With the Hallmark Channel starting to air its new Countdown to Christmas movies today, Sunday, Nov. 1, it’s also time to start thinking and planning how we will decorate our homes and businesses for the holidays.

 With the coronavirus pandemic burdening so many families, it might be the perfect year to go all out with festive lights and decorations to bring cheer to our neighborhoods.

 Even if you don’t plan to turn on your exterior holiday lights until after we celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 26, homeowners might want to take advantage of the mild temperatures now to string the lights outside. Then, with a flip of a switch, families can brighten their neighborhood on the day they choose.

 Take an afternoon to pull out all of your Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations. Plug in all of the lights and take inventory of what still works. Some people have found that it is helpful to take a photo of the outside of your home with a smartphone. This will help you visualize what you already have that will work and what you need to buy. Make an estimate of how many feet of lighting you’ll need.

Pick a theme

 Department stores, such as The Home Depot, Target and Walmart, have numerous indoor and outdoor Christmas lights available in their stores and on their websites. Small locally owned shops from Argentine Township, Fenton to Holly offer unique items that could be added to your décor collection.

 From traditional bulbs, to cascading or meteor shower strands to globes and illuminated wreathes, there is something for every budget and theme.

 According to decoratorswarehouse.com, the top theme this year uses Pantone’s color for 2020 — classic blue. This color has had a significant influence on the home décor industry, as you see it in furniture, accessories, paint, and even Christmas décor. Navy pairs nicely with so many colors, including white and/or silver, gold, platinum/champagne, blush, and even red. If you have navy accents in your home, consider bringing navy into your holiday décor.

Other trends for 2020

 Platinum has taken over the industry as the neutral of choice. This tone falls between silver and gold and tends to be a little softer. An elegant accent, it can be paired with virtually any color — red, navy, blush, taupe, black, and so on.

 Metal is a fun element to add in your holiday cheer. Think large oversized jingle bells, tabletop pieces, and tin ornaments. Not feeling brave enough to add some large-scale pieces to your tree? Consider doing a mixed metal theme and focus on golds, silvers, and platinum.

 Buffalo check isn’t exactly new, since buffalo check plaid is just a good, solid choice around the holidays. You can find items in both red and black or white and black. For a new take, pair some burlap with your white and black buffalo check.

 Gingerbread men and houses are a classic when it comes to Christmas, but this year you will see a resurgence of playful pastels and fun colors, which is a new take on an old favorite. Think cupcakes, ice cream cones, marshmallows, and all the tasty treats that will make your Christmas decor that much sweeter.

 Nutcracker remains a favorite trend in Christmas decor ideas for 2020. The nutcracker theme takes on a whimsical elegance, as it incorporates fun colors of red, green, gold, and navy. Consider placing nutcrackers into the body of your tree or bringing in a playful plaid or nutcracker ribbon.

 Neutral color palettes are all the rage. With trends in home decor being inclusive of soft gray tones, white and greige, it makes sense that neutral color schemes would have a place in Christmas decor.

Outdoor lighting ideas

 Looking for a unique alternative to the traditional icicle string lights? Meteor shower lights look like falling stars cascading from trees (or wherever else you hang them from). In addition to classic white, you should be able to find cool blue or purple. 

 For more inspiration, check out the Tri-County Times’ featured section “Fa la la la local” in this weekend’s paper.

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