With Halloween tomorrow, Christmas decor might not be at the front of your mind. But this time of year is the second-best spot on the calendar to score some great deals for decorating your home for the season (the best time is just after the holiday season, in January).

12weekschristmasSo if you enjoy decorating for Christmas, it’s not too early to start planning. With eight weeks left, the next month will fly by — and before you know it, it’ll be time to hang the wreath. This week’s project for 12 Weeks to a Peaceful Christmas is to inventory and plan your home decorating.

Here are a few ways to start planning your holiday decor now.

1.  Inventory what you have.

Hopefully your Christmas gear isn’t shoved way in the back of the attic. Wherever it is, however, do yourself a favor and find it now. It’s stressful to deal with it during the seasonal hubbub, and in a month or so when you’re ready, you’ll know exactly where it is.

Not only that, but you’ll know what’s in your boxes. You don’t need to make a detailed cross-reference graph, but take a quick look to see what you have. Do your lights still work? Plug them in and check. Has anything broken? Shuffle through your things to see if anything needs replacing or fixing.

2.  Make a list of what you’d like.

We’re not talking magazine-worthy decor here, but if there’s something you’d like to find, make a list and keep it with you. Just like your gift giving plans, if you keep a list with you, you’ll be less likely to buy things you just don’t need. Those holiday displays in the store are meant to entice you to buy more than you plan.

So if you’d like a new wreath for the front door, write it down, and keep it in your purse. That way, you can reference it when you’re out shopping for gifts, and if you see one you like for a great deal, you can snag it and then cross it off the list.

3.  Shop secondhand.

I love shopping at Goodwill and other similar stores. In fact, I found most of my home’s decor at one of the many thrift stores I hit up when I’m in the States. Before you go to any normal-priced stores, head to your neighborhood secondhand shop to check its inventory. Here are a few tips for shopping at thrift stores.

4.  Hunt the sales now.

snowflakes on windows

5.  Go homemade.

My preference is for homemade Christmas decor. Not only is it my preferred aesthetic taste, it’s also frugal, eco-friendly, and involves the whole family. Paper snowflakes hung on the windows, garlands of thrifted wool pieces threaded together, simple children’s projects… these, to me, make home a great place to be for the holidays.

There are scores of great holiday craft ideas on the internet — some of my favorite kid-friendly craft sites are Make and Takes, Let’s Explore, Soule Mama, and The Crafty Crow (which actually simply highlights craft ideas from all around the blogosphere).

6.  Embrace a simple look.

This might be the most important tip for your holiday decor this year. Less is more. Don’t aim for a house worthy of the cover spot on Southern Living, because at the end of the day, that’s not what Christmas is about. I love making my home a warm, inviting place — especially during the holidays — but it’s easy to get discouraged when you flip through home magazines and witness perfection.

Seek contentment with what you have. Make the decor you do display really pop with the right placement. Commission the kids to help decorate the house. And then stop worrying about a photo-worthy, Norman Rockwell-esque home, and enjoy hot cocoa in front of the fireplace with the family.

What’s your favorite holiday decor piece? Any new decorating plans for this year?

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