Angie's LIST Guide to
Holiday Decorating

Christmas and Halloween are the holidays that call for the most decorating. Here are some helpful tips for choosing a Christmas tree, hanging holiday lights and hiring help with the decorating.


Professional holiday decorators can spruce up the inside and outside of your home and make sure it is ready for the holidays. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Andrew S.)
Professional holiday decorators can spruce up the inside and outside of your home and make sure it is ready for the holidays. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Andrew S.)

Christmas and Halloween

Holiday decorating is typically associated with Christmas, which is the biggest holiday for decorating and the holiday when the most money is spent on decorations. Halloween is a heavily decorated holiday as well; many people spend as much money decorating for Halloween as they do for Christmas. According to Consumer Nation, consumers spend about $228.4 billion on various holidays throughout the year. About 6 percent of the amount spent is used for decorations and costumes. MSN estimates that the amount spent on Christmas decorations across the United States, including lights, trees, ornaments and other decorative items, is $6 billion.

The Christmas tree

A tree is the most popular decoration for Christmas, and both natural and artificial trees have advantages and disadvantages.

Artificial trees

An artificial tree is the perfect solution for families with allergies. It saves money over buying a natural tree every year. Modern artificial trees can look as real as natural trees and can be easily stored. When choosing an artificial tree, have a budget in mind; some artificial trees are quite expensive. Measure the area where the tree will be placed and buy the tree at least a foot shorter than the height of the ceiling to allow for a tree topper.

Natural trees

If you prefer a live Christmas tree, you can buy one already cut or you can cut it yourself. A live tree will typically last four to six weeks before drying out completely. When trimming the tree, cut the branches with a upward cut to enhance the natural shape. Trim about an inch from the bottom of the trunk to allow water to be drawn up. A live tree must always have water, so check the level daily. It should cover about one inch of the bottom of the trunk.

Decorating with lights

Lights are popular decorations for Christmas and Halloween. If you're using lights from previous years, always check to be sure they work. Check for burned out bulbs, and make sure there are no torn wires.

If you want new lights, there are many options. Here are some basic things to know:

  • LED lights are more energy-efficient than older kinds of decorative lights.
  • When buying lights, always buy strands in the sizes you need. For example, if you need 20 feet of lights, it will be a better value and an easier hanging job to buy one long strand instead of two 10-feet strands. Using longer strands also will reduce the need for extension cords.
  • LED lights and small miniature lights are the safest type. They use the least amount of electricity and are easier to hang.
  • Make sure lights you buy have extra bulbs included.
  • If you're hanging them outdoors, make sure they're outdoor safe.
  • Never hang indoor lights outside.
  • Although outside lights can be hung indoors, it is recommended that you use only those intended for indoors because they do not get as hot as outdoor lights.

Holiday decor at work

Holiday decorating isn't just something to do at home. Decorating the office is a great way to boost employee productivity and morale. Here are some tips for decking the halls at work:

  • Get the seal of approval. Make sure the boss approves the idea of decorating, as well as the finished plan.
  • Keep costs down. Set a budget. Consider shopping at thrift shops, dollar stores and clearance sales.
  • Keep it inclusive. If your business hires or services people of all faiths, make sure employees and visitors feel welcome by avoiding religious motifs.
  • Connect theme to the business. Get office colleagues who enjoy crafts to lead the charge in creating unique decor with recycled or inexpensive materials, such as paper, cardboard, paint and scissors. Connect the items to the business, if you can.
  • Consider outsourcing. If there's some money in the budget but no time to get the job done, consider hiring help. There are decorators and others who provide holiday decorating services. Consider also how Angie's List can help. Members have access to local consumer reviews on holiday decorators and service providers in more than 550 other categories.

Add comment

Anonymous reviews are Internet graffiti.  Angie's List has real reviews from real people.

What is Angie's List?

Angie’s List is the trusted site where more than 2 million households go to get ratings and reviews on everything from home repair to health care. Stop guessing when it comes to hiring! Check Angie’s List to find out who does the best work in town.


Ask a question on any topic covered by Angie's List and see responses from expert service providers and other homeowners with advice to share. Most popular florists questions:

Local Discounts

Daily deals up to 70% off popular home improvement projects from top-rated contractors on Angie’s List!