15 Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas That Take Five Minutes or Less
Between buying presents and cooking the big meal, who has days to devote to decorating every corner of their home for the holidays? But not decorating at all could earn you a reputation as a Scrooge. The happy medium? Deck the halls with these easy holiday decor ideas that take less than five minutes (seriously!) to set up. Tiny touches, like hanging ornaments from the stair railings and adding a festive scent with cinnamon sticks, are all you'll need to decorate your home for the holidays. Here are our favorite under-five-minute ways to set the scene for Christmas.
Deck the Doorways
Beautify a Bar Cart
If you have a bar cart, decorate it with seasonal touches, like metallic accents and a vase of winter flowers or foliage (even a grocery store bouquet works!). Leave out glasses and all the essentials for basic cocktails so guests can help themselves—and you won't have to play bartender. This trick works no matter if you're hosting inside or outdoors this year.
Create a Makeshift Mantel
No fireplace? No problem. Let some open shelving stand in for a mantel, as the Emily Henderson Design team did here. Arrange decorative accents—think miniature trees, string lights, or snow globes—then hang the stockings from the bookshelves with care.
Take several lengths of heavy-gauge wire, knot one end of each, and string through a clementine and a jingle bell (yes, your hands may get a bit sticky). Twist all the wires into a cluster and secure with a large bow. Hang on a stair post or your front door.
Step It Up
Even if you're not decorating a full tree this year, you can still display some prized ornaments. Show off your most eye-catching ornaments hanging from beautiful ribbons throughout your home, including on the staircase.
Lend a Hand
Pin mittens―either stray ones or pairs your kids have outgrown―to lengths of yarn and display them along a mantel or a bookshelf. You can also hang kids’ striped wool socks or knit hats.
A Pine Idea
Perfectly at home in a modern apartment or an Adirondack-style log cabin, pinecone candles lend a touch of the forest to any decor. This set of three means you can scatter them along the dining table to create a dreamy glow.
To buy: $13 for 3, crateandbarrel.com.
Bundles of Joy
Try hanging something unexpected on the tree, like a bunch of fragrant cinnamon sticks. You can also leave fresh cinnamon sticks out in a bowl as a simple DIY take on traditional potpourri.
Just Log On
Here’s one roaring fire that isn’t a huge bother to get started. Simply search "Fireplace for Your Home" on Netflix to watch an old-fashioned fireplace set to (you guessed it!) classic holiday tunes.
Feast for the Eyes
Gather a bunch of doilies in white and silver and tape them together (or secure with a dab of glue) to form a one-of-a-kind table runner. For an inexpensive wintry centerpiece, fill glass vases and large compotes of different heights with pinecones. Spray-paint the pinecones gold and silver for extra sparkle, or leave them as nature intended.
It’s no secret that poinsettias can seem like nature’s equivalent of the fruitcake. But they can also make a sophisticated statement. The trick: take them out of their foil-lined pots and sink them into pretty vases.
Put your stamp on a wreath by hanging your surname’s initial in the center. This zinc version glitters in the light.
Turn old holiday cards into place cards. Cut them into star shapes and add tissue-paper cutouts to match; punch a hole, tie with a ribbon, and label accordingly.
Take a Bow
Finally, a use for those colorful store-bought bows you’ve saved every year―and a project the kids can do. Take a plain paper plate, cut out the center, and stick bows all over it to create a sweet wreath.
There’s more to holiday decorating than just the tree and the mantel―consider window ledges and empty bookshelves, too. Place pine boughs in a large vase and hang a handful of ornaments on them. Fill old jars with pistachio nuts, winterberries, or red peppercorns and nestle a tealight on top. Or go for a seashore motif, assembling an array of starfish draped with a length of plain red string.