Easy Decorating Hacks for the Holidays

Holiday stress is real. Sometimes, we just put too much pressure on ourselves to do too much instead of relaxing and enjoying this special time with family and friends. If you’re ready to enjoy your holiday season with as little stress as possible, we’d like to share some of our favorite decorating hacks.  

Black and white cat pulling string of white Christmas lights off of Christmas tree.

How to pet-proof a Christmas tree

Pets love Christmas trees so it can be challenging to keep them away. You could just get a sturdy artificial tree that is big enough not to topple over due to cat or dog shenanigans and anchor it securely to the wall. Then put up unbreakable decorations, don’t use ribbon or thread that could be dangerous for the pets to ingest, and take pictures of your adorable pet near—or in— the tree.

However, it can be dangerous for the pets to chew on the Christmas light wires, lightbulbs, tinsel, or metal ornament hangers. Be sure to only use dog-safe and cat-safe ornaments and Christmas decorations if you decide to include a tree in your Christmas decorating. 

If you want a cat-proof Christmas tree/dog-proof Christmas tree, try spraying Bitter Yuck spray (or another similar spray your vet recommends) on the tree. Especially toward the bottom. Be sure to stabilize the tree by anchoring it to the wall with fishing line. 

You could place a pet-proof gate or fence around the tree or only decorate the top part of the tree, if you have dogs. Or get a really small tree and lock it in the dog’s crate with the pet outside.

If you have amazing pet-parenting skills, you can also try training your dog not to touch the tree, but to lay on a mat near the tree. 

Baby girl in santa dress and hat in front of Christmas tree with silver decorations and white dear statues.

How to baby-proof a Christmas tree

You don’t want your baby trying to eat ornaments, lights, or tinsel. The holidays should be peaceful and fun, not full of electrical shock, choking, or danger for your sweet bundle of joy.

Try hanging your artificial Christmas tree from the ceiling. (Yes, people do this! It’s actually a trend originating from the 12th century in Europe.) Or put the tree in a pack-and-play or behind a sturdy fence/baby gate system. Anchor the tree to the wall with a fishing line so it can’t tip over. Also, consider using only unbreakable ornaments.

Another option, just use a ceramic Christmas tree this year on a table. Use a two-dimensional Christmas tree on the wall out of baby’s reach. Or skip the tree completely if it will create too much stress. It’s only for a year or two.

Charlie Brown Christmas tree time

How to choose the best Christmas tree height/size 

Before buying an artificial Christmas tree or mounting a live Christmas tree on your car, check the ceiling height in the area of your home where you want to display your tree. 

Most standard ceilings are 8 ft. high. Keep in mind that you probably want to have a star or tree topper above your tree, as well. If you want to use a tree topper, your tree should not be more than 7 ft. tall.

Trees are measured from the stand to the topmost tip. Be sure to consider the height of the tree stand in your calculations, as well. Also, consider how wide your Christmas tree should be. Allow 12 inches of space between your tree and surrounding furniture. Measure your floor space with a tape measure.

Take your tape measure (and previous home measurements) with you to the Christmas tree farm to be sure you choose the right-sized tree. If you are buying an artificial tree, the box will list the measurements.

Green Christmas wreath with red bow on bottom hanging on dark gray front door

How to hang a wreath on a door

Our favorite tip for hanging wreaths also uses 3M Command hooks. Simply place a large enough Command hook upside down on the inside of your front door. Measure a long enough piece of ribbon so that you can loop the ribbon on the back of the wreath and let it come up over the top of your front door to hang from the hook on the back of the front door. Voila!

Two story house with White Christmas lights, Christmas wreaths, and snow.

How to hang LED Christmas lights

Measure your home to be sure you have all the lights you need. Decide if you need to run a power-extension cord from an outlet. You have countless options: mini-LED Christmas lights,  snowflakes, warm white LED lights, icicle lights, or even color-changing LED Christmas lights. Then plug in the lights before you hang them. 

Make sure they work ahead of time with an LED Christmas light tester. It’s easier to replace burned-out light bulbs when you are on the ground or before lights go on trees, bushes, or the gutter.

Exterior LED Christmas lights

Weatherproof outdoor Christmas lights are a beautiful, inspiring addition to your holiday decorations. Some are easy to hang. For example, with net lights, you just lay the net over your bushes like a blanket. For inflatable decorations or yard decorations, you simply put them where you want them to go, run an extension cord, and maybe use power stakes with a timer. 

Better yet, consider solar LED Christmas lights or solar LED fairy lights so you don’t have to worry about extension cords or GFCI outlets. 

If you are hanging Christmas lights on the gutter or roofline of your house, simply use gutter clips or light clips to attach the light strands to your home. Never nails or staples because they could ruin the wires and cause a dangerous electrical problem. 

When you hang lights up high, be sure to keep safety tips in mind. Don’t use a metal ladder, only a strong wood or fiberglass ladder. 

Interior LED Christmas lights

Consider using 3M Command hooks or other removable hooks that don’t damage your walls or paint to hang your indoor Christmas lights. These hooks come in many sizes and are ideal for hanging garland, strings of lights, wreaths, stockings, and other decorations.

If dozens of lights are plugged in, be sure to use a new surge protector to avoid electrical fires or accidents. Also, to avoid potential fires, consider using LED flameless taper candles or LED flameless pillar candles on tables, window sills, and the mantle. 

LED candles keep your indoor air quality purer, are very energy efficient, and won’t set your home on fire or burn anyone even if a pet or child knocks them over. Another plus, many of the best LED candles have remote timers to make your evenings hassle-free.

Need some help putting up holiday decorations in the Columbia, SC area?

Hire a handyman to help move furniture or to hang or remove holiday lights and decorations indoors or outdoors. Don’t let holiday decorating stress you out. We’re here to help!

Please contact us today!


Home Safety Tips to Protect Your Family

Create a Dog-Paradise in Your Home

Make Your Home the PURRfect Sanctuary for Your Cat

Protect Your Family’s Packages from Sneaky Porch Pirates


The Right Light: Holiday Lighting Safety Tips by the Electrical Safety Foundation International

How to Cat-Proof Your Christmas Tree

How to Dog-Proof Your Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree Safety from the National Fire Protection Association

Get Started

If you’re ready to get started on your project, or you’d just like to ask a few questions, we’d love to hear from you at Punch List Pros. Give us a call today, and we can set up an in-home estimate. We look forward to hearing from you!

Man with ladder, man with drill and man carrying a box of supplies walking