.
I like to use an old fashioned hopping bag with twine handles (because it stands up and you can throw stuff into it easily), but those bags sold at most retailers now for recycling would work equally well.
If you're assembling an artificial tree don a pair of rubber gloves with the longest cuffs possible to keep your hands and arms from getting scratched up and get to work or use vegetable oil removes pine pitch from your hands.
Turn on your Christmas music (I love the Pandora app Christmas station) and work from your way from room to room. Take a break from time to time. Then get up and get back at it again.
When I went to church the Sunday before Thanksgiving I was overwhelmed with how many people have already decorated the exterior of their houses. That must mean their interiors are decorated too. How envious I am of them.
When you’re finished sit down and turn on Burl Ives singing “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas,” get out the spiced tea and put a swig of rum in it. Then admire your handiwork.
And after you’re finished send good thoughts my way because I probably won’t have begun to start. You can let me know I’ll get through it too.
’Til next week.