Downsized? How to Decorate Your New Smaller Home for the Holidays


At this stage of life, you’re looking forward to a simpler lifestyle with less clutter, more freedom, new friends, and new memories.

Your kids are now grown and have left the nest. You might be single, widowed, or a couple. No matter what, holidays have changed for you. The once bustling household filled with your children, family, and friends, is suddenly quieter… especially if they won’t be coming home for the holidays this year.

A welcome respite from the overwhelm and stress of past holiday seasons, but also, a little unnerving because you don’t know how to make your smaller home feel like Christmas!

Do you remember all of the years you would go “all out” to decorate every inch of your large home to make it look and feel like a Christmas Wonderland?

When you would spend weeks preparing, decorating, pulling boxes up from the basement full of stored holiday decorations to create the magic of a Hallmark Christmas.

And then, just when you thought you were finished decorating so that you could relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor, you find one more area that still needs to be decorated! Everything had to be just perfect!

And as soon as that was over, there would be something else that got in the way of you slowing down long enough to simply enjoy what you had created.

But now that you’ve decluttered and downsized, you have less stuff and less space.

Life just got a little easier when it comes to decorating for the holidays. Downsizing has given you an opportunity to rethink overdecorating. It has also given you an opportunity to “change things up” and to do things a little differently by intentionally creating new traditions with new friends while savoring only the old traditions that matter most to you.

As the “Downsizing Designer” and as a nationally recognized interior designer for over 35 years, these are my top 8 tips to decorate your new smaller home so that it will exude the warmth, welcoming holiday feel that says, “Come sit a while. Let’s just enjoy this beautiful holiday season together.”

#1: Create Your Vision and Goals for the New Holiday Look and Feel You Want

Capture the simple essence of Christmas, a home that is warm, welcoming with traditional touches of holiday sounds, scents, color, and light.

This is your opportunity to design it exactly as you want… the feel, the look, the smells. This step is so important because you are taking time upfront to intentionally create the environment that will be the backdrop for your wonderful holiday and beginning of new traditions.

#2: Commit to Keeping It Simple

Less is more. When you think like a minimalist, you will surround yourself with only those things that have meaning and are beautiful to you.

Don’t over decorate. We’ve all been guilty of “more is more.” It never ends and it’s exhausting! Use a few well-placed larger items for impact. Avoid too many small items that tend to look cluttered, especially in a small space.

#3: Immerse Yourself in the Experience of Decorating Your New Home

When you have fewer rooms to decorate and when you have already edited your holiday decor, you will soon realize that holiday decorating is not a chore at all.

Embrace the process by picking a day, setting out your decorations, turning on your favorite holiday music, and lighting the candles. Grab a fine glass of wine, then set the stage for a fun day of decorating. Make it memorable.

#4: Be Creative with What You Already Have

You’ll soon realize you probably have everything you need right in front of you. If you’re tempted to go out and buy more, look around your home and get creative with things you already have.

See them through different eyes this time.

#5: Be Inspired by the Life-Giving Power of Nature

Green is a healing color, one that gives life, balance, and peace. Be inspired by what you find in nature: green trees, wreaths, garlands, pinecones, and branches. Contrast them with bold color: red ribbon, poinsettias, and berries.

#6: Experience the Magic of Lights

Lights are where the magic happens. Light up your life and your holiday with tree lights, candle lights, and accent lights. Create the glow that will invite you to simply sit and enjoy.

#7: Decorate Early, Enjoy It Longer

When you are done, you are done. Period. Be content with the ambience you’ve created. Don’t fall into the trap of “more.” Now it’s time to invite people into your home so they can enjoy it too!

decorating with grandchildrendecorating with grandchildren

#8: Take Time to Create Special Moments

Now that you’re done with your holiday decorating, it’s time to take it to the next level by creating new experiences, new special moments, and new memories that will last a lifetime.

Some Examples:

Santa’s Give-Back Sack 

Teach your grandchildren to recycle their gently used toys by putting them into a Give-Back Sack so Santa can take them and redistribute them to other children.

Grandchildren’s Tree

Spend an afternoon with your grandchildren, decorating ornaments for their own special Christmas tree. They can then gift the handmade ornaments to their parents.

Lifetime Videos

  • Take this “newfound” time in your schedule to give an interview to your grandkids about your own holiday memories.
  • Record on video your kids or grandkids about special holiday messages.
  • Record yourself about your own experience of decluttering and living with less.

Watch my Holiday Home Décor Sneak Peek.

Try a New Recipe or Create One of Your Own 

Now that you have more time, why not prepare one of your favorite recipes or learn how to create a new one?

As you take the time to relax and simply enjoy the beautiful new environment that you designed, you will also realize how decluttering and downsizing helped you discover that… it’s not just the beautiful decorations you had more time to enjoy, but also that you had time to create a new simpler lifestyle.

What special moments will you create this holiday season? How have you managed to decorate your smaller space without overdoing it?

Let\’s Have a Conversation!


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