15 Cringeworthy Holiday Decorating Mistakes to Avoid - QC Design School

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and fun. But for many homeowners, it’s also a time to make some potentially cringe-worthy decorating mistakes. From using too much “holiday cheer” to not being safe when decorating, we’re going to cover the 15 biggest holiday decorating mistakes you should avoid this year!

So, let’s see which of the biggest blunders have made the list!

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15 Holiday Decorating Mistakes That are Super Cringey

1. It Looks Like Christmas Threw Up All Over Your Home

Looks, we’re all for getting into the holiday spirit – but there’s such a thing as going too far! Specifically, if the inside of your home looks like the inside of Santa’s Workshop. Too much tinsel, glitter, garlands, or other holiday decorations can quickly turn your home into something that looks like a tacky Christmas store.

What To Do Instead

Keep it simple and classy! Incorporate some festive elements that you really love, but don’t go overboard. When it comes to holiday decorating tips, remember that a little can go a LONG way if you do it right.

PRO TIP: Here are 9 awesome interior decorating ideas that’ll make your home truly shine this holiday season!

2. Overloading on Lights

When it comes to holiday decorating mistakes, this is a big (and very common) one. After all, we know how easy it is to get carried away when stringing up Christmas lights! Light up the tree, sure – but do you really need to cover every inch of your house in them?

Here’s the problem: Too many lights can be overwhelming and distracting. Not to mention it might just blow your electrical bill through the roof – and no one wants that!

What To Do Instead

When it comes to decorating with lights, less is more. Focus on making one or two areas of your home really shine. You could light up the tree, hang icicles around the windows, or even line the roof and gutters with them.

Just make sure that wherever you decide to put up lights, that you do so safely!

3. Relying Too Much On Store-Bought Decorations

Decorating your home with store bought decorations is the easy way out – but it’s not very creative or unique! Of course, you might be thinking, “Is that really ‘cringeworthy’, though?”

Well, here’s the thing… While store-bought holiday decorations can save you time and money, they’re not really saying anything about you or your home.

And isn’t kind of the point when it comes to decorating?

What To Do Instead

Try to find some DIY holiday decor ideas that will make your home stand out from the crowd. A handmade wreath, a festive centerpiece, or even something as simple as paper snowflakes can really add some personality and charm to your home this holiday season!

PRO TIP: Learn how to make your very own wreaths – as well as all sorts of other amazing floral designs – by taking QC Design School’s self-paced, online Floral Design certification course!

A traditional bright Christmas wreath hanging over the fireplace, on a white brick wall, and packaged gifts are stacked on a fireplace with candles. Christmas concept, new year. Holiday decorating article.

4. Not Using the Right Lights

Incandescent lights are nice, but they create lots of heat and can be fire hazards. Not to mention, incandescent lights draw a lot of power, which can cause your electricity bill to skyrocket. And during the holiday season, this is the LAST thing you want to worry about!

What To Do Instead

Instead, opt for red lights – a.k.a. LED lights!

For starters, LED lights are remarkably energy-efficient. They last for up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use up to 90% less energy. Plus, they’re much cooler – literally – and can help keep your home safe from potential fires.

Also, the fact that they look stunning when lit up at night is a happy bonus!

5. No Rhyme or Reason to Your Color Scheme

Are you guilty of throwing together whatever decorations happen to catch your eye when you’re out shopping? While it might seem harmless, this can actually lead to some major holiday decorating mistakes!

Having a mish-mash of random colors and designs in your home can make it look cluttered and uncoordinated – far from the cozy, inviting atmosphere you’re aiming for.

What To Do Instead

Before you start decorating, take some time to plan out your color scheme. Pick a few colors that go together and stick to them. This will help create a cohesive, festive atmosphere in your home – without being too overwhelming or garish.

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6. Your Real Christmas Tree is Dry and Withered

It’s no secret that real Christmas trees can be expensive – but they make such a beautiful, authentic holiday atmosphere. Nothing else quite compares to the aroma of a freshly cut pine tree in your home!

However, here’s the problem: If you don’t take care of it properly, your tree can quickly become dry and withered. And this not only drastically takes away from your decor – it’s also a fire hazard.

What To Do Instead

When you bring home a fresh Christmas tree, make sure to place it in water right away. This will keep the tree hydrated and help prevent it from drying out quickly.

Also, be sure to regularly check the water level in the tree stand – and add more if needed. This will help keep your tree looking healthy and attractive for the entire holiday season!

7. Too Much Red and Green

Red and green are obviously great colors for the holidays – but too much of either can quickly look tacky. Plus, if you’re not careful with how you use them, it can make your home feel more like an eye-sore than a festive retreat!

What To Do Instead

Mix up your color palette by adding some other shades. You can add some white for a classic, wintery look or incorporate some blue and silver for a more modern feel.

Also, try to balance out the bright colors with muted tones – like browns, creams, and grays. This will help create visual contrast and make your holiday decor look even more beautiful!

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. After all, you never know what amazing combinations you might come up with!

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8. Decorating with Too Many Clichés

Santa Clauses, snowmen, and reindeer might be classic holiday decor – but too much of the same thing can quickly become overwhelming.

What Christmas Decorations are Tacky?

“Tacky” holiday decorations come in all shapes and sizes – from the overly-large inflatables to garish ornaments. The key here is finding the right balance between classic and modern, so your home can stay festive without looking too “on-the-nose”.

On the other hand, it might not be the decorations themselves that are tacky… But the excessiveness of them. So, try to keep things tasteful and limit yourself to a few key pieces. A couple Santa Clauses and/or a few snowmen are one thing – but dozens of them might be too much!

What To Do Instead

Instead of relying on cliché decorations, why not try something new?

Take some time to explore different art forms or cultures – and incorporate their unique touches into your holiday decor (without appropriating them, of course). Furthermore, you can also try out some more modern elements as well. Think beyond the usual Christmas decorations and experiment with different textures, materials, and shapes.

For example, you could hang a unique garland made of wood beads or paper stars – or even some festive string lights in a gorgeous color palette.

By combining classic and modern pieces, you can create an inviting holiday atmosphere that’s truly one-of-a-kind!

9. Going too Hard on the Holiday Scents

Nothing quite sets the mood for the holidays like a nice, cozy scent. After all, who doesn’t love walking into a room and smelling apple pie, or cedar wood, or cinnamon?

However, too much of it can quickly become overwhelming – and even lead to headaches!

What To Do Instead

Instead of filling your home with over-powering artificial scents, try using natural elements to naturally scent the air. Place a bowl of seasonal fruits and spices on your kitchen counter – or set out some pinecones and cinnamon sticks around the house.

You can also utilize essential oils or simmer pots for a subtle, yet inviting aroma. This way, you’ll be able to create a cozy living space without worrying about any potential headaches or allergies!

Just keep in mind that oils can be toxic to pets. If you have pets, we’d recommend opting for something else that’s more animal-friendly.

10. Lawn Inflatables Galore

We all know the drill – as soon as winter rolls around, the lawn inflatables come out. From snowmen and Santa Clauses to the Grinch and oversized presents, these decorations are a classic way to showcase your holiday spirit. Not to mention, the local children are probably going to love them!

In terms of holiday decorating mistakes, we recognize that this one is a bit subjective. Some people might love the bright and cheerful look of these inflatables – while others may find them garish or over-the-top.

Here’s the thing… While they may seem festive and fun at first, too many can quickly become an eyesore and make your home look tacky. (Plus, they can be ridiculously expensive to buy and even more annoying to maintain!)

What To Do Instead

There are a few things you can do to make your lawn decorations more tasteful and less overwhelming. For starters, try limiting yourself to only one or two inflatables – and then compliment them with smaller pieces like string lights or holiday wreaths. You could also opt for something a bit more unique – like a snowman made out of an old tire or a homemade holiday decoration!

Alternately, you can ditch the inflatables altogether this year and opt instead for handmade holiday decorations. Not only will they look great and wildly enhance your home’s curb appeal; they’ll also give you the chance to get creative and show off your DIY skills!

So, go ahead and let your imagination run wild! At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference. So, take some time to choose decorations that you genuinely enjoy and that reflect your unique style. And remember – less is always more when it comes to lawn inflatables!

(Also, be sure to check with your city or HOA first, as some areas may have restrictions on lawn decorations.)

11. All That Glitters is Gold (and is Now Stuck on Everything You Own)

Glitter is a fun and festive way to add some sparkle to your holiday decor. Plus, if you want to get the kids involved in the holiday decorating process, glitter is a great way to do it!

However, if you’re not careful, glitter can quickly turn from joyous to disastrous. Oftentimes, it gets everywhere – from the furniture and carpets to your clothes and hair. Not only is this frustrating; it also makes for a much bigger mess than anticipated.

What To Do Instead

If you’re determined to use glitter, try limiting yourself to just a few pieces. That way, you won’t have to worry about it getting everywhere! And if you are incorporating more than one glittery decoration, make sure they’re far enough apart that the extra sparkle stays in one area.

Another idea is to opt for flameless LED candles instead. That way, you can still get that lovely twinkle without the mess or the fire hazard!

At the end of the day, there are plenty of ways to make your home feel festive and merry – without having to resort to glittery decorations. So, take some time to explore other options like faux snow, Christmas lights, ornaments, and garlands!

With a little bit of creativity, your home can be merry and bright – without any glittery messes.

Composition with wooden Christmas lantern on table. Bokeh effect. Holiday decorating article.

12. Your Christmas Tree is in the Wrong Spot

Finding the perfect spot for your Christmas tree is tricky. It’s important to find a spot where it’ll stand out, but also not be in the way. That said, it can be easy to put it in a place that isn’t ideal – and then realize you’re stuck with it there for the rest of the holidays!

If you’re not sure what constitutes as “the wrong spot” for your Christmas tree, here are some examples:

  • Putting it in a corner that’s too small, or one that’s near an electrical outlet;
  • Choosing a spot where the tree is blocking other decorations or important items like furniture or artwork;
  • Putting your tree in front of a window, where the sun could cause fading over time.

What To Do Instead

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry – there’s still time to save your holiday decor! First and foremost, take a step back and assess the situation. Is your tree too close to the wall? Is there enough space for people to walk around it?

Once you’ve answered these questions, start moving items around to create a better spot for your tree. This might mean moving furniture or rearranging decorations – but it’ll be worth it in the end!

Also, consider placing a decorative rug beneath your tree to protect any nearby carpets or rugs. Not only will this add an extra layer of protection; it will also help to emphasize and highlight your tree.

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding a balance that works for your space – and ultimately creating an inviting atmosphere for you and your guests! So, take some time to find the perfect spot for your Christmas tree, and enjoy showing off your holiday spirit!

13. Your Holiday Decorating Starts Too Early

Okay, we’ll admit that this is another one of those holiday decorating mistakes that’s subjective. Who are we to tell you when it’s “okay” to put up your decorations?

That said, sometimes it can be easy to get carried away with the holiday spirit, and end up decorating way too early. If you put your decorations up before most other people, then it can take away from the anticipation of the holidays – not to mention make them feel less special!

Plus, some also argue that there’s a respect factor at play. For instance, in Canada, it’s considered disrespectful in many areas to put up Christmas decorations before Remembrance Day (which takes place on November 11th). In the United States, some believe that holiday decorations shouldn’t be put up until after Thanksgiving.

What To Do Instead

If you’re on the fence, why not take a few extra days to think it over? Or better yet, consider decorating in stages! That way, you can gradually build up to the big day – without feeling like you’re rushing ahead of everyone else.

You can also wait until closer to the holidays to put up your decorations, or start with smaller items (like garlands and wreaths) before you move onto the bigger ones (like trees and lights). That way, you can still get into the festive spirit without having to worry about being “too early”.

At the end of the day, it’s totally up to you when you decide to start decorating – just be mindful of the feelings of others, and enjoy your holiday season!

14. Your Holiday Decorations Stay Up Waaaaay too Long

On the flip side of starting too early, another common holiday decorating mistake is leaving your decorations up for far too long. We get it – sometimes you just don’t want to take down all those gorgeous decorations after the holidays have come and gone!

But, if they’re still up by Valentine’s Day, then you may be heading into dangerous territory. Keeping your decorations up after the holidays can make them feel less special, and in some cases, even a bit tacky.

Plus, if your decorations are still up months after the holiday season has ended, it could become an eyesore to your neighbors – not to mention make it harder for everyone to move on and start looking forward to the next holiday season.

What To Do Instead

The best way to avoid this mistake is by setting a specific date for when you’ll take down your decorations. This will help you stay organized, and make it easier to keep track of when it’s time to switch things up.

You can also break up the task into smaller chunks, if you’re feeling overwhelmed. For example, take down some decorations one day and move onto others the next day.

Also, before you pack away your decorations, make sure to check them for any wear or tear. This way, you can address any damage and repair or replace anything that needs it before you store them away for the year.

What is The Rule for Taking Down Christmas Decorations?

The short answer is that there isn’t a set rule for when to take down your decorations. Ultimately, it’s up to you!

That said, the general consensus seems to be that holiday decorations should come down by the end of January at the very latest in order to avoid any potential seasonal confusion. While some people may start taking their decorations down as soon as Christmas Day has come and gone, it’s best to wait until after the New Year if you want to give yourself more time to enjoy them.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that holiday decorations should be taken down in a timely manner so that everyone can move on and start looking forward to the next season.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy your holiday decorations fully and still stay respectful of the changing seasons! Ultimately, it’s up to you when to start putting up – and taking down – your holiday decorations.

15. You’re Not Decorating for the Holiday Safely

Okay, we’ve saved this one for last for a reason. In fact, it’s so important that we’re going to give it its own section!

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Holiday Decorating Mistakes That Can Actually Be Dangerous

When it comes to holiday decorating, there are certain areas where you don’t want to cut corners. That’s because in some cases, taking shortcuts could lead to dangerous accidents – and no one wants that!

While it’d take us all day to try and list EVERY potential holiday decorating hazard, here are the ones we feel are most important to avoid:

  • Buying the wrong tree and coming down with Christmas Tree Syndrome (a.k.a. having allergic reactions to your Christmas tree)
  • Not checking the condition of electrical decorations before plugging them in (which can cause fires)
  • Having too many cords plugged into a single outlet (this can also cause fires)
  • Putting up faulty lights or decorations that could fall on people or pets
  • Improperly placing your ladder when hanging decorations or lights
  • Not using the right type of extension cord for outdoor lighting
  • Lighting too many candles, having candles too close together, leaving the open flames unattended, etc.
  • Decorating with plants that are poisonous to pets (such as holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia)
  • Decorating with items that can be dangerous to young children (e.g. glass ornaments, sharp objects, etc.)
  • Using too much fake snow indoors, which can trigger allergies and potential respiratory issues
  • Running essential oil diffusers when there are pets living in the house, etc.

Tips for Holiday Decorating Safely

The most important thing you can do is to use common sense. Take your time, plan ahead, and make sure that all of your decorations are safe for everyone in the house (and pets too!).

It’s also important to pay attention to manufacturer instructions when using any electrical decorations or lights. Read the instructions carefully and never plug more than the recommended number of lights into a single outlet.

Above all, never leave candles or other open flames unattended and always keep them out of the reach of children and pets. Following these simple tips can help ensure that everyone stays safe while you’re decorating for the holidays!

Holiday Decorating Mistakes: Final Thoughts

We hope that this article has helped you understand the importance of decorating safely for the holidays. As long as you take your time and use common sense, there’s no reason why you can’t have a festive yet safe holiday season!

By following these 15 tips and tricks, we wish you all the best in making your home merry and bright during the holidays!

Thanks for reading – and happy decorating!

Want to turn your love of interior decorating into a successful career? Become a globally-recognized International Design and Decorating Professional (IDDP) in as little as 3-6 months! Enroll in QC Design School’s self-paced, online Interior Decorating Course and start your journey today!

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