The Not So Merry Truth about Decorating for the Holidays

Wow, Dec. 16th. I know it is a cliche but where did the time go?   Well I don’t know about you but December for me is always  SO busy. When it comes to blogging, I haven’t even found the time to read my favorite blogger’s posts never mind write a post.  Something happened earlier this week though that compelled me to write.  I was at a client’s home and she apologized that her Christmas tree sat naked and unadorned in in the corner of the family room.  This client works a full time job, has two young children, 2 dogs, a large house and a husband who travels extensively for work. Apologize?? For what?? For not staying up until 3am every night in December to get all the decorating, cleaning, shopping, card writing, wrapping, baking, and Ho Ho Ho-ing accomplished?

Okay, let’s just talk about one of these chores: holiday decorating. If you are a blog reader like me, you have seen so many beautifully decorated interiors over the past few weeks. Designers, and bloggers have opened up their home and shown all the creative, beautifully styled, beautifully photographed, holiday decor filling their home.  They make it seem effortless and “the norm”  which makes some of us feel the need to apologize when the tree sits undecorated 1 week before Christmas. You do not need to apologize. Let me tell you the not so merry truth about holiday decorating…IT TAKES TIME…LOTS OF TIME.

Take for example  Tobi Fairley’s incredible beautiful holiday playroom.


Tobi Fairley's Playroom

Now Tobi is one busy gal. Do you think she actually did this one evening when she got home from a long day at work? Absolutely not. Recently while attending Tobi’s fabulous Design Camp, she shared with us that to accomplish her holiday decorating she has a staff of designers that spend days upon days decorating and then a professional photographer who spends days more photographing.

I recently attended a holiday decorating talk by my friend Monique of  Monx’s Design House. Monique is a professional event planner so she knows how long it takes to decorate down to the minute. She shared with us that her own holiday party for 30 guests takes 80 hours. That’s planing time, prep time, and decorating time. 80 hours! It got me thinking, so this year I decided to track how long it took me to decorate just a few areas of my own home. Here is the not so merry truth and why I haven’t found the time to blog.

 Wreath for front door:  1 hour 5 minutes.


Linda Holt Photo

10 mins. picking out wreath: 15 min. standing in line to pay for wreath. 40 minutes decorating wreath and another 30 minutes looking for wreath hook . (okay, I know that is my fault so I am not even going to count that).

Christmas tree: 4 hours,42 minutes.



Picking out “the one” :30 minutes. standing in same 15 minute line as with wreath. 12  minutes putting tree in stand and bringing into house (luckily I knew right where the stand was). Putting lights on tree: This is my husband’s job and he spent 4 hours stringing the lights while watching the Patriots game on TV. Okay there was some non productive time here like eating, drinking beer and yelling at the TV so let’s say 2 hours total on this. Putting the ornaments on tree 2 hours.


Entrance way:  3 hours.

Linda Holt Photo


Time was spent polishing the silver candle sticks, decorating the little silver bowls, and hanging the ornaments from the overhead chandelier.


Detail of the silver bowls

Linda Holt


Dining Table: 3.5 hours


Linda Holt

Time included polishing silver candle sticks, ironing the table cloth, stringing up the hanging ornaments, setting the table  (no glassware yet as that was all in dishwasher) and decorating the little tree in the corner.


Linda Holt


Summing it all up; putting a wreath on the front door, decorating the entrance way, decorating the tree and setting the table took a total of 12 hours and 17 minutes. Sounds crazy huh? I also decorated the living room, the kitchen and the mantle. I didn’t keep track of that time but I am sure it was at least another 4-5 hours.

So please be kind to yourself if your tree is still undecorated, the gifts are not wrapped (or bought as in my case) and you feel unprepared. It all takes time…lot’s and lot’s of time.


If any of you have actually found the time to read this post… How many hours  do you think your decorating took?


Lastly,  be sure to visit my Face Book page at I am posting a single photo a day  for 31 days of holiday inspiration and “eye candy”.


























7 Responses to The Not So Merry Truth about Decorating for the Holidays
  1. mariann roach Reply


    I have really enjoyed your blog. I met you at Tobi’s camp and have enjoyed your comments!

    I remember you saying you did photography. Have you blogged about photography tips for interiors? Your pictures look great and I could use info on improving mine!

    Thanks so much!

    Mariann Roach

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Oh, Mariann you are SO kind. I wish I did take better photos as I always feel my interiors look so bad. I was a head shot photographer for 25 years not an interior photographer and I know very little about shooting interiors. Thanks for the comment though as I always feel the need to apologize for my photos.
      How are things in CO?

  2. kristie@thedecorologist Reply

    Great post, dear. I feel so overwhelmed with Christmas preparations right now and I’m working 4 days next week – and my kids are out of school that whole time, I don’t know what I was thinking! Too much to do, too little time. Anyway, good to hear a word of reality about “the most wonderful time of the year.” I feel sure our focus is just a little “off,” don’t you?

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Kristie, yes, things have gotten out of hand for sure. I purposely took last week and Christmas week off but I am hosting two Christmas parties, and doing Christmas eve dinner. I am stressed even without working and my kids are grown! I was hoping when I wrote this post that you wouldn’t tell me your incredible decorating was all done in an afternoon. Keeping track of the hours was an eye opener for sure. Now it’s on to baking, shopping, cards, cleaning and more cleaning…yikes I hope we all survive. Good luck next week and just think of all the $$$ you will be making to pay off Christmas!

  3. Sheila @SZInteriors Reply

    Linda, this is an awesome post! My decorating took hours and hours, over days and days. My ornaments sat in the way for over a week – drove me crazy. The tree stood in the stand unadorned for 2 days, then it only got the lights, then waited another day for ornaments. I hung ornaments in all our main floor windows, but didn’t get to the feature window until a week later! In the past I’ve always done a 2-day marathon of decorating over a weekend, and it was usually the weekend closest to the 10th or a little later. But being part of the blogging community was the inspiration to get going earlier. I’ve enjoyed it, but am concerned about the message that is inadvertently being sent. My husband and I have had many discussions about this ‘frenzy’ that seems to be happening in spite of the actual reality that decorating as early as this is more of a phenomenon than a common pattern. All the comments I’ve read – I can’t tell you how many – where people are stressing about their decorating not being done is alarming. It’s giving me lots to think about for next year!

    I have missed your blog, and I really appreciate this post! I am so glad you’re back – or at least here today, because this post is exactly why I love your blog. You said what needed to be said! In spite of trying to stay on top of posts, here I am, a day late catching this one and it’s one that I’ve been watching for!

    Your decorating is beautiful, and your table looks lovely just as it is without the glassware. I can’t wait to see it with the glassware!!!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family Linda.
    xo Sheila

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks so much Sheila for the comment. I totally can relate to everything you said. I felt extra pressure this year because I am blogging now and felt the need to “show off my house”. Most of my friends and clients are stressing and I thought this is just crazy. Keeping track of the time really put things in perspective for me. What have we all done to ourselves??…and why???

  4. Lisa Goulet Reply

    This post hit the nail on the head for me. I spent at least 30 hours decorating my house and my cottage for Christmas. As you know, then you are supposed to do the holiday party, the baking, the shopping, the wrapping, the cards… I think we all need to get back to a simpler Christmas and stop stressing ourselves out.

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