11 Big Mistakes You Make Decorating for the Holidays

Make your Christmas display more practical — and more special.

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Don't get us wrong: If your Christmas decor makes you happy, you're totally doing it right. But you might be missing out on some ways to make it a little easier, and more fun. Here are the missteps decorating experts notice most often:

1. You don't add personal flair to your store-bought décor.

Decor that you pick up at big-box stores can look a little, well, mass-produced. To add a personalized touch without actually making all of your decorations, try dressing up purchased pieces.

"Take a little piece of grandma's apron and wrap it around your figurines (like holiday mice or ballerinas), or add a little necklace to one of them," says Kim Williams, owner of in Burbank, CA and florist for . "It makes them more sentimental."

2. You feel the need to cover every surface.

It's easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit, but there's Christmas cheer and then there's Christmas clutter. Apply Coco Chanel's golden rule ("remove one piece of jewelry before you leave the house") to your home's festive look.

Williams suggests taking a picture of your display after you put it together, so you can see it in a different light. "When you look at it on your computer, you might be surprised how messy things can get."

Simplify by adding a few Christmasy items (like red flowers or twinkle lights) to pieces you already own. "Every holiday collection I design includes metallic accents like and . These are things that can be repurposed and left out once its all over," says designer .

3. You miss out on opportunities to turn decorating into traditions.

Hanging lights and decking out the tree can feel like a chore if you don't get the whole family involved. Start an annual tradition of or shopping for new ornaments together. "Purchase ornaments when you go on a special family trip," says Ace Design Expert . "It's fun to relive travel memories when decorating, and your tree will become ingrained with your family history."

4. You forget you can grab décor from your yard.

"All you need are a few evergreen branches and some florist wire to make a beautiful garland," says Williams.

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5. You default to red and green.

"If these traditional Christmas colors clash with your everyday decor (or you've just grown tired of them), there's no reason you ," says interior designer .

Don't balk at quieter hues; they can be just as cheery, but a bit more elegant. "Mix cream shades with blush and wine tones, and it will look holiday without being too loud," says Target Home Style expert . "And always, always, add metallics. I love mixing all metals (gold, silver, and copper). Use them evenly throughout the space so it looks intentional."

6. You own 10 lawn inflatables.

A bevy of these oversized characters (every reindeer, Santa, and nutcracker you can find) can overpower your yard quickly. "Plus, they look terrible when they're not inflated," says Richard. Stick to just one that incorporates with a more refined theme, like a snowman as the centerpiece for your "winter wonderland."

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7. You keep Christmas cards in a box.

Fancy, festive stationery only fills your mailbox once a year, so take advantage of the pretty possibilities. "Christmas cards are lovely when framed, nestled into garland, or bordering a doorway," says managing editor Catie Parrish.

8. You don't measure your ceiling before you go .

And remember to bring the tape measure to the tree lot. You shouldn't rely on eye-balling it; chances are you'll end up with too-short or too-tall tree.

Coordinately Yours

9. You forget about scents.

The holidays are as much a feast for your nose as they are for your eyes, ears, and tastebuds. Try a for your holiday party or (like this one from ) to display throughout the season.

10. You don't think about swapping out family photos.

It's a subtle change, but switching your beach vacation snaps for ones of your family playing in the snow can complete the holiday vibe in your house. "Display shots of your kids ice skating or decorating cookies," says lifestyle expert . "It's the season to cherish and remember these memories."

11. You forget to prep for next year as you take everything down.

Consider yourself a year from now. You'd probably appreciate neatly stacked boxes, helpful labels, and broken items already replaced with ones found during the post-Christmas sale season. Store and label your decorations by room, instead of stashing, say, all of the lights together, even though you use them all over the house. It'll make next year's routine go smoother.

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