Four area experts, so many tips

We asked people who know way more about holiday decorating than we do.

It’s December already. Is it too late to decorate?

Carrie Fairchild and Shary Muerer [5th Grant Boutique Decorators]:Absolutely not. It’s never too late. We’ve witnessed family traditions where decorating starts on Christmas Eve, leaving them up well into January. The most important part is, no matter when it happens, that Christmas is celebrated. It’s the most joyous time of the year, and for people to share in that, whenever they choose, is what’s important.

Joan Blakley-McCoy [Tangerine]:Absolutely not! Even the smallest of decor will get you in the spirit no matter how busy you are. Put lights on a potted plant and a big bow on the pot. Fill a bowl with your Christmas ball ornaments and set it on the table or kitchen counter. Use glass vases on a staircase and light a candle inside! Ribbon goes a long way, and it’s inexpensive. Add bows to wreaths, trees, garlands, chandeliers, light fixtures, mailboxes. Use timer lights that flicker so when you arrive home you can enjoy the warmth they bring.

Susan Kelly [Susan Kelly interiors]:Early decorating is an American "custom." At our house, growing up, dad’s "rule" ruled. The tree did not go up until Dec. 24, a tradition handed down from German forebearers, leaving our mother annually distraught. (She eventually won the battle with tradition.)

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We always seem to decorate one room like crazy and forget the others. Any tips for specific rooms?

Carrie Fairchild and Shary Muerer [5th Grant Boutique Decorators]:Why not spread the cozy holiday decor throughout the whole house? In the bathroom, you can make it simple by hanging large bells and red-beaded garland on the hooks of the shower curtain. On the counter, place a holiday wreath with LED-lit candles and pine-scented soap for that special holiday glow and smell. In the bedrooms, place LED-lit candles in a Mason jar with red berries and a sprig of pine on the nightstands and drape the headboard with garland. In the kids’ bedroom, it’s fun to use simple festive pops of color like colorful pom-pom garland and tiny trees with white paper houses to make a small winter village on the dresser. Placing tea lights will add a little holiday glow.

Susan Kelly [Susan Kelly interiors]:After four hours of weaving lights onto a nine-foot Frazier fir, I have no will to decorate all the other rooms. So, in with a cheerful poinsettia and out comes my inventory of colorful, clever Christmas pillows!

One Christmas tree decoration idea you use or really like?

Joan Blakley-McCoy [Tangerine]:Decide on a color theme before you begin. Coordinate lights, ribbon, ornaments. You can still add your old favorites to the mix. Start with the largest pieces, whether it’s ribbon or ornaments, after you put the lights on. Never plug more than the suggested lights together as they will pop the fuse in the light strand and you will be left with gaps of lights not working.

Carrie Fairchild and Shary Muerer [5th Grant Boutique Decorators (and sisters)]: We like to place the largest ornaments on the tree first and work from there. There are great traditions, such as our mom had an ornament that was a pickle, and each year we would search and search to find that one particular ornament. Our grandma would make us kids our own ornament each year. We cherish those to this day more than any other.

What’s the biggest holiday decorating mistake you see people make?

Carrie Fairchild and Shary Muerer [5th Grant Boutique Decorators]:What we see the majority of is folks don’t seem to measure their home prior to picking out a tree. While it is an easy fix if the tree they buy is too big, it’s not the case if the tree is too small. Our grandfather would be in charge of bringing home a Christmas tree every year, and routinely he would drag home the worst-looking tree in the forest. When grandma would press him about the poor quality of the tree he picked out, his response each year was unwavering. He would simply shrug his shoulders and profess that every Christmas tree was just perfect.

Joan Blakley-McCoy [Tangerine]: Not fluffing your tree branches or wreaths. Who wants to look at a flat matted wreath or at tree branches crunched together?

Susan Kelly [Susan Kelly interiors]:There aren’t any. If you like it, it’s perfect.

What’s one tip that you wish everyone took to heart when it comes to holiday decorating?

Carrie Fairchild and Shary Muerer [5th Grant Boutique Decorators]:Try as hard as you can to make your decorating cohesive. There’s a fine line between over-decorating and not, but hey, it’s Christmas. Make it fun and enjoyable. Share lots of hugs. Participate in all your family traditions that have probably been passed down for generations, and, most importantly, spare no holiday cheer!

Susan Kelly [Susan Kelly interiors]:If it’s a chore or doesn’t bring you joy, don’t do it. Just think—Jesus didn’t have any twinkle lights. One star was enough.