the great Christmas decorating debate

by | Nov 10, 2020 | All Things Home, Decorating, Holiday, Winter | 87 comments

I think this debate has been happening for decades, but it’s been taken to the public forum of social media over the past few years, so it feels like more of a “thing.”  When should you decorate for Christmas?  There is the “pull out all of the decorations when the clock strikes midnight on Halloween” crowd on one end and the “don’t decorate until December 23” on the other end.  I think most people fall somewhere in the middle…starting the Christmas decorating between a few days before Thanksgiving through early December.  In my house growing up, we had to wait until Thanksgiving.  No matter how much I pleaded and begged to put the tree up and usher in Christmas a little earlier, we waited until Thanksgiving and I carried that into adulthood.

blue and white christmas decor | miss mustard seed

2018 Christmas living room

When I started my business, though, that changed.  Christmas decorating was dictated by the pace of the two industries I straddled – retail (for the spaces where I sold my furniture and antiques) and content creation (for the blog, magazines, and online home decorating sites.)  There was one particular year when our Christmas tree stayed up until February for a magazine shoot, I set up another one in April for some HGTV tutorials, I put up another one in September for product shoots, and finally, unenthusiastically decorated in November for actual Christmas.  Needless to say, I was tired of decorating for Christmas that year!

The bright spot of that chaotic year, though, was that it got me thinking about when I actually want to decorate for Christmas.  That sweet spot for me is around Thanksgiving.  Maybe a couple of days before, maybe a couple of days after, but somewhere in that neighborhood.  That allows me the opportunity to build up some excitement while enjoying the glow of the tree lights and the ambiance of the holidays for a little over a month.  It means I’m not sick of Christmas music or ready to tear everything down on December 26.

white ironstone tureen | christmas decorating ideas | miss mustard seed

What we’re seeing play out on social media is making the debate on the appropriate time to decorate for Christmas a little more intense, even nasty in some cases!  There are people who genuinely want to start decorating on the early side, so they do it and they share.  Then, there are bloggers, creative entrepreneurs, and influencers who are obligated to put their decorations up earlier than they might naturally because of a blog hop, a sponsored post, a photoshoot, a product launch, etc.  Seeing people decorate for Christmas in October or early November combined with Christmas displays that have already been in stores for weeks makes those of us who haven’t put up our tree feel like we’re behind.  All of the cool kids have their trees up, so why don’t you??  And we’re reminded of all the to-dos that are heading our way…shopping, wrapping, baking, events that typically happen when a pandemic isn’t keeping us at home.  When looked at from that perspective, Christmas decorating can start to feel like a contest, a competition, a race, or even a place of judgment.  You’re too early!  You’re too late!

I don’t think the words, you’re-too-anything should be applied at Christmas unless the anything is generous, loving, awesome, amazing, and/or cool.  Other superlatives would be acceptable.  But, you get the idea.  We’re taking our own idea of what’s right, good, and perfect for us and putting it on other people.  And when we walk away from social media feeling shame about our own Christmas decorating…because it’s early, it’s late, it’s not enough, it’s too much, etc., then we’re turning it all into one big competition and assess that we’re losing.  We start to haul out the bins of decor with a chip on our shoulder.

christmas tree in goat cart | mini grain sack stockings | miss mustard seed

Christmas 2018 dining room

Last week, I found myself feeling behind, like I needed to get my act together and start getting some Christmas decorations up.  I was sliding into the notion that I was somehow not doing it right.  But the truth is, it’s still a little early for me.  I have other things to work on that are a higher priority.  And Christmas will come on December 25 no matter when the tree is erected and lit.

Instead of looking at early decorations and store displays from a negative perspective, let’s flip that around.

First and foremost, there isn’t a right time to decorate for Christmas.  Put your tree up in August if it makes you happy!  Don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re “decorating wrong.”  Decorating is an art, a form of self-expression.

Second, the stores, magazines, and influencers start Christmasing early intentionally.  They want to pave the way and provide inspiration for those who will be decorating, wrapping, baking, and caroling in a few weeks.  I do agree that it can make you feel pushed out of one season into another.  We’re talking about back-to-school in June before we’ve had a chance to savor the summer and we’re reading about diets and decluttering before we’ve enjoyed the last of the Christmas leftovers.

christmas decorating ideas | milk painted primitive hutch | blue and white transferware | miss mustard seed

I think we all know it’s okay to go at our own pace, but it’s still easy to feel prodded along.

Instead of dwelling in that place, let’s accept the inspiration that is useful to us, the things that encourage, inspire and motivate.  We can save the ideas to implement in our own time.

When is the right time for you to decorate for Christmas?


  1. Monica

    I never put up decorations before Thanksgiving. I live by myself and usually spend Christmas at the home of one of my kids. Some years I feel especially festive and put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving, some years it’s only a few days before Christmas. I always take it down the day after. Last year I didn’t even put up the big tree. I used a 24″ tabletop tree with a few special ornaments and decorated my corner cabinet with white twinkle lights and a pretty wreath. It was cozy to me and felt as festive as if I’d dragged out every bin and decorated the entire house.

  2. Terry

    Thank you for this post, Marian. It is much appreciated.

    • Jane

      I put my tree up after Thanksgiving. If I were to put it up sooner, I would feel as if Thanksgiving were pushed out of the way. Thanking God for his grace toward us through the year is very important to me.
      So the Friday after, the boxes come up from the basement and they go back down January 1.

  3. Beth

    My sweet spot is around Thanksgiving, too. Our tree doesn’t fit well in the house (I’d have to get a half one for that, and that’s not something I’m willing to do), so if I decorate too early, I get really tired of working around the tree.

  4. Kim

    Growing up, my parents always got out the decorations on the weekend after Thanksgiving. As an adult, I have always waited until December 1. Now I find that as I get older, I may wait even until the middle of December. I try to just go by feel, year by year. Some years I just feel more in the mood for it than others. I have even scaled everything way back in the last 10 years or so, but I reserve the right to go “all out” some year if the whim hits me. For sure I use a smaller tree now than when the kids were growing up. That makes it easier to decorate, but then you’re forced to limit your ornaments, which can be hard when you have many sentimental ones. I agree, there is no “right or wrong” about Christmas decor. Well, there SHOULDN’T be anyway.

  5. Terry

    We are still in the fresh tree camp so of course it go’s up in December. I start cutting fresh greenery for Thanksgiving and slowly make it look more like Christmas after turkey day. Thank you Marian for another VERY thoughtful, helpful post, with particularly good timing.

  6. Kate

    My Christmas customs were inspired by Maria Von Trapp’s book “Around the Year with the Von Trapp Family.” We celebrate pre-Christmas with Advent customs. We put out our advent wreath, do the Jesse tree, bake St. Nicholas cookies, make gifts in the four weeks leading to Christmas. We don’t cut our tree until a week to 10 days before Christmas. We bring the tree into the house and decorate it over the two days before Christmas. Christmas Eve we really go all out on the house decorations. When the kids were younger, they were sent to bed early and could not see the fully decorated tree until Christmas morning. We leave everything up for the 12 days of Christmas, until Epiphany (Jan. 6th). Any more time than that, I think, leads to Christmas fatigue. It’s just the right amount of time to celebrate the wonder of Christ’s birth.

    • Beth

      Same here Kate! We have the Maria Von Trapp Book too and the last few years I have really tried to be intentional when it comes to decorating for Christmas. As Catholics our family celebrates Advent with all its beautiful customs to truly try to prepare ourselves for what Christmas really means instead of it being all about putting up and taking down decorations. It kills me to see Christmas trees out on the curb the day after Christmas. Like oh it was all about that one day and now it’s over. Nooooo….there’s so much more to Christmas!!

    • Marianne

      I am definitely going to look for this book! I’ve always loved re-reading Take Joy! The Tasha Tudor Christmas Book each year. She was the wonderful illustrator and artist.

      • Lori

        Tasha Tudor. Take Joy is a wonderful book. And she makes Christmas so magical. I love how she uses the dolls and the doll house to celebrate their own little Christmas time. The thing about Christmas decorating is …. if you feel overwhelmed than it is not right. Enjoy the process and whatever gets done, gets done! I buy Christmas Cookies and I do not feel guilty!

    • Jeri

      Yay! A kindred soul!

  7. Kelly

    Growing up, we didn’t put up Christmas decorations until about 10 days before Christmas. Since I’ve been an adult, I usually decorate the week of Thanksgiving. I don’t know if it was because my Mom wasn’t really into it, that I kind of went overboard. I do realize, after dealing with illness last year, that I just don’t want to fool with all that “stuff” any longer. When I go to my Mom’s house now, she has little touches of Christmas all over. This will be my first year without my daughter at home, so I think the tree and some “little touches of Christmas” will be plenty.

  8. Joan

    Up to now I have always planned for Christmas decorating around Thanksgiving but something very cool happened on my way to work yesterday morning. I arrive at work early (6am) so my drive in is in the dark. As I was coming through town, there was a little house off Main St that was totally decorated and lit up. They even had their tree up and glowing in the window. My first reaction was surprise but then it hit me….. This year has been such a crap show that “why not” put it all up now? I have not had the opportunity of being confined to home during the virus issues and had to show up to work each day throughout the whole shut down. I am tired of the political rants and upheaval taking place that my home is a sanctuary at the end of the day. With that being said, guess what I am doing this weekend? That’s right – Christmas is coming full steam ahead at my house and I am going to love every minute of it! I am also planning to stop at that house on the way home and thank them for doing such a wonderful thing and giving me something beautiful to look at each morning on my way to work. We all need more of this simple wonderful caring beauty every single day.

    • April

      Thank you for that Joan! I have felt the same way! Thus I have taken this Thru & Fri off work along with having Veteran’s Day off. I am going all out with my Christmas decorating this year! And, I have been soaking in the Hallmark Christmas movies. I haven’t looked this forward to Christmas and all that goes along with it since my father passed 6 years ago. IT all just seemed too much & the real meaning lost – but for whatever reason – I just feel it to my core this year!

    • Angela

      Good for you Joan! Have a Merry Christmas!!!

    • Celia

      That’s it Joan! The true Christmas Spirit! Appreciation!

  9. Sherry Holinaty

    My family decorates for Thanksgiving. We try to enjoy the holiday. I love to put out all the turkeys and enjoy the slower pace of November.

  10. lisa anderson

    Than you for addressing this. This year I have felt very insecure about the whole Holiday thing. I love seeing all of the bloggers and IG post yet it makes me feel very overwhelmed. I need to remind myself that our house has been under construction since July and I’m living at my daughter house. We might be moved in by thanksgiving We make ourselves crazy over competing. I’m just screenshooting everything for next year. .

  11. amy Mogish

    Thanksgiving weekend 🙂 . Fun post.

  12. Marie

    You are so right! Everyone has the time that feels right for them. My mothers favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. She felt that it was being thankful, reminding us to enjoy family and friends, and sharing each others “best” dish that not only brought us closer together, but closer to God. Though she is no longer with us, we still get together and celebrate that special time and thank God for all those blessings. We all love Christmas, and I love putting up decorations and my tree, just a few days after Thanksgiving. So we can enjoy all that togetherness with out all the stress. Marie

  13. Martha

    I always try to put my tree up and decorate for Christmas, December 1st. I was
    actually looking forward to Christmas decorating Thanksgiving eve this year. Not because
    I feel pressured to decorate early, just because I would actually have a little more time
    this year to decorate earlier. I try not to be on any schedule as I am thankful I have another
    year to celebrate Christmas with my children. I am also reminded of the true meaning of Christmas and
    how we need to savor each moment. I truly enjoyed your post today. Thank you for inspiring me. Hope you
    have a blessed day!

  14. Marianne

    I like to celebrate the holidays separately so I generally don’t decorate until after Thanksgiving. Having said that it really depends upon the start of Advent, which always starts on a Sunday. So I always set up our Nativity and Advent wreath with three purple and one rose candle in time for that. Beyond that the only time/date tradition we stick to is buying our live tree on the Feast of St. Nicholas (Dec.6) , which is just a tradition I started when our son was young. Our son still puts his shoes out on that eve in hopes of seeing a small gift tucked inside come morning. Live trees don’t last long in Florida so the degree of dryness/brown-ness dictates when it comes down after Christmas. Even if everything is packed away before, I always leave the Nativity out until Epiphany. How else would the Magi and camel figures finish their journey through the house to arrive at the stable? Lol.
    Here’s an idea for any young families just starting out that my sister has followed with all her godchildren. For their 1st Christmas she starts a Nativity for them , giving them a stable and Holy Family. Each Christmas afterwards she gives them one or two more pieces. (Yes, she has a spreadsheet to keep track of all this!) My son is almost 17 and still looks forward to which piece he will receive each year and he knows that when he is grown and on his own the Nativity will go with him.

  15. Kimberly Carnegie Bruhn

    I keep thinking about Marie Kondo and the way she talks about “sparking joy.” If it sparks joy in your heart and soul…do it! That said, my husband is kind of a purist and won’t watch Christmas movies nor listen to Christmas music until Thanksgiving…but he doesn’t do much of the decorating so I can do that when I feel the spark. And truly, it’s been such an overwhelming battle this year that seeing the beauty that’s based on God’s Love for us makes me want to appreciate and celebrate the birth of Christ even more!

  16. Robin Bentley

    I begin the first weekend in November and slowly put things up so when the entire family is over for thanksgiving, it’s complete for them to see. I used to wait until the weekend or two weekends before thanksgiving and I was so stressed out to get everything done (I thought, this isn’t how’s its supposed to be, putting it up under duress) that I decided to just do a little at a time since I work a full time job during the week. 🙂
    Thank you for your post! It always gets me thinking!

  17. Susan Guillebeau

    My 30 year old man boys are so conditioned that each year after Thanksgiving dinner they go down and bring up the tree. I know I better at least have a place ready for it.

  18. Chris

    I’m in my 70’s and have been through many “seasons” of Christmas decorating. As a child, it was always after Thanksgiving…and I carried that into my adulthood. Like my parents, my own little family made a big deal over Thanksgiving and it just felt right to keep it separate. Later as a single mom of four, I needed to rethink my traditions and become flexible. I live alone now, and with concerns about everyone’s wellbeing, there will be no holidays spent with Family. I will decorate just for myself, as it makes me feel better. I already have a tiny tree out, and candle lights went into my windows when the time changed. Not sure yet if I’ll do a big tree. I will be happy to put 2020 behind us, and hope for a a much merrier 2021!!!

  19. Penny P.

    We always put the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving and get the rest done sometime in the following week. We have new living room furniture to work around this year, so that’s a new challenge, and we have a new kitten too. I think just the tree will go up a little earlier so we can see if she is going to try to destroy it (more than likely) or stay away from it, then we’ll slowly introduce the lights, ornaments and all the other things! I am especially looking forward to just sitting and enjoying everything all decorated this year!

  20. Cassandra E

    Finding the balance of do what makes you happy with the time that you have seems to be the magic combination.
    I think people hate on stores putting out holidays earlier and earlier because it’s a marketing ploy, and we’re maybe a little jaded. But after the past several years, I look forward to what’s on offer.
    I’ve never been hard and fast about Christmas rules. There’s many reasons for that.
    But, when my husband and I had to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas in the hospital for his transplant, I was all about Christmas. I brought decor to the hospital. And I yearned for Christmas at home. I yearned so much, I bought an artificial tree and put it up November 1 the following year. This will be our third year home since that hospital stay. I’m looking at twinkle lights as I type. It didn’t go up the first this year. It didn’t feel right while we were still having a heat wave and here in California, being on high alert for fires. I’m trying to find the balance between pumpkins and Christmas. I’ll leave the tree naked until after Thanksgiving. That’s my compromise.
    People never need to have opinions about other’s decorating unless asked or unless offering a kindness.

  21. Leslie C.

    I love Thanksgiving and all that it stands for, so I don’t want to take away from the gratefulness of that holiday I wait until the weekend after Thanksgiving. With that being said, I was at Hobby Lobby last night and it was packed everyone was buying Christmas decorations like crazy (50% off) so I got a few items to add to my collection and I will be ready for after Thanksgiving. Usually leave the tree up until after the New Year Holiday makes easing out of the season a little easier.

  22. Cheryl

    I agree! You put it out there beautifully. We usually do the day after Thanksgiving but this year we have move moved into a new home and I’m trying to see what works here and what doesn’t so I’m slowly pulling bits and pieces out of our Christmas tubs. I feel less pressured than I have in the past. It’s a nice change.

  23. Eileen

    I have always decorated the day after Thanksgiving and planned to do that this year,,,,But, after a hip replacement surgery, two Covid-19 tests, and finding out my son has Covid-19(on the mend, thank the Lord), I decided to put up my many miniature trees, candles, angels and crowns now. I don’t decorate with red so my lights, pink, silver and gold blend right in with my Thanksgiving decor. I will wait to put up more “Christmas” related things, like a little village, etc. Seize the day is my motto this month. I need the cheer.

  24. Rhonda

    I put my Christmas decorations up right after Thanksgiving. Why? Because I live in very hot, muggy southwest Florida, and I decorate for the seasons. I miss autumn, and really enjoy when the pumpkins, pine cones, colored leaves, and mums appear in our house. I enjoy the fall decor until the very last minute, and even hate throwing out the pretty pumpkins after Thanksgiving. I also enjoy Christmas, and leave my decorations up until I want to take them down. Like right before Easter (sometimes!)?? Lol! I know you won’t judge!

    Btw, I adore your Christmas decorations!

  25. Rita

    Great post and very timely. I have seen some hurtful things on IG. What happened to the Christmas spirit? Must not show up until December. For me, I wait until Thanksgiving weekend to pull out the tree.

  26. Bea

    I loved reading all your comments about how and when you decorate for Christmas. I usually decorate shortly after Thanksgiving but I was late last year due to my home decor business. I live alone and I’m in my 80’s so I need to realize that I should not try to decide as I have in the past.

  27. Andrea

    Thank you for this reminder! I typically start the kitchen a week or so before Thanksgiving, and then move on from there. The tree goes up after Thanksgiving. I enjoy seeing all the inspiration on IG, but eventually it leads to me feeling behind. Working on being mindful of what is important!

  28. JC

    Our outdoor icicle lights will go up in the next two weeks, but not be lit until the Friday after Thanksgiving. We usually get our tree up then, as well. In years past, when we have done a real tree, we usually wait until early December, so it doesn’t look crispy by Christmas.

  29. Cheri

    We typically put up tree and decor the day after Thanksgiving. This year I’ve felt more of a pull to decorate a bit early which isn’t me at all! Maybe because we have had snow and ice here already, maybe I’m seeking the cozy and calm with the recent election, the pandemic and things feeling so different?

  30. Diane

    Always the Friday after thanksgiving…..I take as much time as needed after Thanksgiving to decorate as much or as little as I want. Now in my 70’s, I’ve released lots of holiday decorations over the years. As of my last move (8 years ago now), I no longer use traditional holiday colors. Oranges, teals and blues, all greens and golds for me. No red to be found. Happy Holidays…any way you like them.

  31. Diane L. Christy

    In our home when I was a child, we put up a freshly-cut tree on Christmas Eve and took it down on New Year’s Day. Once I had my own home, I started in mid-December and, after doing that for 50 years, have whittled the tree itself down. We even began using the topper of a large artificial tree that I found at a yard sale for our tree, anchored in a vintage cast iron stand. But this year we’re celebrating my husband’s successful cancer treatment and so we’ll return to a “real”, although still small, tree. It may have very little except for lights and a few chosen ornaments, but we’ll enjoy the scent and spirit of renewal it represents.

  32. Antonella

    In Italy you traditionally decorate on December 8, Immaculate Conception feast. But in Northern Italy a lot do “Advent” so they decorate on the last Sunday of November. I’m in this camp 😉

  33. Brenda

    I usually decorate for Christmas after Thanksgiving. I do decorate for Thanksgiving with lots of pumpkins, fall leaves, and other fun fall items. That being said; I do cruise through the Christmas sections in stores. So if I find some cool ornaments or decor I’m ready to make my purchase. I also like to shop after Christmas for those left over treasures. I usually just place them in my sewing room where they hang until next year. I guess I stay decorated all year in that room! Enjoy your decorating journey! Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

  34. Tammie

    Good post, Marian! I put my tree up once Thanksgiving has passed. I love all the food and family time at Thanksgiving, so I like to give the holiday its due. Actually, I just put up a fall garland around my front door this afternoon and I’m not at all embarrassed about it! :o)

  35. Sheran Steading

    Thank you for this timely post. When I was a child, we put up the tree on the weekend before Christmas and left it up through the New Year. It was most often a cedar that my father cut down in a nearby field. My husband’s family always put up the tree on his birthday, December 15, and we continued that tradition after we married. When my children were small, they pressured us into decorating the tree earlier, and since they had allergies, and we had switched to artificial tree of necessity, we did that. Never before Thanksgiving, though. That has always been an important observance for us. I hate seeing it dwindle away.

  36. Donna

    Thank you for this post! It was affirming to hear that it is ok, whatever and whenever you decide to decorate!

  37. Jenny B.

    Ahhh, you definitely hit a nerve! 😉 I was so excited to decorate for Christmas last year. We had just moved into a new house, and I was shopping and planning and decorating even before Halloween. I loved it! Until I got tired of it… which happened well before Christmas was actually here. So, this year, I’m making a conscious effort to avoid Christmas decor until the day (or weekend) after Thanksgiving, when we’ll put up our tree.

    When I was a kid, it was way later than that. We always got a real tree, and we had a wood-burning stove right next to it. About two weeks before Christmas was the earliest we would put up our tree. It got watered every day and then taken down the day after Christmas.

  38. Shelly

    Thank you for this post! I feel better now about the whole thing. I tried to order some Christmas decor on line, it’s sold out already! I will start the day after Thanksgiving. I will start the drag out that week as I am taking that week off! I may not pull out too many things this year. I am using a new color scheme and it will be more simple. I do something a little different each year.

  39. Maureen

    In our house, nothing goes up until the weekend after Thanksgiving. We like to enjoy each holiday before the next one is upon us. The decorations come down the day after Christmas but the tree always stays up until New Year’s Day.

  40. noreen kelly

    I always put the tree and decorations up the weekend after 1 December and take them down on New Year’s Day. For myself I like the ritual around those dates but I can’t understand why people think there is a ‘right’ date for other people to do it

  41. Janet

    Such an interesting post ….as a Canadian ..our Thanksgiving is in October quite often people wait to decorate after Remembrance Day ..November 11th, here…but no hard and fast rules. I think whatever works for you and your family is right….and I have once kept our tree up until February also, when my husband (a Chaplain) was overseas on a mission for that Christmas …so we could have a family Christmas celebration when he came home ❤️

  42. Ruby Sugar

    My Mom was English so we celebrated Christmas differently. Santa bought the tree (along with presents) while we were sleeping. Then there were 12 days of Christmas. As we got older, we put the tree up early in December and all helped decorate. I now start Christmas after Thanksgiving, as I absolutely love that holiday and don’t want it to have its own place.

  43. Sherri

    It’s all about the inspiration for me. I move at my own pace and it isn’t competition. Of course, I don’t have a business, channel, or site; I’m just an old lady in Ohio who enjoys decorating for Christmas whenever I think it’s appropriate!

  44. Sonja

    I’m in Canada and we remember our war veterans on November 11th, Remembrance Day. I don’t feel right decorating for Christmas before that. We moved into a new house March 1st, right before the COVID shutdowns. It’s a fixer upper so it’s been an adventurous year. Hoping to finish our main bathroom reno before Christmas. I’ll be starting Christmas decorating on Thursday because I don’t want to be rushed and I’m going to have to figure out where everything goes in the new house. Not just the same old, same old this year. 😁

  45. Amy

    Typically we go tree-hunting around Dec. 10th. However, one year we convinced Mom to start the decorating earlier. The tree went up after Thanksgiving… and by Christmas the ornaments had a layer of dust on them! Nothing like spending Christmas Eve dusting ornaments. Thanks for the great post.

  46. Angela

    I am from Canada and we have had our Thanksgiving in October. Our big issue here is not decorating until after Remembrance Day, November 11, because for some reason people feel you can’t honour the veterans if you have a tree up. I don’t decorate until some time in December, we put up a real tree but this year there will be no celebrations in our house, no big dinners, no wrapping paper everywhere, no grandchildren or my niece or nephew so honestly I just as soon not be reminded of Christmas and have those few days go by as quickly as possible and hope for a better 2021. I just can’t bring myself to pull it all out for a very quiet Christmas.

  47. Joy

    I like to wait until later in December and celebrate Advent for a bit before pulling out the tree. However, I am a pastor’s wife and have had the whole church over for an open house early in December the past few years, so I decorated early. This year I am not having open house so we will probably wait until mid December. Then I usually leave it up until Epiphany. I like having Thanksgiving as a separate holiday and am always reluctant to get rid of the pumpkins. But I am looking forward to the lights on the tree this year – they make me so happy!

  48. jean

    Thanks for the post Marian. There are so many who feel as though social media determines the realities of life instead of making personal decisions for what best suits their lives and families. My husband is adamant that The Christmas Season doesn’t begin until we have paused for The Thankful Season. But this year we will start some staging early because of a little travel. It’s a negotiation.

    And the stores and merchandisers keep pushing things earlier and earlier because of the way the supply chain from China works (have you noticed that it’s almost impossible to purchase anything for Christmas that hasn’t been made in China?) and the way sales timing is now built into the seasonal structure of US marketing. It’s all about the money; more so now than ever as stores are trying to make up for poor sales figures during the year.

    So no one should let others make this decision for them. You decide when it’s the right time for you and your family. Not the stores, or media, or Instagram, etc. the US has become so focused on the secular nature of this time of year it’s almost a second thought to remember why we celebrate in the first place.

    Your home is so beautiful and thoughtful; we love to see how you rejoice at this time of year and what you might make up as a new tradition! jean

    • Cynde

      I totally get this, I worked for a floral design company, we would decorate so many homes pre-thanksgiving, and post Thanksgiving, all the while making me feel behind at home. So after so much decorating, I wouldn’t feel like decorating my own home, so a couple of years, one or two trees stood bare in my home, just over it I guess. I so enjoy decorating for fall, and like to keep that decor out as long as possible, which adds to the rush, the day after Thanksgiving. Every year I wish the holidays were spaced out a little more. No longer working in that field, so focusing on my own home is so much more enjoyable. I can only imagine how your career effects your Decorating timeline, I agree with everything you said, it’s all personal and shouldn’t be dictated by social media and the like. I keep my Christmas out after Dec. 25th, for the twelve days of Christmas…….

  49. Jacquelyn

    I think how and when each person likes to celebrate Christmas is right for them. What I do find off putting is what I see on social media about Christmas and other holidays. Because of contractual obligations influencers are desperate to promote sponsored products. They decorate really early and their homes often look like the seasonal aisle of HomeGoods or other box stores. Merchandizing replaces creativity. Personal becomes commercial. I doubt this is the intent but Christmas and other holidays on social media seems to be evolving into nothing more than a push towards material consumption?

    • Cathy

      I agree with this. I understand bloggers have to sell but I’d go nuts having to do all that and my home looking like a retail store. As retirees, living with less is just fine with me. No it’s not easy to do sometimes hit conspicuous consumption is like overeating; I really feel lousy afterwards.

  50. Cathy

    We moved from Ohio to Arizona so I got rid of a ton of stuff. I kept a few special ornaments and decorations & I put up a tiny tree last year a few of my table decorations and called it done. And I prefer to decorate December 1st or a few days after, even before the move. My Fella never decorated his house so he’s not too keen on a lot of “stuff”. I’m embracing a more minimalist look and it is really easy to take down in a short amount of time. Plus there aren’t basements or attics in Az so there’s that…

  51. Lorie Pirtle

    My husband and I have decided to forgo the family Thanksgiving this year, which usiallly includes around 16 people, out of caution. We both have surgeries scheduled in January and really can’t afford to take any chances. Because of this we sill be having a small Thanksgiving dinner for two and spending the weekend decorating for Christmas. It feels a little off for us but at the same time, I’m kind of looking forward to it.


    Enjoyed your post, Marian! This has been such an unusual year with so much anxiety, that we decided to decorate for Christmas now.

    Christmas is always such a special time. We love to see the sparkle of the decorations, the garland with lights on our mantel, the fireplace glowing, the candles, wreaths and the twinkling of lights on our tree. There is just something so cozy about seeing all this.

    A few of our friends have decided not to decorate this year as, with our province being in lockdown mode, we can’t have anyone over — not even family. However, we always enjoy Christmas and it brings such peace and a happy feeling with it — even though our world at the moment is in such a mess. So, we will decorate and enjoy our home during this time and celebrate the “reason for the Season” — the birth of our Lord and Savior!

    We all need to keep things as normal as possible in these days of such uncertainty.

  53. Michele M

    I host Thanksgiving every year so have always waited until the day after Thanksgiving to start decorating. (Way way late in the blogdom calendar!)

    This year due to Covid no one is coming – so guess who put away all the fall over the weekend and have begun sorting through the boxes of Christmas stuff already? We just painted the master bedroom and things were chaotic anyway with some furniture we’re swapping out still in the living room. I figured, hey why not?

    Kinda kicking myself for never doing a fall home tour first though. Just not feeling the energy lately. But it sure looked good. I did things differently. Ugh. Should’ve taken pics but oh well, I have been watching Christmas movies and getting in the spirit early. I need it. This year has been almost unbearable.

    If I didn’t host Thanksgiving I would do it earlier. I just wish we had Thanksgiving when the Canadians do – during harvest season, not a few days before the Christmas season hits. It’s tough on us who have to host it all. Seriously, why on earth do we not have Thanksgiving during harvest season???????????????? Now THAT would solve so many problems for so many hard working people – mainly the gals – who carry the load pretty much.

  54. mary m

    Wow you really struck a nerve with this topic….. I am78 and my very early memory was coming down the stairs on Christmas morning and to see the highly decorated tree. Nothing like it. My husband and I met on a blind date and i was on a mission that day to buy a Christmas tree.. So every year buying a fresh tree is a tradition. So we usually buy and put up around Dec. 17th our anniversary date. This year will be different aa we will be in our winter home in Fla. So it will be a fake tree. It is the spirit of the season that counts. I can see why people put their lights and trees up on Thanksgiving weekend. People have precious more time to do the deed and make their homes festive inside and out. But we will probably stick to our tradition too. Merry Christmas everybody! My mother often spoke of how they would have real candles on their family tree with a bucket of water in the wings.

  55. Dee

    It is good to see so many comments. I’m in the uk and we don’t have thanksgiving. This year I am doing more Christmas decorating than previous years. The past few years I have had I’ll health and really the bare minimum was all
    I could manage. The lockdown helped me enormously inso
    Far as I rested for a full 16 weeks an opportunity that I could never have afforded myself in usual circumstances. I am self employed and a single mum too so the pressures are quite heavy

    My income has taken a serious hit due to the lockdown but my health has improved

    I have three Christmas trees and all three are coming out this year. I will probably do one each weekend starting last one on November. I have ordered some jewellery findings today to
    Convert some crystal drops from an old light fitting that I no will hang from one of the trees. I intend to put up a large tree in the main family room. A smallish one in my son’s room and one in my bedroom too! New pink and crystal
    Theme for mine. Have fun everyone x

  56. Babs

    We need a little Christmas right this very minute! Truer words were never spoken (or sung!) There is no “right” or “correct” time to decorate for Christmas…only what is right or correct for you.

  57. Patti

    My husband Kevin and I have a tradition of getting our tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Then decorating on Sunday. We do not have kids, so I dress our dogs in Christmas coats and head to the tree farm. Kevin is always embarrassed, but I remind him that it would be much worse in we had real children…and society frowns on locking children in the car when we stop on the way home for our traditional hot toddy. For the last 20 years of married life, we have made the trek to Michigan to see his parents for Christmas, and spend Christmas Eve and day at his family home. Due to Covid we will not be able to join the Michigan family this year. His Mom is 85 now and at risk, and we are not spring chickens either (sigh). So for the first time in 20 years we will stay put in NC for Christmas. We live in a neighborhood filled with children. As I was taking the thrash cans in yesterday. The sweet cherub across the street ran up and yell “Miss Patti Santa’s comingggg!!!!!”…I replied “Yes baby he is!” and a light bulb went off in my head… I called Kevin and said, “Time to channel your inner Clark Grisewold Honey. We are fix’in to light this sucker up!” By the afternoon he was texting me ideas, and last night we made a tentative plan…This morning I am anxiously awaiting Hobby Lobby opening. These 60 year old, not such spring chickens, have found a new excitement for the holidays, and will start hanging lights in the next couple weekends, but have vowed to not turn them on until after Thanksgiving….because it’s our tradition!

    • Angela

      Thanks for sharing this Patti, it made me laugh with tears in my eyes. I am so enjoying reading all the comments.
      Merry Christmas!!!

      • patti

        Thanks, I think our sense of humor keeps us young….that and hot toddy’s

  58. Teresa

    Love reading everyone’s comments! I have heard one than one person say they will break their normal traditions this year and decorate early since this year has been anything but normal. I personally always wait until the day after Thanksgiving since I never go out on Black Friday madness. I start with the inside and then by the end of the weekend finish up on the outside. My birthday is on Nov. 30th so I like having my decorations up by then. It just makes my birthday feel more festive!

    I do start buying ribbon for decorating my wreaths, garland, deers, etc. early in October before things start getting picked over since I change up my color theme every year. I have to get a mental vision in my head first before the actual decorating starts. I don’t go out and buy all new decor every year but typically I will pick up one or two new things. I go through my Christmas decor tubs in early November and if there is something I haven’t used in over 3 or 4 years I will take it to consignment so that gives me more room to add something new.

    It is nice having bloggers showcase their Christmas home tours early to give us ideas and inspiration. Its interesting through how Christmas decorating has gotten earlier through the years. My Mom said they never put their tree up until Christmas eve when she was a child.

  59. Jody

    I love hosting Thanksgiving every year for family and friends. We eat our meal midday and in the afternoon we all put up and decorate my Christmas tree. I give my children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews a Christmas ornament before decorating my tree. I find an ornament that is special for that particular child and explain in a card why I chose that particular ornament for them. I love to visit them during the Christmas season and see the ornaments I have given them hanging on their trees! I have friends and relatives who have Thanksgiving dinner at their home but come by in the afternoon to join in the decorating, eating leftovers, watching ballgames, and all the fun and love we share on this wonderful day of thanks.
    So Thanksgiving is when I put up my Christmas tree. And I love this tradition

  60. Michele Taylor

    I have always decorated after Thanksgiving, but now that I’m older (70’s) I find that it takes me much longer than it used to, so I’d still be trying to finish the decorating into December when all the other Christmas festivities would start happening. I was finding that decorating under pressure took all the joy out of it. So last year I started decorating in the middle of November at a leisurely, enjoyable pace, savoring all of it, and was done before Thanksgiving. What a difference that made to both my enjoyment of the decorating process itself and the more relaxed pace of the holiday season in December! Definitely planning on doing it again this year!

  61. Lorraine

    Blogs are a job and source of income for quite a few people and I think some followers may lose sight of this. Much like we wouldn’t/shouldn’t compare ourselves to super models we shouldn’t compare our homes to professional homebodies. We should take their ideas as inspiration and entertainment, keeping in mind that in some cases it’s their job to encourage us to click links and make purchases.

  62. Celia

    Thanks for this reminder during this busy time! Great article!!!

  63. Kris

    Outdoor decorating takes place on the first reasonably nice weather day after Thanksgiving! 🙂 But I will never judge people who take advantage of good weather prior to Thanksgiving–living in Michigan means dealing with unpredictable weather. As far as decorating indoors, I wait till after Thanksgiving. However, my MIL always has a tree up when we come to visit for Thanksgiving, as we celebrate that holiday on Thursday and transition into Christmas on Friday. There are as many “right” answers as there are people who put up decorations.

    The real question is …. when should we start our Christmas baking????

  64. Patricia

    I really enjoyed reading this article and appreciate your point of view as it can make me feel like I am falling behind when I see all the beautiful Christmas decor already up on IG. I find that I have struggled with when is the “right” time to decorate for Christmas especially this year. I live in upstate NY and there has been record high temperatures in the 70s the past week so I haven’t been feeling ready to get out the Christmas just yet. I think I will wait until next week to slowly start bringing out some decorations but I like to decorate the tree and add more “Christmassy” touches once there is a large snowfall. That is what gets me into the spirit of the season. As a child, my family would not do any decorating until the day after Thanksgiving, but I enjoy having the twinkle and decor up a bit sooner.

  65. Eloisa

    I grew up in the Philippines where we put up our Christmas decorations as early as the first day of September. You know that Philippine is a very poor country, so we always wanted to get the worth of our money. We put up our tree early and remove it after the Three Kings which is January. We love Christmas Season! We always look forward for this occasion specially all the big malls have their fancy decorations that attracts all people to come and it serves as our place for Christmas photo shoot! Thank you for this article!

  66. Stacey Quesenberry

    I almost always wait until the Friday after Thanksgiving. But now, I intentionally have started to decorate in ways that can be left through January/February or the winter season. The tree, lights outside, nativity and Santa stuff comes down and put away. But I love the greenery, pinecones, wreaths, garland, small white lights, reindeers, the plaid ribbons and bows etc…. so now I just leave those decorations up for another few weeks. It makes me feel like all the hard work of the holiday decorations wasn’t just for a short time but more for the winter season.

  67. Jen C

    Well said! I usually decorate after Thanksgiving but this year I started a little early. I am trying to do things a earlier this year so that I won’t feel rushed and then I can enjoy being with family. This will be a different holiday due to the limited festivities but we will enjoy togetherness. I’m looking forward to the soft glow of the lights in the evening and the coziness that the decorations bring. I feel very blessed and the true meaning of Christmas is very comforting. Thank you for a wonderful post.

  68. AnnTN

    We all have our own feelings about when to decorate (and undecorate) for Christmas. I’ve always been a first weekend of December decorator. I usually put up a real tree. This year I’m putting up an artificial flocked tree and enjoying the planning of how I want it to look (red and white ornaments). For me the gasps and drama, from others, is when they know that I take everything down on Christmas afternoon. My husband and I live in a small space and our only child now lives across the country. I’m making us sound like retirees, but we’re not. Anyway, it just feels good when everything is back in order. I love my decorations until all the festivities are over.

  69. Bob Warner (Warner Pet Products)

    Personally, I think the best time is a a week before Thanksgiving. My family gets the tree from a local tree farm, but we don’t start decorating until Black Friday. We don’t do the whole shopping thing, so everyone stays in and helps decorate the tree! I’ve never understood the need to go out just for the sake of buying something, though I have taken advantage of black friday deals to get things when I need them. We don’t completely decorate the tree after Thanksgiving – its more of a process that takes place over a few weeks. Usually, the tree will be fully decorated a week before Christmas. I like it because it helps build the holiday atmosphere. The more finished the tree looks, the closer X-mas is! We then take it down after the new year. I feel like New Years is still a part of Christmas anyway. Great article – Thanks. Bob Warner (Carlisle, PA)

  70. Mary Ann

    If we have company I put up the tree on Thanksgiving and light it for dinner with just white lights and maybe some greenery or pine ones, leaves and such. Otherwise, it’s the weekend after Thanksgiving. We leave it up till Three Kings Day. Love the post.

  71. Holly Massie

    Not until after Thanksgiving – it makes me sad that we run things together these days and we Thanksgiving is important.

  72. Sharon

    Some years I decorate for Christmas early before Thanksgiving but we downsized after retirement and now I decorate on a much smaller scale after Thanksgiving. But love watching everyone else decorate whenever they want. For me it starts preparing me for the festive time. I have to say Fall decorating is my favorite time of the year, it’s relaxing and weather perfect. Love reading your blog with all your wisdom and beauty you share with us! 😍

  73. Connie Jones

    If we’re having Thanksgiving dinner at home, Christmas decor goes up the day after. I feel like Thanksgiving deserves it’s own fall/harvest celebration! But, if we’re celebrating Thanksgiving away from home, I start decorating for Christmas mid-November. I really wish we could move Thanksgiving to earlier in the month!!!

  74. Hydie

    Since our mother had a living tree, she would not put the tree up until the middle of December. I carried on the tradition of a living tree when our children were young. I would put up the tree the week before Christmas and would have a grandparents dinner where we would string popcorn and cranberries, and decorate the tree with the children. My mother – in – law and mother would give each child a new decoration which I would label with the year and their name. Once our daughter Londa had allergies, her doctor recommended an artificial tree. I still waited until after Londa’s birthday of December 2nd to put up the tree. My husband Steve’s birthday is on December 21st and he said his birthday gifts would be wrapped in Christmas paper so I wanted to make sure Londa’s birthday did not have any relation to any holiday. I now put up the tree after Thanksgiving (a real tree) so I can enjoy the decorations for a whole month. I do take them down the day after Christmas since I by this time the needles from the tree are falling.

  75. Janice

    I put my tree up and lights outside up after Nov 11. Remembrance Day in Canada. A time to honour those who served in armed combat and the sacrifice of all soldiers. It’s also a time to think of the cause of war and the plights of those they protected . So until that day Christmas seems too festive.
    However I enjoy the magazines the store etc and do not have any criticism of those who put up the tree.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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